Everything Needs a Beginning

Everything Needs a Beginning

I’ve been working with athletes on the game within the game for almost 35 years.  I like to tell people that it means I started when I was 5.  It is obvious for anyone that has seen a recent picture of me that this statement is clearly a bald-faced lie.  OK I’ll admit to 13 then.  If there is a point to this Margolies get on with it would you.

I left the friendly confines of Humboldt State University with degree in hand to pursue my Masters Degree in Sport Science under the supervision of one Marvin Clein.  I had been given an assistantship solely based on my ability to teach foil fencing.  This of course was a complete or almost complete fabrication.  I had taken one-quarter of fencing in college.  The first thing my French trained instructor had said in class was that in France we wouldn’t touch a foil for 2 years.  I’d had 3 months and was prepared to teach the course in college.  This of course is the confidence of a 21-year-old soccer playing, PE major.

I graduated in June, drove to Colorado to be a Park Ranger (this will be another chapter some day) and found my way to the ivy brick buildings of the University of Denver, 2 days before my program and teaching fencing began.  I was directed into the department chairs office.  He didn’t get up.  He was on the phone.  He said (it seemed to me curtly), I’m on the phone, talk to Bruce.  Here I had driven all this way and he was on the phone.  At least I thought I had 10 minutes left before he started in on me on fencing.

While lost in this thought I heard a voice.  Bruce was communicating with me and I was not very attentive.  I apologized and paid attention.  Bruce was an older man (keep in mind I was 21).  He had white hair and a friendly smile.  He asked how my trip had been and what I wanted to do with my life.

I told him I wanted to coach because almost every coach I’d ever had was not great and had gotten it all wrong.  This included my soccer coach who I admired a great deal.  He had failed in my year with him to turn me into a NASL player, so how good could he have been after all.  My football coach at Los Angeles State University didn’t think I was worthy of starting as a freshman (it’s a secrete, but the guy ahead of me was drafted into the NFL).  My High School coaches were more concerned with the length of my hair…  OH well these are talks for another time.  Let’s just say that I wanted to coach athletes and knew there was a better way and I wanted to find it.

I had been rambling for a minute or two when I noticed Bruce was smiling.  I assumed that he thought I was just another idiot college kid.  I said we hadn’t been really introduced.  He said his name was Bruce Olgilvie and he was a good friend of Marv’s.  We talked for another half hour before Marv found his way off the phone.  I had realized that I did know Bruce.  I had read about him in text books and in Sports Illustrated.  He was like the modern father of Sports Psychology.  He and some guy named Tutko at San Jose State worked together.  I was pretty much in aw, but Bruce drew me out.  We talked about athletes he had worked with and the Olympics.  It was very cool.

While we had been chatting away like a couple of teenagers, he noticed first, that now Marv was smiling.  I figured that grumpy Marv was about to give me something to think about, like which direction to take back to California.  Instead he said to Bruce it was time for lunch.  He got up and walked to the door with his old friend leaving me standing (I had gotten up not knowing what to do).  When he got to the door he barked “Margolies, your driving and flipped me the keys”.  It was an odd way to start on this 35 year journey working with athletes.

This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar  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. Read more from this author


  1. What a great story meeting Bruce Olgilvie! I got a laugh out of your comment about your high school coaches being so concerned about the length of your hair. With me it was my high school tennis coaches – I got the “cut it or don’t play” lecture every time it grew out.

  2. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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