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PERFECTIONISM

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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 Frank Giampaolo

PERFECTIONISM

LESSON: The Fully Developed Human Brain

“It’s not my fault mom! My brains not fully developed…Google it…” is the go-to excuse applied by most of my students. In our seminars, we touch upon the common research regarding the limitations of a teenager’s brain. Parents, coaches, and athletes get a kick out of the neurological findings in regards to a teen’s inability to handle their emotions, planning, managing risks, and their inability to stay on task for hours through their teenage years.

Studies indicate that the human brain undergoes tremendous ‘pruning of the neurons and myelination’ (which translates to growth) through their late adolescence. While the scientific community banters over specifics, they agree that the human brain (both male and female) reaches full maturity in the early twenties.

The Institute for Highway Safety reports that teens are four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident and that’s due to their underdeveloped brains. The National Institute of Health suggests that the section of the brain that restrains risky behavior is not fully developed until the age of twenty-five. The bottom line with these interesting findings is that adolescent athletes are competing before the decision-making center of their brains are fully developed.

The moral of the story is: Cut your athletes some slack.  Don’t expect your teenager to perform perfectly because they have a pretty darn good excuse.  Instead, encourage excellence and don’t demand perfection.  Most full-grown adults I know don’t focus fully (100%) on their job while at work. They don’t put themselves on the line in national competition. They also don’t put their mind and bodies through such a rigorous growth process. Take a typical weekly schedule of a top junior athlete and my bet is that 95% of the parents couldn’t make it through the first week.

I suggest you put this book down for a moment and go give your child a hug. You are a very lucky parent!

 

“NEVER ASK FOR PERFECTION, PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION.”

 

“Focus on the progress your child has made versus always complaining
about how far they have to go.”

 

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Pre-Game Rituals and Routines

 

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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Frank Giampaolo

 

LESSON: Customized Pre-Game Rituals and Routines

Most clients attending my workshops have children with unbelievable physical talent. They come from all corners of the world with one common thread: they have failed to achieve the success they are truly capable of attaining.  Of course, the question they all want to be answered is; “Why?”

The answers are varied with the exception of one critical component. The athletes lacked a customized pre-game inflexible set of routines and rituals.

Top performers in every field share a terrific little secret. They have taken the time to develop their customized pre-game relaxation routines and rituals. Morphing a talented athlete into a competitive warrior demands the focused development of pre-match routines.

A player’s pre-game preparation demands proper periodization training, practicing in the manner in which they are expected to perform, stretching, nutrition/hydration, and positive visualization. It also requires the parents to commit to ONLY focusing on the words and actions that de-stress the player. A parental pre-game ‘de-stressing’ preparation strategy should include minimizing the importance of the event and focusing on performance goals and enjoying the moment.

 

“Great performances begin with great game day routines and rituals.”

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Is Your Athlete Organized?

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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Frank Giampaolo

 

ORGANIZATION

LESSON: Israel Tennis Centers

While consulting in Israel, I had the opportunity to train sports psychologist, tennis coaches, players and parents at several beautiful Israel Tennis Centers.

I had the privilege of meeting one extremely insightful individual heading the programs in Kiryat Shemona, Israel, named Shaul Zohar.  Shaul is an excellent coach and mentor. His teachings go beyond tennis and nurture life skills like organization, time management, scheduling, perseverance, work ethic, punctuality, and optimism, to list a few.

I sat down with his 10-13-year-old high-performance group. I threw out typical questions and surprisingly they had all the answers and then some. I asked about their weekly components:

Q: “How many hours a week do you spend on off-court tennis specific training?”
A: “2.5 hours in the gym and 3 hours doing speed and agility work,” replied Moses.

Q: “How many hours do you spend developing your primary and secondary strokes?”
A: “Four hours on the primary, 3 hours on our secondary,” said Paul.

Match play versus pushers? Pattern repetition? Designing and rehearsing your between point rituals? Handling gamesmanship? …Whatever I threw at Shaul’s group, accurate and precise answers flowed from the mouths of these young players.

Typically, when I ask these very same questions to parents, players, and coaches at my workshops, seminars, and summits the answer is… “Aaahh …What’s that?”

Customizing your child’s developmental plan and systematically organizing it is the parent’s initial job. Dropping them off at a clinic or team practice isn’t going to produce Athletic Royalty.  Parents, you should plan on making the time to manage your child’s career unless you are paying a top coach like Shaul to manage it for you.

 

“A CUSTOMIZED ORGANIZATIONAL BLUE-PRINT IS YOUR CHILD’S NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEM. IT MAXIMIZES POTENTIAL AT THE QUICKEST RATE.”

