Is this your first time?
Welcome to The Athlete within You blog site. Is this your first time? I trust it won’t be your last and you will find these posts informative, entertaining at times and useful to you as you train for sports and life. I hope that as a first time of recent visitor that you will take the tour and check out more posts. It would be even cooler if you would share them with others. My intent is to reach as many as possible. I want people to know that mental training is for everyone.
This site is all about mental training and how it helps you reach peak performance in sports and business. Many of the stories or antidotes are meant to give you a sense of understanding, that being an athlete is so much more than physical training. Certainly it is my belief that mental training is not a luxury, it is an essential – necessity. Sprinkled throughout these 100 or so posts are suggestions and exercises for mental training I have used over the last three decades to help athletes reach the highest levels in sports. I am pleased that some have made it to the world stage and even taken how the big prize. I perhaps get more satisfaction from the athletes who have moved up to the college level able to pursue their love of the game and a college education. If you read the story about my father (an elementary school teacher) , you’ll understand that I appreciate now the impact I have had on the lives of others. There have been over 2000. I wish I had stayed in better contact with them. I do hear from some even 30 years later. I may feel that way because it is so much easier for us to connect today via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I love how email and Skype has made communication so much easier.
Just a bit about me as you can find that easily in other places.
Ceremonial Puck Drop prior to Stampede vs Weber State Game
My name is Mike Margolies. (that’s me dropping the puck) I am a Certified Mental Trainer®, Sport Psychology Consultant, former college and professional athlete (I had a sip of coffee). I’ve trained athletes for 35 years or so. I am an author. Yes my book is called The Athlete within You. It is available through Amazon and other booksellers. It is available as a Kindle too. The best way to get a copy is through my website (autographed of course). Speaking of which, if you would like to know more about mental training and sport psychology please follow the link directly to The Mental Game..
As I said if this is your first time, please take us for a spin. I am confident you will find something you like. I would love it if you would start a conversation. I can learn as much from you as you are willing to share. Good bye for now. Don’t be a stranger.
Thoughts from the Darkness of Super Bowl 47
Thoughts on what mental lessons did we learn from Super Bowl 47
I would be remiss if I if I didn’t follow last weeks post with some thoughts and observations from Super Bowl 47.
With all the hype one team came out ready to play. You are a team or individual athlete and you have two weeks to prepare for the biggest game of your career and you come out flat. Was it the distractions of the week or just that the other team was better prepared mentally. On paper both teams have great defenses and good offenses. Half time score was 21-6 at half. 11 second into the 2nd half the score was 28-6.
And then the lights went out. We can insert 49ers, gambling, CBS, etc. jokes here about who pulled the plug.
Needless to say a weird thing happened on the way to a beat down by the older brother to his younger sibling. The lights went out in Georgia (er the Super Dome) causing a 35 minute delay. The Ravens had all of the momentum. They were in cruse control. And then the darkness. All of a sudden things changed. The commentary started in about how this may have saved San Francisco. Now they have time to regroup. No team has comeback from more than a 10 point deficit, but now maybe this is a sign. Certainly the coaching staff for the 49ers are telling their players that they can use this to their advantage. This will be the shift in momentum they need. After all its 3rd down and 13 for a first down, but the Ravens won’t be able to stop them now. On the other side, while the Ravens are thinking they still have this game in the bag time is not on their side. They are an older team and it takes time to physically get going after an hour of sitting around. Half time is over twice as long and a normal game. So they cooled down, got ready again and cooled again. Tough for any athlete. They too likely started to wonder if this meant things were not to be.
The brothers who are always interesting to watch were an interesting study. If you asked me who would be the most irrational about something during the game I would have said it would be 49er head coach Jim. He is not known in the media as Mr Congeniality. He made up for it later, but I’ll save that. Brother John can have his moments, but is perceived differently. During the Darkness, as I will refer to it, the camera caught John going off on the referees and NFL official over something. He looked as if he were losing it. He had been told they could not use headsets because the 49ers side were down. The Ravens send in plays from the coaches box so that would put them at a disadvantage. They were going to take an extra 15 minutes to allow the coaches to come down. I think it was also the delay and could he get his team back where he needed them mentally and physically after the lay off.
San Francisco takes control
Just like the movie script that includes a conspiracy theory on who pulled the plug, San Francisco came out of the Darkness on Que and came back and took the lead. The Ravens responded showing that they had not died and pulled ahead. In the end it came down to a goal line stance with SF having the ball in the Red Zone. They needed a touchdown as time was running out. Baltimore dug in and held them figuratively and perhaps actually. A non call on a hold / passing interference on 4th and the trophy, sent Jim into a rage. Not sure he’s stopped complaining yet. The Ravens get the ball on downs. Three runs later and there is still time on the clock. Ravens have to punt or perhaps opt for a safety to take time off the clock and give them room to prevent a blocked kick. Most everyone knew it was what they would do. The interesting thing was that the offense became like the defense. The held and tacked the defense players allowing the punter to take more time off before taking the safety. Holding /tackling the other team was penalty. The refs made no call. Now in truth the it made no difference. It was an anomaly. I remember having the same thing happen to me coaching youth football 36 years ago. I’ve seen some people say it is not within the spirit of the game. That may be but it is within the rules. Call or don’t call the penalty. Either way it was the endgame.
