TAGFEE in Sports

TAGFEE in Sports

TAGFEE in SportsTAGFEE in sports

TAGFEE in Sports. I have written about core values before here. I think they are very important to teams, individuals and businesses. Normally I apply things we have learned from elite athletes and sports teams to the people I help in the business world. I do a good bit of team building and teaching corporate entities the value of working more like a sports team then a business unit. I’d like to take some time today and reverse this stratagem. It is not that when I work with sports teams I do not use the things I have learned from being in the business world to help them be efficient, I do, but this is something I want to incorporate more. It is not that these ideas are revolutionary to either the business world or to the sports world. I just happen to like the way that this is laid out in I think a very useful way. To be sure for some teams this will be very alien in nature. If this make your club, team uncomfortable that may be good. If you are the owner, GM or coach just consider how this could make a difference. Maybe there are a few things, if not all you could incorporate. I just want you to consider them for now and we can discuss implementation at a later time.

This idea blossomed in my mind after a meeting I had with Founding President Emeritus of a hi-tech company called SeoMoz, Gillian Muessig.  She and her son Rand Fishkin developed this model and Rand has been the chief orator on what they call TAGFEE. I thought what I would do was briefly describe TAGFEE and then apply it to a sports team rather than to a business unit. You can read much more about TAGFEE on SeoMoz.

TAGFEE represents the following. Transparency, Authenticity, Generosity, Fun, Empathy and Exceptionalism. Now if you are a Team Owner, GM or Coach you are thinking this is what we do. We may talk about them differently, but basically this is how we roll. I’ve been involved all of my life in sports. It is not how we roll. For a decade working with my own teams I have been asking players to look at some core values for our teams. While I think I looked at a lot of areas that may have included these themes, I assure you not everything here is covered. I suggest that most teams fail to understand how important having this type of core value is to the running of their organization.

Let’s look closer at what this all means. (more…)

Learn about sports performance from Albert Einstein

Learn about sports performance from Albert Einstein

Einsteins contribution to sports psychologyLearn about sports performance from Albert Einstein

As a sport psychology consultant teaching athletes about the mental game I’ve always thought of myself as very eclectic (choosing what is best or preferred from a variety of sources or styles) to help my clients. There are things like cognitive behavioral therapy, Neurol-Linguistic Programming, Hypnosis, Freudian Psychoanalysis etc. I have often said I am willing to steal (borrow techniques from anywhere to help athletes find their dream). So why not borrow from the greatest mind of the Twentieth Century. Learn about sports performance from Albert Einstein.

I’ve made it no secret that one of my major role models in life has been Albert Einstein. I wrote about this last month in Role Models and Imagination. I was thinking about him again today after quoting him to one of my clients, a college soccer player who also plays on an MLS u23 team. I told him about the imagination quote on my wall while helping him with visualization (imagery rehearsal). It got me thinking about other quotes and what he teaches even those of us who grew up as jocks and not physicists and mathematicians. So here are 10 Things to learn from Einstein that translate into sports performance. It’s not the Universe and it’s easier to understand than E=mc2. Einstein Sailing, could be lostEinstein did love to sail. Though it has been reported that the man that opened up the Universe was directionally challenged.





Thing 1: Nurture a Curious Mind (athletes lacking curiosity do not succeed)

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Do not hold back curiosity. It has a reason for its existence. Keep a questioning mind.

Thing 2: Worth of Perseverance is immeasurable (A major component of Mental Toughness)

“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” The price of perseverance is beyond the corporeal things. It cannot be measured. It cannot be sold. It has no price.

Thing 3: Pay Attention to One Thing at a Time (focus of attention or concentration is key to athletic success)

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” Do not do several tasks at once. It is in doing one task at a time that excellence is achieved. (more…)

My own Birthday Greeting- the Passing of Steve Jobs & Al Davis

OK, so it’s my birthday today. October 8.  I’m well let’s just say I am perhaps older than I look (at least that is what I am told). A lot of the time I feel and act young. A few have told me too young. I played flag football a few weeks ago. Pulled my hamstring pretty bad as I ran past a few twenty something’s on a QB run. My hammy tried to remind me to act my age as did many of my friend’s right after the event. But, damn it was fun. If I don’t lose my memory I’ll get back to this point in a bit.

This week we lost two icons. Steve Jobs and Al Davis. Very different people with an important similarity. Beep…. thank you for playing:  the similarity was not that they spent most of their career in the Bay Area. Both of these men while very different were rebels with a cause. Both were visionaries. While most will celebrate Steve Jobs life, and what he brought to the world via Apple like the Mac, iPod and iPhone more I suspect view Al Davis differently.  I’m not as good at describing the impacts on technology envisioned by Steve Jobs as I can about sports. But I can say I got Steve Jobs. I get Apple products. I understand the Why behind Steve Jobs and Apple Computer (read Simon Sinek “Start with Why”). I’m just not sure I can articulate it as well as many have done this week.  Both showed great mental toughness that would make any sport psychologist proud.

Football I’m a little better with…  Check out the rest (more…)

Memory is a Funny Thing

Memory is a Funny Thing

Memory is a funny thing.  I am sure we were all great athletes, once upon a time.  For some of us it is remembrances from high school or college.  I’ve met quite a few people that when I listen to their stories, I am convinced they are referencing some major accomplishment when they were in elementary school.

We remember things as we want to remember them.  I had a very odd experience today.  It is a shared memory experience in fact with my wife.  Perhaps her memory of the incident is influenced by having heard me tell the story so often that it is now part of our collective memory.  This may be similar to the way many people remember their early childhood back to a time that they could not possibly remember an incident, some time before they were even born.  Some family occasions that have been passed down are now part of their remembrances.

