Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Separation Factor

Alarm sounds at 5:30 am. You fly out of bed. Defining moment

Visualizing and knowing what you will attain today. Defining moment

When THEY ask why you set such lofty goals, and you respond without ego. Defining moment

When pain strikes during the climb to those goals, and you choose not to feel any. Defining moment

When you reach your ultimate goal, and aren't satisfied. Defining moment

When you choose defining moment over pressure. 1%!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Ego has no place in growth. Learn to be egoless. It'll free you from self-consciousness.

Coaches and teachers, eliminate ego from the equation. Come together, help one another reach new levels.

Collaborate more, worry less about self. 

To be egoless means giving up the need to say, "It was because of me..." Just let it be. Let the glory fall where it does. 

When helping someone reach new heights, make it about that someone ... never you. If it has to be about you, the point of teaching has been lost.

As a student, erase ego from your lifestyle. It only holds you back from true improvement.  

Ego makes hands squeeze together, not allowing for growth to land in your palms. It blames, deflects, and makes excuses.

To be egoless means giving up who you were, in order to become who you will be!  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I DO Know What You're Going Through

I just finished a great conversation with a student, who in college, had a record breaking emotional blowup. The day after being named a Junior College Tennis All American, he decided not to be focused in his next match. He had already qualified for State Championships and would be moving on to the next stage of tournaments, so in his mind, didn't need to mentally show up for this match.

As this particular match moved forward, it was obvious he wasn't focused on his routines and mental goals. Instead, he was paying more attention to his opponent on the other side of the net, who throughout the year, was a major rival. They didn't like each other much. As a matter of fact, this opponent would purposely cheat when matches got close. This day was no different, except for how my student would handle and react to the cheating.

Approximately 45 minutes into the match, the cheating began. Not caring so much about the outcome of the match, my guy started threatening the cheater, promising he wouldn't get away with it this time. The two jawed back and forth, so much so, that a referee was placed on the court. Unfortunately, this ref had no idea what was about to transpire. This match wasn't going to end in a hand shake and the customary  "nice match" at the net.

Again, my student came into this match totally unfocused and concentrated on next week's State Tournament, so he was playing awful. Topped with the normal cheating from his opponent, the perfect storm was brewing. Before any coaches or players on other courts could see what happened, my man hit a perfect volley that was again called out, but this time wasn't going to take it. He instantly jumped the net with his racquet in hand, ready to crack the cheater with it. His doubles partner somehow jumped the net and tackled him before any blood could be shed. In a split second, coaches and players from the two teams were running to the court.

My student was subdued, but not before being ejected from the match, and kicked off the premises. Before leaving, he proceeded to break four racquets and his plastic water bottle, shattering them into pieces, saving one racquet for later. And when I say, "leaving," I don't mean calmly walking away... no, no... this wasn't his style at 19 years old. He took that one remaining racquet and sprinted far away from the tennis courts. He ran across the street, through a field, over a fence, across another street, finding himself at the base of a huge tree at a deserted park.

As he knelt beside the tree, barely being able to breathe from the mile sprint he just took, he noticed he was still clutching his last tennis racquet in his right hand. He looked at the racquet, then back at the tree, then again at the racquet. "Bye bye racquet," he promised. What seemed like 15 minutes, he smashed that graphite enemy into the thick bark until there was only a leather grip left, dangling from his fingers.

Finally, he could rest.

I have a conversation with this student in the mirror every morning and night. I look at his reflection and congratulate him for making an amazing transformation. Before he sits down to a mental session and teaches anyone anything, he must first look at himself, be honest, and admit he will always be the student.

Yes ... I DO know what you're going through!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Keep it simple, Sally!

The best teachers, coaches, and mentors I've ever had were masters at taking complex situations and breaking them down to their simplest forms. Too often, we talk to much, analyze to deeply, and think more than is needed.