End of an Era
Ray Lewis is retiring. He won’t be gone as I am sure he will be on TV forever. I’m not a big RL fan. He paid (sort of for his crime) but still makes questionable life choices. He’s made some good ones as well and I have friends in the Baltimore area that talk about how much he does for the community. I think that is great. Community starts at home as well and he needs I think take care of his kids and ex girlfriends too. But Ray and Ed (a real good dude) are gone. I’m happy for Baltimore and their fans. There are some good stories, inspiring stories as well. Former All Pro O.J. Brigance being around fighting ALS.
Mental aspects of the Darkness
Mental toughness is about being resilient, about persevering and about persistence.
The biggest things to look at I think are these. Be prepared for competition, mentally, emotionally and physically. (Ravens)
Be prepared for coping when things go terribly wrong like the Darkness (49ers)
Fight back when you lose momentum. (Ravens)
Don’t lose it emotionally (both coaches)
And finally be mentally strong enough to be gracious in both victory and defeat.
What lessons can and should we learn from the two-week build up for the Super Bowl?
I can think of a few Super Bowl lessons and I’m sure others can add some things too. This of course comes up each year at the Super Bowl and for the most part it is the same each year. There are I think some important lessons and choices we can all understand.
Super Bowl Lessons from the build up
- With lots of time on their hands at least one person is going to brag about themselves. This years biggest bragger is Randy Moss.
- Now if you have read some of my posts I encourage athletes to brag in my office. Sometimes it is important to say good things about yourself. We do not however do it in front of millions to draw attention to self. Randy Moss is a great receiver. One of the best. No need to say he is better than Jerry Rice other than to hear his own voice. (more…)
A year in review 2012
I’ve not ever felt a need to do this before, to have a year in review. It is a new experience for me. I want to look back at 2012 with clarity and be able to move forward in new ways. So taking my own advice, I am going back over the successes and of course challenges of the past year. You can cut to the chase by going to the last paragraph if you like.
Starting with the Athletes and their sports
Sounders FC U23 Player DeAndre Yedlin with Mike Margolies
I worked with an amazing group of athletes this year including those in the following sports: Golf, football, gymnastics, hockey, equestrians, soccer, tennis, swimming, softball, baseball, track, diving, roller derby, basketball, triathlon, cycling, fencing, water skiing, fitness, power lifting and lacrosse.
Competitor’s ages ranged from 12 to 70+. Competitive levels were club, high school, college and professional. Seven high school athletes earned scholarships or were accepted to their first choice college as an athlete (Ivy League = no athletic scholarships). One college walk-on earned her full scholarship. Most the athletes, but not all, were starters on their respective teams. In the end all were starting most of their games. I worked with a few teams as well at the club and minor league levels. All in all it was a very good year for the clients I worked with. If I were to put it in baseball terms, I would say that we batted around .900 Read the rest of the post by choosing more…. (more…)
Learn from a Jackass (donkey that is)
Learn from a Jackass is an old motivational, (scratch that) inspirational story. It has been repeated many times. I use it occasionally to make a few points about Mental Training. I’ve no idea where I first heard it; though I know it was years ago. I realized today that it is one of those stories I’ve not used here. So indulge me and learn a lesson from a Jackass.
One day a farmer’s donkey (officially recognized as a Jackass by Webster’s) fell down into a well. The animal brayed (Heehawed) for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to rescue the jackass.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.
Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. (more…)
The Mental Game: Coin Flip to increase self-awareness
Here is a new exercise called Coin Flip. I borrowed this from a friend. I am very sure it was not really intended to be a psychological teaching exercise, but more a metaphor perhaps. Just the same I can see many ways of using this to help people understand their own minds a little better. This will be short and as I develop this a little more I will likely add to this discussion. Use this regardless of your sport. You could be a golfer, football player or track star. You might play hockey or ride horses. This exercise can open your eyes.
So here is how it goes The Mental Game Coin Flip
Some people will tell you that this is about letting fate determine your future. They believe if I am asking them to flip a coin to make a decision that I am saying leave it to luck or some random result. That is not what I am saying at all. I am pointing out that when the coin is in mid flip you will become aware of what you really want. People believe that their gut instincts are right most of the time.
Indecision comes not so much from not knowing what you want but from a lack of awareness to what you want. When you flip that coin in the air, there becomes a moment of truth where it is hard to sit on the fence. You will become aware of what you really want the outcome to be. Self-awareness is a key component of Emotional Intelligence. This becomes a way of not only making a clear decision but becoming more self-aware.
Unfortunately when people actually flip a coin to make real decisions they very often go with fate. I think when you do this properly; you really determine your own fate. Because heads or tails whatever you decide in the moment when the coin is in the air, is what you should go with not what the result happens to be.
Let’s play with it. Pick something you need to make a decision about. You say you are torn and can’t do it. Flip a coin high in the air. Are you neutral to the outcome? If it is important to you, then I would think not. You will have a thought like Heads or Tails. Not wishing necessarily, just projecting. So there is your answer. You don’t even need to see the result. In fact I would say don’t even look. You know in your gut what you want to do. If you were to do this over the course of a short period of time and ask yourself what are some of the reasons for my ultimate choices you begin to increase your own awareness.
So here is something I would love people to respond to. Give a sports example that this could apply to. Maybe should you go for a run today or something more important like changing coaches?
Come up with a great example, post it here and I’ll send you a copy of
The Athlete within You.
Give this a turn or rather a flip the next time you think you don’t know your own mind.