Fear of Failure vs. Mentally Strong and Confident

20 03 2017

As a parent I have never really feared my kids physical abilities and skills to compete in the sports they have been in. My greatest fears have centered around their mental skills.

It is their failure that I fear.

I often wonder what will happen to their self esteem, confidence and overall well being if they fail. In an attempt to avoid having to see this outcome I have OVER USED encouragement and pep talks to do anything I can to PROTECT THEM from the possible fallout of experiencing failure.

It never occurred to me that FAILURE, STRUGGLE and DISCOURAGEMENT was actually the “game they needed to win.” Rarely was I concerned with wins and losses. MY CENTRAL CONCERN and point of interest and ANXIETY was EMBARRASSMENT. I did not want to see my kids get embarrassed. I equated the possibility of failing with them being embarrassed. I believe that this is what drives most parents in their interactions with their youth athletes.

THEN IT HIT ME…

What if I EMPOWERED, TRAINED AND TAUGHT THEM to UTILIZE these moments to GROW and STRENGTHEN?

What if I grew in my assurance that they were STRONG, RESILIENT, CREATIVE, and MENTALLY SKILLED?

THEN I COULD REST AND BE AT PEACE!!!

As a result, I created Stay In The Sport Zone!

Do you want to get a jump start on your MENTAL SKILL TRAINING?

Do you get confused about where to go to begin your training?

Do you want to learn from someone that has many years of experience coaching and training youth athletes to improve their mental skills?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then Stay In The Sport Zone is for you!

Stay In The Sport Zone is an online, non-threatening coaching program you can do in the privacy of your own home. I personally will lead you through (6) powerful mental skill teachings that will propel you forward in the pursuit of a STRONGER MIND!

Each video coaching module provides a step-by-step approach on how to build these vital sport-zone skills:

MODULE 1: Moving from Frustration to Fire
MODULE 2: Building Laser Focus
MODULE 3: Becoming Unshakably Confident
MODULE 4: Peak Performance Practice
MODULE 5: Powerless to Empowered
MODULE 6: Moving Beyond Your Fear of Failure

Here is what is being said about this program:

“This email is to THANK YOU for your great video series Stay in the Sport Zone, I spoke with you on what you offer athletes for working on building their mental skills. After hearing all the options we ended up going with the online “Stay in the Sport Zone” online program where my kids could work at their pace and even revisit different concepts.

I don’t think I could possibly convey to you in an email what a big difference, in a positive way, your online program made to my daughter this senior season of her high school career. It was pretty amazing! We’ve always thought she had many athletic tools but for the first time, I think EVER, she was a very composed and confident athlete even when she had a few minor set backs. It was such fun to watch her all season long and admire the personal growth she made. She made some big goals for herself…. and she accomplished them. Knowing this kid — this came down to her finding something she’d never had before and that was truly a mental edge. She ended up accomplishing LIFETIME best time in her event (by a lot, after 2 years of a plateau) and making individual All – State which was the biggest deal ever to her. She diligently and completely (on her own) used your program all season and grew as an athlete. It was obvious to me she connected with the concepts and used them to grow and enjoyed the process. She enjoyed her season so much she’s planning to continue in college.

Just want to say thank you for having that program available!!

It’s made a huge difference to a kid who has now wrapped up her high school career in a sport she has put so much time into, in the most positive outcome we could have hoped for. THANK YOU!”

Parent of a Stay In The Sport Zone Client

“Working with Shaun has been an incredible opportunity. I started meeting with Shaun as a freshman in high school, and little did I know that moment would change my life forever. I was ecstatic to begin my journey with Mental Edge and boost my athletic performance by working on my mental game. Shaun not only taught me strategies of how to become more mentally tough on court, but also how to be a supportive teammate and compassionate person. He’s by far one of the most incredible, kind, and generous people I’ve ever met and I’m lucky to have him in my life.”