 

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CULTIVATING LIFE LESSONS

The following post is an excerpt from the Second Edition of The Tennis Parent’s Bible NOW available through most online retailers!  Click Here to Order

 Frank Giampaolo

Tennis is a terrific sport that teaches invaluable life lessons. If your athlete is training to the best of their ability and they are learning essential life skills along the way what more could you ask for? Design a customized developmental plan and maximize your athlete’s potential and enjoy the journey! Thanks, Frank

 

CULTIVATING LIFE LESSONS
Rate your athlete’s life lesson skills.

1) Self-Motivation: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2) Personal Work Ethic: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3) Positive Attitude: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4) Time Management: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5) Adaptability/Flexibility: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6) Ability to Handle Adversity: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7) Ability to Handle Stress: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8) Courage: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
9) Competitiveness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
10) Discipline: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11) Accepting Responsibility: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
12) Self Esteem/Confidence: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
13) Independence: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
14) Perseverance: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
15) Setting Priorities: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
16) Goal Setting: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
17) Sticking to Commitments: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
18) Determination: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
19) Problem Solving Skills: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
20) Resiliency: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

List your Top 3 Cultivating Life Lessons issues to solve this year?

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Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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MISTAKE MANAGEMENTfrank-at-melbourne

LESSON: Why Asking Your Kid to Give 110% Is Wrong

Gloria and her daughter Jenny were in the process of hiring a new full-time private coach. Like cartons of milk, often coaches have expiration dates. They all have a bag of developmental tricks and once you’ve heard them over and over again and your growth has stalled, it may be time to move on.

During our phone consultation, Gloria mentioned their current coach was stuck on the singular, component of perfect fundamentals. His motto was “Get your fundamentals down 110% and that alone will be enough to take home the gold.” Gloria said, “The problem is that Jenny can perform brilliantly in practice, but comes unglued in real events.”

I completely understood and let Gloria know that Jenny is suffering from a very common and curable poor developmental plan.  Although Jenny could be 110% fundamentally perfect in practice, real competition introduces additional physical, mental and emotional forces resulting in performance anxieties.

Gloria agreed that Jenny gets extremely nervous and fearful before competition. As we talked, she shared that Jenny’s over arousal leads to overthinking, tight muscle contractions, less fluid movements, hesitations and silly routine mistakes that do not exist in practice. I asked Gloria to begin talking to Jenny about changing her attempts to be 110% perfect with simply trying to be only 90% excellent. This will allow Jenny to accept tiny performance flaws and quickly move on. Knowing that you don’t need to be perfect every day and can still be a champion is very de-stressing.

Focusing on excellent performances allows you to leave perfection behind. Asking a child to be 110% (better than perfect every time) seems rather silly and unattainable, doesn’t it?  In essence, her old coach had great intentions but was actually psychologically setting Jenny up for consistent failure.  With that in mind, Gloria began to look for a mental and emotional expert coach to assist Jenny with the next stage in her career.

Remember parents, performers and athletes should seek consistent excellent performances, not consistent perfect performances.

 

“Game day performance logs are an excellent way to identify strengths and weaknesses.”

 

 

 

 

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Customizing A Developmental Plan

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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 Raising Athletic Royalty

GOAL SETTING

LESSON: You Get What You Pay For

Dr. Chang Lee practices medicine in Los Angeles. His son Ken enjoys the game of golf and is on the local high school golf team. Ken is a junior and again missed the cut for varsity; he was sent back to the JV squad for another year. Ken wants to play golf for a major university and is seeing his dreams slip away.

Dr. Lee and Ken made the drive down to Laguna to do our three-hour Customized Evaluation Session. After the cordial chatting, we get into the details of Raising Athletic Royalty. Within 15 minutes a reoccurring theme starts to appear. Dr. Lee has Ken in a golf clinic two days a week at his country club. The one-hour clinics consist of 18 junior golfers ranging from the age of 9-17.

The clinic is marketed to be taught by the club’s golf director, an X-PGA player, but it is really run by his two assistant pros. In reality, Ken gets access to the range and a 9-1 ratio of player to pro for two hours a week.

I explained that range hitting isn’t “practicing in the manner in which your expected to perform.” It’s simply block learning being applied in a game that requires very different flexible skill sets. The type of grass, length of grass, the slope of the lie and the weather are just a few variables that must be addressed in the game of golf. Managing performance pressure, club selection, focus control and reading the course all play a part in Ken’s ability to shoot a low score. Besides, I added, even if Ken was only focusing on a fundamentally correct swing, a 9-1 ratio clinic for two hours a week isn’t going to maximize potential at the quickest rate.