The story I am telling about myself concerns an athlete I once worked with.  She was an elite athlete and I was helping her prepare for the national and world championships in her sport.  I worked with her for over a year.  I was with her at the National Championships, where she placed 3rd.  Here’s where it gets sketchy.  I was invited first by the competitor, then by her mother and finally her sponsor to be with her at the World Championships.  They wanted me there to support her.  I had two reasons for declining the invitation.  I should mention that it would have been financially beneficial for me to support her there.  It would have also been great for my reputation working with elite athletes.   What happened next?

I declined the invitation on the basis that she didn’t need me there.  It was a self confidence thing and I wanted her to understand that she was in control.  My other reason for not going, which I did not tell them was out of embarrassment.  It was a silly thing really.  I did not possess a passport.  These people were world travelers. The World Championships were in Europe, in a country that no longer actually exists.  I was embarrassed because I thought they would think less of me because obviously I was not a world traveler.  The athlete did great.  She won the bronze medal and qualified for the Olympics.  I had done my job.  I felt great, until her coach fired me, but that is another story all together.

So what does this have to do with memory?  I am putting some things together for my book “The Athlete within You”.  I needed a few extra stories and some accomplishments for book signings and public relations information.  A friend reading the story about the World Championships asked me to write down the city in Europe where the World Championship took place.  As I couldn’t spell it properly, I goggled the year and the event.  Did you know that Cincinnati was right in the middle of Yugoslavia?   I was astounded.  I double and triple checked, but that year, the unlikely place for the World Championships, was Cincinnati, OH.  How could I have gotten this so wrong?  What’s even stranger is I asked my wife what she remembers and it is exactly as I told the story hundreds of times.  So do you think I can get spaghetti and chili in that suburb called Cincinnati, Yugoslavia?

So take this one from me.  Memory is a fickle thing.  When someone regales you with stories of their athletic youth, remember it is likely what they want to remember or mistakenly put together.  Of course if you are hearing about my athletic prowess back in college or high school, take it to the bank; it really happened exactly that way.

To help keep my memory intact and so that I am not alone in telling stories about myself, feel free to tell one on yourself in the comment box.  It’s good for the soul!  I look forward to reading your memories, real and imagined.


All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten was written in 1988 and through the years has developed sort of a cultish type of following. It is often quoted as being the basis for what we know. The rest of our education, both in school and out is just an addendum.  Some use it against our schools and others in support.  Just depending on what they are attempting to challenge.  I thought I would take it from a different perspective, as I don’t work with kindergarten kids; I work with high school athletes and adults.

Most of the perspectives I have read about this book is in regard to how we really do learn all of our life skills in our early years.  I certainly am not going to argue that point and that perhaps the rest of our learning experience is the learning of facts and figures.  I would like to discuss however that not everything we learn at this time is useful to us as human beings.  This is also not meant to be a critique of the school system, because many of the things we learn at this age are from parents, siblings, friends as well as teachers.

The reason I am looking in this direction is that so many of my clients can trace some of part of their negative behavior back to these early times.  Many think that it is an experience they had much later, but let’s take a look at some common experiences in and out of sport.

One of my favorite storyteller, singer, and song writer’s is the late Harry Chapin.  Most people know him for Taxi.  He wrote another song called “Flowers are Red”.

Harry Chapin – Flowers Are Red lyrics | LyricsMode.com

It’s all about how a teacher that criticizes a young boy about his drawings and takes an energetic, young child with a vivid imagination and crushes his vitality.  I suspect a lot of us have had that person in our lives.  My kindergarten teacher was like that.  I drew a lot of people using triangles for bodies.  I was told I was stupid and would never be an artist.  Funny the things we remember.  Even some of our really good teachers didn’t always get it right. (more…)

All Things in their Time

I have been looking back into the past to understand myself.  I am doing this so that I can better understand how to help those I work with.  While I firmly believe that our performance while built on past experience is not governed or controlled by it and we can learn to move forward despite our past experience there are times where it is important to acknowledge that we do have a past to reckon with.

Every athlete or person I work with one of the initial conversations is direct to “Why” do you want to do what you are doing.  What is your Why?   Simon Sinek‘s book Start with Why is a great example of the importance of understanding your why.  His book is a best seller because it demonstrates to us how it is we find inspiration to achieve our goals.

I’ve talked about my why in working with athletes a number of times.  I was the athlete that kept failing at the next level, basically until there were no more levels.  I lacked a good understanding of how to be a successful athlete from a mental perspective.  You can read about this in my blog.  A good friend Deborah Drake prompted me, as good friends often do, to think a little bit more about my why.  I started to tell her a story about my father and she has encouraged me to finish the story here.

My dad was a teacher.  Actually he had been a lot of things in his youth.  He was a boxer , a push cart peddler, a roofer, a hobo, a migrant worker, a panhandler (someday I’ll write his story of panhandling in from of Nevada’s more famous houses of ill repute, but that is for another day.  During the 1950’s he was a successful traveling salesman.  Insert joke here if you want.   After I was born he decided to become a teacher so that he would be home and as he said he wanted to make a difference.  So he taught elementary school and coached on the playgrounds from the late 1950’s till his retirement in 1987 at age 70.  He was burned out by the system.  He had spent his career teaching in a lower economic neighborhood teaching kids to read and trying to keep them out of trouble.  He was as I recall in the same building for 27 years.  He was an institution in his school district.  He was Mr. Margolies.  Another reason I guess I go by Mike to everyone.  If you don’t read more then you too may miss the point. (more…)