Student Athlete

Go ahead and get registered for this life-changing video coaching and I’ll see you on the other side to get started!

Shaun

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The Unsung Hero

22 02 2016

28well-bullycoach-tmagArticleIn the world of sports we have become obsessed with those that hoist trophies, win scoring titles and are the face of the latest Nike or Under Armour commercial. However, I have learned that there is a class of athlete that will most likely go virtually unnoticed, unrecognized and at times even ostracized.  For the sake of confidentiality I will not name the athlete(s) that I am basing this article on, but the inspiration for this article comes from an actual series of true stories.

I am writing to give these athletes respect and a voice.

The season begins with all of the excitement that comes with a new beginning. The off-season training, which requires significant sacrifice, hard work, and focus is now in the books and coaches speak of an “equal playing field” to compete for playing time. Coaches say things like: “IF you work hard you will be given an opportunity to contribute.” Optimism is high because the hard work has resulted in a stronger, more explosive body as well as, a  set of refined skills. However, what will transpire over the following months is nothing less then devastating!!

The season begins and over time the favoritism  becomes obvious as the pecking order is already well established. Entitlement and privilege under girds the environment while players without scholarships, draft status or a powerful enough network are given messages that if evaluated outside of the sport would be nothing short of abusive. Many coaches send verbal and non-verbal messages that  show very little respect for the heart, soul and mind of these athletes that have given their all in pursuit of their dream.

Yet these UNSUNG HEROES continue to pursue their dream with vigilance, passion, focus, and belief without even a taste of humanity from the coaches that espouse being in the sport to develop young people, a community of connection and long-term skills for success.

What keeps these athletes going?

HEART. STRENGTH. COMMITMENT. DETERMINATION. BELIEF. PRIDE.

These are UNSUNG HEROES!!! I cannot think of anything that is more WORTHY of our respect and honor than recognizing the many young men and women that have the courage to pursue their dream with this kind of vigilance and courage.

This is what champions of LIFE are made of!

To those that fit the criteria listed in this article I say, “You are worthy of the highest of awards. THE UNSUNG HERO award. I hope each of you has a person highlighting these amazing qualities in you and honoring you for the character and determination that is nothing short of amazing!!! My everlasting respect goes with you!!”

The world of sports is filled with great mentors and coaches.

However, if you are a coach that is treating those you are privileged to coach with anything less than the respect you would give to your own children, then please get out of the sport!!!

We owe it to those that are giving their all to apply the best practices of coaching in their pursuit and ours.





Hard Work is Over Rated

4 06 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 9.30.45 PMYou may have looked at the title of this blog and wondered, who is this crazy person that thinks success can come in any other way but through HARD WORK. I am not here to deny or debate the value of hard work. However, what I do want to highlight is that it takes a lot more than HARD WORK to experience and enjoy success. In fact, the work part of success is in my mind the lowest common denominator.  This topic is important to me because, (over the years and thousands of athlete interviews later) I believe we have taken the concept of hard work and exhausted its effectiveness. Go to any sporting event where young people are participating and someone: a coach, a parent, or now even other players will speak about the importance of work ethic and instead of the message coming from a place of inspiration, passion, and deeply held motivation and purpose it is almost a form of punishment and condemnation. It sounds like this: “Lets make sure we come with our lunch pale and outwork the other team.” When interviewed, many coaches start with talking about work ethic as though this is always the differentiating dynamic in wins and losses. In other venues, school, work, and relationships we bring the same focus to HARD WORK.

Like I said I am not in any way denying that work ethic isn’t valuable and a powerful contributor to success in all arenas of life. But, is it possible that we are losing some other very important SUCCESS FACTORS because we have obsessed with work ethic for SO LONG?

It would be fair to ask the question: What are some other important SUCCESS PRINCIPLES we should speak of instead?

