Welcome to my blog. Mike Margolies The Athlete within You
This is my space for writing about all things in my world of sports, mental training and to be honest, anything that strikes me at the time. Some of these posts ended up in my book “The Athlete within You. Some are stories from any of my presentations. I hope you spend some time to explore my world. It’s about mental toughness, success and the fun involved in sports, business and life. There is also a bit about Mike Margolies and my journey working with athletes for close to 40 years. To learn more about how I work with people, please go to The Mental Game. To have me speak to your group, go to my Speaker page at MikeMargolies.com. Thank you for following Mike Margolies The Athlete within You. Be well.Mike Margolies The Athlete within you

Sink or Swim

Do we throw people into the deep end to teach them to be mentally tough? Once upon a time we used to teach kids to swim by taking them to the end of a pier and throwing them in the water. Some of them figured out how to swim, some survive poorly but could function when thrown in again, and some just sank to the bottom and drowned. Mental toughness is like this. It’s sink or swim. It seems that in sports today we do the same thing. We throw people into high pressure sports situations without teaching them mental toughness. We allow the same thing to happen. Those with grit make it to the top usually just based on athleticism. They get the experience to learn how to deal with pressure. They learn how to focus and they continued feedback that builds their confidence. What of the late developers then? They don’t get the experiences and if they aren’t real motivated at the time to overcome the effects of riding the pine (sitting on the bench) so they fail to develop the mental skills that others are developing through experiences. And it’s not just the late developers. Often times gifted athletes do not develop the right set of skills either, but because of their athleticism and success on the field they get to play. The problem hits them usually in transition to the next level. This can be JV to Varsity, high school to college and even college to the pro’s. I see it all of the time. It’s what keeps us busy as mental trainers®. What if...

Digital vs Analog thinking: an issue for perfectionist

Digital vs Analog thinking: an issue for perfectionist in sport and business I am working with a number of perfectionist clients at the moment. All have different reasons for how they came to believe they needed to be this way. as you may know if you have read me over time I deal mostly in solutions rather than in causes. Yes understanding your cause with regard to perfectionism is helpful, it also takes a long time to understand. So I prefer to help people with solutions instead and this is where the idea of  Digital vs Analog thinking: an issue for perfectionist in sport and business comes to play. We live in a digital age. The age of computers. Computer language is build on 00011100 coding. Ones and zeros, on verses off. Much like a light switch we are either perfect or we are un-perfect and if un-perfect it that it means something is unacceptable, then we are in a world of hurt.  This digital thinking leads to anxiety, loss of confidence and frequently a dismantling of the individual self concept of themselves. This of course leads them down the path were they become even more perfectionistic and at some point either give up or continue in the whirlpool of self incrimination. I’ve written other posts here on how this cycle is triggered often by shame, but for now I want to focus on helping you change the cycle one step at a time. I want you to think analog. For some of you this can be hard as so much of our world is no digital.    ...

RIP Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams It’s been a hard few days for me. A lot goes on in life. Client needs, family needs and of course business needs, so the news that Robin Williams had taken his own life hit me hard. I am not one to follow celebrity. I rarely watch the news. I am too involved in the present. Too involved with Shifting the Paradigm of Sport Psychology & Mental Training to  something that everyone will see as important and use to watch what goes on outside my little window of life. I work with people who are normal to exceptional. I understand genius on the field and off, it has been my life work. How to bring people to the next level. So I look for it in others, not just in sports, not just in business, but where it exists. So I have watched the genius who was Robin Williams intently. RIP Robin Williams. I’m old enough to have watched Mork from Ork. To have seen him play-off with Jonathan Winters. To have seen him in roles like Popeye and wondered how things would go from there. Good Morning Vietnam was eye opening. Yes there was comedy, the riffs as he was playing the DJ role, but there was much more there, wasn’t there? He could act. He was no longer Mork. Not the stand-up comic, but an actor. Eye opening. RIP Robin Williams. Then came roles like Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting and the depth of his abilities grew more. He moved me in ways I couldn’t understand at the time. From comic to Soldier...