Once I got Dr. Lee’s attention, we ran through Ken’s evaluation package. It turns out that even though Dr. Lee is very educated and successful; his raising athletic royalty skills were below par (no pun intended).

Dr. Lee thought that by placing his son, Ken, into the golf director’s group clinic at their country club, that Ken would get the proper training for a collegiate golf career.  However, the clinic was not providing Ken with the essential components needed to attain elite athletic stature. Such components would include: organizing a personalized developmental plan, assisting with stroke mechanics, arranging practice rounds, strength training sessions, scheduling tournaments, helping with equipment preparation etc. Ironically, the golf director didn’t even know Ken’s name.

Towards the end of our session Ken said, “Dad, it makes sense now, if putting is the worst part of my game, hitting drives and irons off the mats for two hours a week isn’t even addressing my biggest flaw! We have been wasting so much time.”

We customized a developmental plan and shed light on the essential components that needed to be developed in Ken’s game. A goal without a plan is just a dream.

FYI: Parents, if your child is only attending a few private lessons or group clinics each week, please don’t assume that a world-class developmental plan is in the works. Also, please don’t expect high-level results.

 

 

“Achieving Goals Requires Flexibility And Compromise.”

 

“Goals Should Be Beyond Your Current Reach Yet Realistic and Under A Timeline.”

 

 

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ERRORS

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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Raising Athletic Royalty

LESSON: Parental Pre-Game Sabotage

Jake is a 12-year-old all-star soccer player out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He’s got serious skills and should be every coach’s dream. Sadly, he’ll never make the all-stars, the high school squad or play NCAA ball.  His issue is his father. When Jake and his dad get out of their car before the game, the coaches cringe as his teammate’s positive attitudes sink like lead balloons.

Mr. Cantanoli, Jakes dad, is stuck in the 1960’s old school Drill Sergeant mold. He believes that his high-stress level presence is actually needed and is helping.  Before each game, age-old parental blunders spew out of Mr. Cantanoli’s mouth.

“Let’s go! We HAVE to win today!”; “Losing isn’t an option”; “Hey coach, make’em do 20 more push-ups for smiling & laughing!; This isn’t a joke!”; “I want a perfect 12-0 season!” ; “No one should score on us!…NO ONE!”; “We don’t lose… EVER!”

Within minutes, Jake and his teammates seem totally dazed and confused on the field. They hesitate, make mindless errors, they don’t trust their training or their teammates, they are not synchronized, they are so petrified to make an error and get reprimanded by Mr.Cantanoli, that they are frozen with fear.

Why? The answer lies in the sadly uninformed Mr. Cantanoli and his poor advice.

In order to achieve great outcomes, players need to de-stress, relax and only focus on their performance goals. Topics like: the job description of their field positions, seeing the field (broad vision skills), solid dribbling and passing, running the pre-set patterns and the actual plays developed in practice. The players need to focus on their offensive and defensive responsibilities. What they don’t need is the irrelevant clutter that Mr. Cantanoli is actually putting in their heads right before the game.

All of the terrific performance goals that the coaches spend weeks to perfect get lost in channel capacity when Mr. Cantanoli pulls the player’s thoughts away from their task at hand- which is to only focus on their performance goals.

Jake eventually loses interest in playing soccer because of his father’s negative behavior. Unfairly, Jake gets all the blame and is labeled a quitter by his dad. If your child read this story would he/she relate? Parents of today’s athletes need to be educated about the proper protocols of sports psychology.

 

“In most sports, there are two types of errors. Forced and unforced. The trick, of course, is to systematically cut out the unforced.”

 

“Spotting errors is a nice start. Spotting the cause of those errors is even better.”

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Importance of Nutrition and Hydration

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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 Raising Athletic Royalty

NUTRITION AND HYDRATION

LESSON: Running on Empty

It is 7:00 am at the Riviera Tennis Club in Palm Springs, California.  The top tennis players from around the country arrived last night for the first round of the prestigious National Championships.

Walking through a hall of the west wing of the hotel and I can hear Leslie through their door, “Mom…STOP!!! I’m not hungry. Stop forcing me to eat! I’m too nervous. I don’t feel hungry!” This has been an on-going pre-match battle for Leslie and her mom Carol and this time would prove catastrophic.

Trying her best to avoid an emotional battle right before Leslie’s match, Carol gives up on her job of making sure Leslie is prepared for a three hour battle in the blazing Palm Springs heat. “So much for your nutrition and hydration requirements… I give up”, cries Carol.