Strategy: Energy without a plan or set of principles to focus that energy leaves many frustrated and without any capacity to evaluate and most importantly learn. When we highlight HARD WORK we often spend little to no time teaching the value of how to DIRECT and FOCUS that hard work to get a certain result. This is why when I ask athletes participating across multiple sports, “what is the key to success?”, often the only answer is WORK HARD. When people bring great work ethic to a challenge or competition with a substandard or non-existent strategy losing, disappointment, deep doubt, and discouragement are not far away.

Contribution Clarity: We all have more to offer a situation then simply going “ALL OUT.” When faced with challenges this is where we should be looking for our UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION. In other words, what was I able to CONTRIBUTE that is CLEAR to me! Often times we de-personalize contribution by putting it into the HARD WORK category. When athletes know what their teammates and coaches are counting on from them within a strategy designed to bring success, engagement and motivation is often higher. Success can then be shared at much deeper levels.

Adjustments: When studying those that are often consistently successful, what we learn is that adjustments are often a big part of this. Breaking down the nature of adjustments we realize that in order to make a helpful adjustment you need to start with a strategy, clarify roles and expectations, then observe how things are playing out to determine an adjustment that increases the probability of success. Unfortunately, most of the time the approach is not to make adjustments but WORK HARDER!! This often leads to greater frustration, discouragement, and a feeling of hopelessness.

Strategy, Clear Contribution Markers and Adjustments created from observation are not only powerful success factors but can be applied to any situation in life. Because of our obsession with HARK WORK we are not teaching our young people to add these valuable principles to their skill sets and because of this I believe we are not as successful as we could be individually and as teams.

Lets break our addiction to HARD WORK as the end all of success and get creative and committed to applying these other success principles. We might find that HARD WORK may actually increase within the growth of these other principles.





Communities that Unleash Kids for Success

11 09 2014

It is no secret that people thrive and exhibit moments of greatness when they are engaged and firmly rooted in a safe physical and emotional environment. I am compelled to write on this topic because there is not a day that goes by where I am not Who's Got Your Backhearing about some young person that is emotionally bruised, hurt, or devastated because of the social environment they are in.

THIS HAS TO STOP!

This writing is not intended to analyze all of the breakdowns that lead to an unsafe emotional environment. There are plenty of much smarter analysts that have written and exposed those much more effectively than I can. Rather, I would like to envision a type of community that we could aspire to provide for our young people. This community, whether it be a sports team, classroom, church group, or neighborhood, could be the most powerful asset present in a young person and families life.

I envision a community that is built first and foremost on acceptance. Acceptance is the life source that unleashes courage, self expression, belonging, and a sense of unconditional love. The type of acceptance I am referring to is actively, diligently, and ferociously protected at all costs. When someone says something that compromises the sense of acceptance of anyone present it is gracefully but intentionally dealt with. Acceptance is like soul food for the heart and soul of a young person. When ones sense of acceptance is not in question miracles of self expression happen. Fear of rejection is minimized, bullying is not tolerated and the hearts of young people are protected with fierceness and loyalty.

I envision a community where people are fully present. Imagine watching your kids learn how to start, grow, and maintain friendships. Friendship only grows when people learn how to become fully present and authentically interested in each other. I believe that we would see the hearts and souls of our young people come alive if they were able to EXPERIENCE THIS! The hearts of our young people are craving a touch from another loving, caring and present soul. Have you ever wondered why so many kids are “acting out” these days. I believe it is because the hearts of our young people are starving for authentic connections with others. In the absence of this the soul cries out in ways that seek to get the attention of those that can do something about it. A community of acceptance fueled with fully present people would literally perform miracles for many hurting kids.

I envision a community where young people are pursued with passion, fueled by the possibility another sees in them. Pursuit is powerful. We all like to be sought out, chosen and believed in. When people are taught to be and act like this with each other our young people actually end up becoming difference makers in each others lives. A community, team, group, or neighborhood that makes this type of social environment a necessity, rather than an after thought, will give each family and young person a gift of a life time.