Build your company using the athlete within you

Build your company using the athlete within you I get this question a lot during presentations to companies or associations, so I thought I would dedicate some time to it. I get asked or told, depending on the person asking the question. Why sport psychology and what does it have to do with business? Now generally I answer with a series of metaphors like making a big sale is hitting one out of the park or you know that question is a real curve ball. Mostly people get that our business language and sports language often dovetail. That’s when we can focus on how to build your company using the athlete within you Sometimes I talk to them about working with their customers especially after a big NFL or college game. What used to be talk around the water cooler now takes place there, on Facebook and any place people communicate with each other. After I have done this we proceed to talk about the Mental Game and how it will help them. Right now however I want to go a different route, a more direct route if you will. If you don’t understand why sport psychology works for you in your business world, please ask this of yourself. Why wouldn’t you want to be an athlete? Train like an athlete and succeed like an elite athlete? You see, elite athletes are your best example of who you want to be like. Let’s try this for logic. If you looked at your job as if it were a sport, what would change? Certainly it would be more fun. You would...

Win the mental game

Win the Mental Game (previously published in WAC Magazine) How to prepare your mind for competition and success When it comes to getting ready for competition, your mental preparation means more than you might realize. I often call this the “game within the game.” If you have been a competitive athlete at all in your life, you can probably recall a time when your mental state caused you to perform better or worse. What you might not realize, however, is that you can achieve peak performance more consistently through mental preparation. As a sport psychology consultant and mental trainer, I often ask athletes to consider the best and the worst games they ever played. After they’ve done this, I ask them what they think the differences were between the two. Was the other team flat-out better, more fit, or coached by a genius? Almost always, the answer is none of those things. So to win the mental game, training makes a difference. Instead, people often look internally. Talking about their worst performances, they point to anxiety, fear, or a lack of focus. The words differ, but the meaning is essentially the same: It was a “mental thing.” My next question is this: How much time do you spend practicing the mental game? Whether we’re talking about sports or business or personal affairs, if your answer to this question is “no time at all,” then it’s time to rethink your approach. FIVE TENETS The game within the game is the mental contest we play as we prepare for competition, whatever form it may take. It’s about what we tell ourselves before, during and...

Asking Important Questions

Asking Important Questions Every decade or so I feel the need to clean out a file drawer, and this morning I did. What caught my eye was the first published magazine column I think I every wrote. It was for a monthly tennis magazine called “Tennis Talk” in Southern California. The copy I found was untitled so I’ve dubbed it “Asking Important Questions”. I found a few others and I will post them later.  From Tennis Talk Magazine June 1980 For sometime now I have been asking questions of athletes i meet at various competitions. The major question I ask is “What do you do get ready for competition?” In a recent meeting with a group of junior players this was their reply: X number of hours on court practicing serve, ground strokes, etc. X number of hours in competition X number of hours running, stretching and weight training to get in shape This appears to be a good, solid program I said, but aren’t you forgetting something, I asked. They all answered pretty much the same. “We think we are doing what needs to be done.” I then asked what they do for the mental part of the game. At first I got blank stares. “One player said he sometimes tries to psych himself up or psych the other player out, is that what I meant?” I then asked how important was the mental side and they all agreed it was the most important, but that it was what it was. As a Sport Psychology Consultant, I have run into this set of circumstances constantly. It seems ridiculous to...

Stories

Stories from Clients, Coaches and Families It has taken me a very long time to agree to use these stories or testimonials (I hate that word).  I have been encouraged to do so by the parents, coaches and athletes I’ve worked with.  These are just a few of the kind remarks I’ve kept locked away.  Former clients and their parents tell me I’ve been backwards not telling these types of success stories.  They say it makes it easier for people to find me. I just thought of it as self promotion. For years I told them just refer me to others and that is enough.   Well when I heard from Mauricio Bardales, former DI & DII NCAA Champion in the decathlon and he told me I was just being stupid, I guess I had to listen. So here are a few of the people who have touched my life over the years.There are more than 2000 more stories tucked away. Maybe one day I’ll bring some more of them out. I’ve a wall in my office and I am now collecting pictures of current and former athletes. Perhaps I am just at that age where I need help remembering them better. If you are a former athlete I’ve worked with and are willing to share your story, drop me an email and I’ll put your story here as well. Even better, give me a call and let’s catch up. -MM Stories I have had many requests not just for stories, but what athletes did in their mental training. While most every athlete I’ve worked with goes through an entire program certain skill sets were of particular...