In a tennis match, hit the ball over the net and in more than your opponent. Do this, you win. In basketball, take it away from opponents as much as possible, set a screen to free a teammate, put ball in basket. When trying to lose weight, eat healthy and exercise often. On the golf course, focus deeply on target, hit ball to target as best as you can, repeat.

Sports were made to be played! Knowledge, alone, isn't the key to our improvement. Knowing what to do, and figuring out the best ways to apply that knowledge is the key that will unlock performance. In my years of experience as a player and now a coach, I've learned one simple truth: The simpler we make it, the better we'll play.

Visualize it happening ... accepts all results ... go! Repeat over and over.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

I've Got 5 Words For You...

Emotional intensity increases subconscious ability!

Imagine yourself on the tee box of your #1 handicap hole. OB left, hazard right, and a tight landing area. It's a long par 4, so you must take driver. If left on it's own, the mind will automatically focus on the trouble -- what it doesn't want to have happen. This is simply a defense mechanism the conscious mind goes to, in order to protect you from the pain associated with the trouble. In essence, it's saying, "I don't want you to hit O.B. because it will bring you a lot of pain. Don't hit it in there, ok?" Unfortunately, by creating such a focus, it unknowingly makes you hit there more often.

The conscious, "talking mind" will always do just that -- talk. So we must give it something to chew on while we attempt to feel and visualize what we want. The way we do this is by intensifying our emotions ... with words and thoughts. Since our conscious mind wants to talk, trick it into helping us. Allow it to give us specific words and phrases: "Attack," "Go now," "I love these moments," "This is MY time," etc. While we allow this type of so-called thinking, we're creating emotional responses for our subconscious to attach itself to. We kill two birds...

The tough part is INTENSIFYING the emotion on the tee box, as you stare down the tight fairway, knowing what's on your left and right. This takes practice, but by repeating whatever word or phrase over and over in pre shot and at address with strong emotion, the peripheral will disappear, leaving a detailed picture of what you want. Make yourself feel, with deep passion, the phrase you're repeating. Make the words more than words ... create the intense emotion your subconscious needs.

You can apply this technique to any part of your game, but with any type of change, massive repetition is the only way to attain what you want. On paper this technique seems simple, but the real life application needs discipline and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.

The 1% Mindset is yours for the taking. What are you waiting for?! Take it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Do You Believe?

I received an email recently from someone who didn't agree that self belief should take precedent over results. He didn't like that I teach my students to "just believe, regardless of (and especially before) results."

I normally don't respond to this type of email, but needed to in this case to "back" my current students' decisions to work their butts off, irregardless of outcome. I'm very passionate, believe deeply in my approach to the mental game, and especially committed to it's affects on our lives off the playing field.

Self belief and confidence is a choice we make, not a result of our wins and losses. The levels of belief will definitely increase when we succeed, but our foundation will always be a decision we consciously make. This person is upset because he thinks I'm creating a false belief in my students, telling them to "just believe." I'm not telling a 5 handicap to believe that he'll win the US Open this year, or asking a high school tennis player to drop his classes to chase a professional career ... but I AM telling them that with unwaivering self confidence, massive discipline, and committed passion for their goals, one day, they will have a chance!

I want each and every student I currently teach, and players I'll teach in the future to know their belief system is what separates them from the rest. This is especially true when their plans don't seem to be working as they visualized. The 1% Mindset is about sustaining a level of confidence through the difficult times, knowing the only thing that can stop you ... is you! Your mindset dictates your path, decisions, and reactions!

The strength and conviction of your self belief doesn't have to be a slave to outcome. You have two choices: Decide to believe in yourself, no matter what the result, or as my friendly neighborhood doubter would suggest ... only after concrete results appear. The 1% laugh at the latter recommendation. What do you believe?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pressure Moment? Nope!

Prior to this play, 100% of people would agree that this was the definition of "pressure moment." In my new reality, I now believe Laettner simply made a conscious choice to focus on the challenge of the moment, instead of the fear of missing.

Pressure isn't real ... Laettner's reaction to the moment of consequence was!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Workaholic ... Period!