Let me give you one other thing to consider:

You can watch exceptionally talented athletes at young ages, listen to musical talent from young people that will bring you to tears on The Voice, and Google the latest business idea that came from a 14 year old…imagine training and equipping more young people with the capacity to become difference makers socially with each other.

IT CAN BE DONE!

I HAVE DONE IT!

Look at “Who’s Got Your Back? Team Experience 1.0 Building and growing groups that transform one another.”

ACCEPTANCE, PRESENCE and PURSUIT actively executed with courage, conviction and consistency is a game changer. Let’s take this vision and make it a reality for our young people. Lives will be changed and transformed forever!

You wonder if I am right? Ask the parents that lay in bed at night wondering if their son or daughter is going to go another year without friends or experience some form of rejection the next time they go to practice or school.





Triggers for Growth

2 06 2014

StruggleParticipation in sports provides a great opportunity to test the waters of competition, overcome challenges and manage change. Growing through these dynamics is a must if one is to maximize the opportunity in front of them. Often, athletes train to improve skills, work hard to improve strength and speed, however, they neglect the training that is required to grow through the resistance, discomfort and disappointment that competition brings.

Success in a competitive environment not only requires the evolution and mastery of skills, but also, the capacity to work together with others, receive feedback and coaching, manage and experience discouragement, struggle, and disappointment. Because competition creates environments where equally skilled and talented athletes seek to test their skills against each other, challenge becomes a  consistent theme in the life of an athlete accompanied by change. Change happens because situations may dictate that athletes be asked to fulfill different roles and these roles may be different than what has been experienced prior. All this is to say that the landscape of sports INCLUDES the opportunity to COMPETE, as well as, manage and grow through CHALLENGE and CHANGE. Unfortunately, growth does not just happen. Athletes need to be equipped with strategies in order to grow through these 3 C’s.

To that end I offer these (3) triggers for growth:

The first trigger is to work to develop a more effective PERSPECTIVE. Our perspective can become lazy, unfocused and under developed. Much like a physical skill without continued focus and work it can begin to lag behind as others are moving forward and gaining greater mastery. Your perspective should always be a focus of improvement. Here are (3) questions you can ask yourself in order to improve and strengthen the quality of your perspective:

  1. How can I use the circumstances I am currently dealing with to get better?
  2. What is my picture of success and what do I have to do to create the picture?
  3. Say to yourself: I know I can take any situation and turn it into a stepping stone of success.

When athletes pay attention to their PERSPECTIVE and actively seek to improve and strengthen it they are better able to GROW through competition, challenge and change.

The second trigger is to be INTENTIONAL.  Too many athletes live in fear and therefore, hold back because of the fear of failing. Nobody, exhibits power in their life without first understanding the importance of being intentional or on purpose. What this means is to begin each day with an internal picture and design about how you want the day to go. Facing competition, challenge and change insists that you move boldly towards it seeking to have an intentional stamp that you leave on the situation you are in.

Train yourself to think in this manner:

  • Next time I face that situation I am going to_______.
  • When I face that challenge in the future this is how I am going to approach and it________.

These types of statements put you in a place of power to affect the situation you are in and give you an incredible advantage.

The third trigger is to embrace the power of STRUGGLE. Put bluntly, struggle is where strength is created. Have you ever seen an athlete go into the gym and lift air? Why? Air provides no resistance and would keep us weak and underdeveloped. Growth truly requires us to embrace struggle so that we can be strengthened through it. To do this will require you to change your mind about struggle so that you are not interpreting struggle as a symptom of failure but a platform for future growth and success.

These triggers will add great value and benefit to you as you seek to grow through competitive moments, the challenges that come from competition, as well as, the change that often results from being involved in sports.

Let’s begin to actively and intentionally train ourselves to not simply be stronger physically but to match the mental skills needed to grow through any circumstance or situation.

This is when we truly become GREAT!