The first match on Court 7 went to three tough sets so Leslie begins her scheduled 9:00 am match around 10:00 am. Leslie, being a top seed and a far superior athlete jumps out to a commanding 6-2 first set lead. Midway through the second set her wheels fall off. Leslie can’t seem to focus; her body feels uncoordinated and shaky. She complains of feeling dizzy like she’s going to faint.  Leslie begins to make unforced errors left and right. She drops the second set 4-6. At the start of the critical third set, the time is now 11:30 am. Leslie hasn’t fueled her body since last night’s dinner at 6:30 pm, which was 16 hours ago.

Guess who goes down in flames losing the third set 1-6? You got it-Leslie! Her disappointing first-round loss was directly related to her stubbornness to fuel her body properly.

 

“The ultimate athletic goal with respect to nutrition is to maintain a healthy balanced diet day in and day out with special attention to proper nutrition prior, during and after competition.”

 

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EMOTIONAL SKILL SETS- Replacement Theory

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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EMOTIONAL SKILL SETS

LESSON: The Replacement Theory

Zoe is a gifted basketball player. She’s wired with great hands. Sports scientists call her body type: fine motor skill dominate. Her father John played NCAA D-3 ball 25 years ago and is her personal coach. He had thrown in the towel on her basketball career because he felt she didn’t have what it took. John said, “I point out to her everything that she’s doing wrong but she never fixes it!” John demanded Zoe do everything his way, despite the fact that they had opposing personality profiles and body types.

At the eleventh hour, Zoe’s mom brought her to see me,

After completing our initial evaluation session it was clear to me that her weakest component was stamina, not just physical, but mental and emotional stamina.

When Zoe got winded, her movement and spacing got sloppy and she went off script with her low percentage shot and passing selections because she was too winded to stay in the moment. More importantly, her emotions went volatile. Zoe confided in me that her parents tell her each day that she has to lose weight. Several coaches told her the same thing. So why didn’t she? Unfortunately, she was told the problem multiple times but never the solution to the problem.

After I watched a video clip of her game day performance, we went to the clubhouse. I grabbed two ice teas and we sat on the couch and customized a plan.  I helped Zoe understand that she didn’t need another coach to teach her fundamentals. She actually needed to replace the outdated training regimens and poor eating habits with a customized developmental plan and new healthy eating habits.

The solution lies in understanding that just saying STOP to most problems simply doesn’t work. The key is to replace the bad habits with powerful new good habits.

Zoe proceeded to make a detailed list of everything she ate for the past week. We systematically swapped those meals and snacks with healthier choices. Within 6 weeks Zoe dropped her initial 20 lbs. Along with that, her new deliberate training cleaned up her flaws and her attitude improved as well. She worked her brand new customized developmental plan weekly. Six months later, Zoe was about 40 lbs. lighter and honored with the teams most improved player award.

This replacement theory works wonders for the emotional components found in high-performance sports. Just telling your youngster to stop being negative without replacing the situation with a new positive approach simply doesn’t work. Negatives don’t just stop cold turkey because we spot them; negatives must be systematically replaced by positive new habits. Successful athletes are solution oriented and not problem oriented.

 

“THE CURE USED TO DEFEAT REOCCURRING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS IS TO REPLACE THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS WITH OPTIMISTIC THOUGHTS. JUST SAYING STOP DOES NOT WORK IN THE LONG RUN.”

 

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COMMITMENT

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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 Raising Athletic Royalty

COMMITMENT

LESSON: Junior Failures or Parental Failures?

Mrs. Azoula brought her 13-year-old daughter Erin down from Los Angeles for an evaluation. She and her husband shared an interesting opinion regarding sports development. They believed Erin should be doing everything for herself because it was her dream. They would pay for one private lesson a week and the rest was up to Erin. They then became very frustrated when Erin began falling drastically behind the rest of the junior high players.

As our session got underway, we discussed the job description of the parents of athletic royalty. Mrs. Azoula was quick to realize that her daughter’s failures were actually parental failures.

Developing an NCAA D-1 athlete takes the full-time commitment of a primary parent to manage the entourage of coaches, trainers, schedules, equipment, practice partners and logistics. No child becomes top in their field without help. Worldly examples include Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Maria Sharapova, Michelangelo, Mozart, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Rory McIlroy, Taylor Swift and Andre Agassi. The secret behind most phenoms is a full-time parental figure. High-performance success requires a developmental plan managed by a primary parent and/or a hired expert.

 

“Commit to the fact that practice doesn’t always make perfect, but deliberate
customized practice makes excellence.”

 

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