Love him, hate him, but you have to admire him. He turned talent into all-time skill!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pressure, Part II

I've received such a huge response about the Pressure video I made for the 1% Academy, I thought I needed to revisit the topic. This subject has created a stir, in my opinion, because my take on Pressure is very much against the grain, causing people to question their rooted definition of the word. Since most are instinctively against major change, you can imagine the conversations I've had on the topic.

From the time my memory began, the definition of pressure has been hammered into my brain. Growing up as an athlete, learning how to "handle" or "deal" with pressure better than my opponents has been logged into my daily practice routines. I've been told by coaches, parents, and all the so-called experts that the only way to separate from the pack was to play better than them under this monster they named pressure.

As a tennis instructor, I naturally taught my students the same principles about pressure that everyone taught me, but as I began creating my mental performance base, something changed. Before I could teach anyone else how to develop their mental and emotional game, I first had to take a long, hard look at my own, both current and past. I quickly started seeing patterns in the way I approached pressure situations, and realized my body's physical reaction to those moments were dictated by my perception of the moments.

I remember the day as if it was yesterday, when I first asked myself the question: Could it be possible that pressure didn't really exist? Could it be that what I called pressure was actually just my thoughts creating specific emotional and physical reactions?

Unfortunately, I didn't have the courage at the time to "buck the system." Being the young kid on the block, I didn't posses the confidence or awareness that I controlled my confidence. So, rather than trying to change the way other coaches and players viewed pressure, I kept my new views on the inside, waiting until "tomorrow" to approach the topic.

Well, tomorrow has come ... and it's today! Since I couldn't find any "experts" who agreed with me, I had to dive deep within, draw from every past competitive situation, and analyze in detail my reaction to this pressure monster. (Andy Morrison @AMGolfMindCoach on Twitter) is literally the only coach I could find who agrees with my viewpoint. That's o.k., because I understand how unwilling most are about such a major change in their mindset.

After countless hours of self analyzation, my opinion on pressure has taken a 180 degree turn. Pressure moments do not exist! What we call pressure is simply our perception of the moment, creating an emotional and physical reaction. These reactions are definitely real, but they are created by our thoughts of the specific occasion. We have two ways of viewing these moments: With fear or excitement. When we understand that the physical reactions to these moments are all self-induced, rather than produced by some tangible creature named pressure, we'll immediately bust free from our mental handcuffs.

Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, maybe the two most mentally tough athletes of all-time, will say they love and thrive under pressure, primarily because they don't know any other term for this moment of consequence. What they're really saying is they love the opportunity to change fear of failure into excitement for the challenge. It's not pressure they love (because it doesn't exist), it's the 1% Mindset of choosing anticipation and fearlessness of the mental battle. They thrive on winning the fight that is process immersion vs. results thinking. Tiger and Michael learned at an early age that succumbing to the fear of "what if I fail" was death to their long term performance. They CHOSE to view each of these moments with enjoyment.

Change your mindset, change your life!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This past week, the 1% Academy was more successful than I could've imagined, primarily due to the participation we received during the evening discussions on Twitter. We covered five topics: Excuses, Pressure, Jitters, Freeing The Mind, and Fear Of The Miss. No matter the topic, one fact held true, and is what I want to talk about today.

The biggest difference between physical and mental practice is the immediate gratification you get when you do it correctly. When working on your physical game, you get automatic positive feedback when you're improving. The mental game can be much different. Although you may be improving, very often, the results won't show until much further down the road. This is very frustrating, especially if you're putting in hours and hours of practice.

We all want IT right now -- improvement, success, and the win. The physical game takes care of this craving if you're doing it correctly, because you get that immediate feedback. When you hit a good shot, you see and feel it right away. Conversely, in the mental game, when you make a good decision and stay patient with your process, the result doesn't always show it's face until later... after many more hours of persistent practice. The mental and emotional game is primarily habit-based, specifically creating new habits, eliminating the ones that held you back in the past. The only way to accomplish this is daily repetition - more than most realize.

Whether we're talking excuses, pressure, or fear of missing, the main component of your improvement will always be the decision to commit to the long term process. The details of the "how's" mean nothing if you're not completely dedicated to everything that needs to take place along the way: Failure, struggle, pain, frustration, excitement, loss, hope, passion, and even more struggle. Most people don't fully commit to mental game achievement because it's not tangible, therefore making them constantly doubt their efforts. Know in advance that the process of this journey is more difficult and time consuming than anything you've ever faced prior.

We covered five topics last week, all different in many ways, similar in some, but all under the same umbrella: The decision to commit to daily practice. Make a conscious decision that you'll commit every fiber in your body to become 1% great!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fear Of The Miss

Day 5 of the 1% Academy is here. Join us tonight 5:30-6:30 PST on Twitter to discuss today's topic. #1PercentAcademy

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quiet Your Mind...

Here's the latest from the 1% Academy. I'll be hosting a discussion on this topic 5:30-6:30p PST on Twitter at #1PercentAcademy

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1st Tee Jitters

The 1% Academy continues with our next topic. M-F evening this week, I'm hosting a discussion on Twitter, discussing the day's specific video. Join us 5:30-6:30p PST at #1PercentAcademy

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pressure ... It Doesn't Exist

The 1% Academy is going strong! Each night this week, join us on Twitter from 5:30-6:30p PST to discuss the day's video. Your link to the discussion: #1PercentAcademy

1% Academy: Excuses

I'm excited to bring you our first 1% Academy series this week. Each day, I'll present a new topic and host a discussion on Twitter, 5:30-6:30pm PST using #1PercentAcademy

Friday, January 6, 2012

1% Academy

Monday-Friday (1/9-1/13), I'll be discussing each day's topic on Twitter from 5:30-6:30p PST. Be a part of it at #1%Academy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Only You Can Decide

A student recently asked, "How do I choose excitement over the situation, rather than fear?" My answer: How did you choose your clothes this morning?

Decide ... period!

It doesn't have to be rocket science, but it does need to be chosen. I used to be a victim of this "waiting for answers" mindset. I began having next level success when I made a committed decision to keep making committed decisions!

The more you decide to be great, the easier it becomes to continue deciding. No one can teach you how to decide. There needs to be a burning desire inside your core to choose 1% over mediocrity.

Fear and doubt creep in, making it difficult for committed decisions to form, yet ironically, eliminating fear and doubt is also a choice. We're not slaves to negativity, as most believe. We control our decisions.

If not now ... when?

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Hate To Say I Told You So, But...

You don't think what you do affects your opponents? You're only playing the course? Listen to what Tiger said about his opponent when they're coming down the stretch. He's paying attention to how his opponent is acting during crucial moments. What you do CAN increase your opponent's confidence!

SImple As This...

Tiger's very last sentence says it all. Sounds simple ... not enough live it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions Not Allowed!

Happy New Year! The question usually asked next is about new year's resolutions. This question will never come out of my mouth, because I don't believe in them. It's become such a watered-down, half-hearted exploration, they don't mean anything, long term. Instead of focusing on resolutions, put your energy towards commitments. What committed decisions will you make in 2012? What type of emotion do you want to feel on a daily basis this year?

Resolutions are like diets. They're exciting at first, but slowly fade because alone, they mean nothing. Let's get rid of the middle man ... in this case, the new year's resolutions. Instead, concentrate on your motivation and plan of attack you need to create. What does your map look like? Making this your focus will keep momentum flowing towards your goals.

If you need to adjust your 2011 plan to make 2012 more efficient, that's fine ... but starting over with a new set of resolutions is a waste of energy. This type of break in the action is what kills momentum. The new year should be time of adding to the already created momentum of the past year. If you approach each January in this fashion, you'll find a much smoother transition from December.

Committed, discipline decisions will always be your key to a successful new year.