Seahawk Super Bowl Victory and the Mental Game

Seahawk Super Bowl Victory and the Mental Game These are the conversations I had with people on Facebook and Twitter. It made the game even more fun. Thought some would like to listen in regarding the Seahawk Super Bowl Victory and the Mental Game It’s Super Bowl Sunday. Less than 5 hrs until kickoff. Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos. My two favorite teams. I worked with the Broncos on their first visit to the Super Bowl. I have a lot of roots in Denver. This is the first time I’ve wanted a different team to win. So I ask the question. Will it come down to Xs & Os? Might I suggest that it is really about The Mental Game. Which team will be calm under pressure? Which team has the mental toughness to excel? Will Manning shake Sherman’s confidence? Will he even pass in that direction? These are the difference makers. You know, no matter what level of play, it’s always the mental game. I did say it was all about the mental game. I’m just about that Rainbow, boss.  http://t.co/YHFP5Ij4PB” This is a Skittle thing. But it is one of the things that will be iconic about the game.  Congrats Seahawks and 12s. Great game tonight. Totally dominated. It really did show how when a team is mentally prepared the difference it makes. Seahawks preach the mental game. It’s part of their weekly focus Should be everyone’s. Go Hawks! (From my FB Friend Steven) Mike, mental preparation before the game is so important, but what struck me tonight as I saw pictures ot the Denver players on the sideline in...

Can we learn from the Seahawks?

Can we learn from the Seahawks? Teams are preparing for the biggest game of the year, in arguably the biggest venue, the Big Apple- New York City. Most all the focus is on the Denver Broncos Payton Manning and the historic passing offence vs the Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom and the #1 ranked Defense. The game takes place on a huge stage. The focus is mostly on Offense and Defense, X’s and O’s, but might the real contest be in everyone’s head?  Yes and how will the mental game play a role in the outcome? One thing we have heard is that the Seattle Seahawks work with a Psychologist from Los Angeles. Many of the players including young quarterback Russell Wilson meet with him weekly. (http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=21614481) The idea that at the pinnacle of football (or any other sport) athletes openly meet with someone to help them with their mental game come into play in New York? How mentally prepared is each team? To what degree will mental toughness effect these two great teams? These are the real questions. Mental toughness training is telling and the Seahawks have been doing this now for two years. Is their rise to the top in the NFL due to X’s and O’s. Is it based on the draft and free agency? Is it the leadership from Pete Carroll and his Win Forever mentality? Absolutely! But it is this same mentality that brings in someone to help players with their mental training. This is perhaps a much overlooked area where athletes can make huge improvements in performance and it is not often that people can work...

Seahawk’s Derrick Coleman and the Mental Game

Seahawk’s Derrick Coleman and the Mental Game You may have notice I don’t often write about professional players. This commercial about the Seahawk’s Derrick Coleman I think fits in well though. Derrick Coleman is a Seattle Seahawk Fullback. He has also been deaf since the age of three. The video is a commercial by Duracell about Coleman. It’s about his determination and unwillingness to give up his pursuit of a dream. It is a very positive message to everyone on not to give up. There are questions, unasked that comes to mind. Why was he so determined? Where did he find the strength from within to keep chasing his dreams. Was it the way he was raised? Was it something he learned early on from a teacher or coach? These of course are unanswered questions. My real thought is this. And it is the thought that has driven me most of my life. What if you are someone who didn’t have this kind of drive from birth or didn’t learn it early in life? Are there ways to learn this later? I believe the answer to that question is unequivocal. The answer is of course “YES”! Derrick Coleman is a young man who refused to be bent by the opinion of others in pursuit of his dream. he had the drive to continue in spite of what many would consider a disability. Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone can play in the NFL. You have to have talent. But more than talent you must have drive. As the commercial ends saying, Trust the Power Within! He understands the Mental Game. Now for me this power is a...

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Mike Margolies

    Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; TheMental-Game.com Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential.