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West Chester University Women's Rugby Team Wins 2019 National Championship

Guest Author, Juah Toe, Tri -Captain West Chester Women's Rugby Team

In the past three years, I’ve learned how to play rugby, played in my first game, became a starter, captain, All-American, and eventually a National Champion.

Who would’ve thought that in three and a half years, I’d be where I am today? Definitely not 18 year old Juah!

To say you are a National Champion is the most incredible feeling in the world.

People congratulating you everywhere you go, even if they know nothing about rugby! After years of dedication to the sport, all the pieces fell into place.

This was the season of making history.

At the beginning of the season, the coaches from all the teams ranked us 5th out of  seven teams in the conference. This made us angry from the start.

We set goals and wanted to prove we are better than all those teams who thought less of us.

And we did.

We came out on top and made school history every time we stepped onto the field.

Imagine being...

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There is a Better Way

Frustration. 

That's what I hear most from employees as the enter the season of performance reviews. Frustration because some employees believe their boss "should know" about their performance. "I should not have to write my self evaluation." 

The reality is - it is your job to communicate what you are doing, how well your are doing it and what's the impact of your efforts. 

In a perfect world, there is real time coaching occurring throughout the year.  Last I checked, many of us do not work in a perfect world.  There are at least four things that can prevent real time coaching from occurring:

1.  Job change for you. You might have been promoted mid year and have a new boss who is still getting to know you in your new role. 

2.  Job change/move for your boss.  Your boss may be young in their role, may have physically transferred locations to assume the role while learning both the “what” and...

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Mental Game Coaching For Athletes

Is this for you?

Do you doubt your self? Do you crack under pressure? Do you fall short of goals? Do you have the drive but need the mind?

Improve your mental game with Great Sports Minds to achieve the success you deserve!

 

We Offer Mental Game Training Strategies to help you:

  • Overcoming High Expectations
  • Optimal Concentration
  • Superior Confidence
  • Improving Trust in Your Skills
  • Coping with Mistakes
  • Coping with Perfectionism
  • Overcoming the Need for Social Approval
  • Self-Acceptance in Sports
  • Consistent Performance
  • Pregame Preparation
  • Performing Beyond Comfort Zones
  • Coping with Pregame Jitters
  • Smart Goal Setting
  • Coping with Fear of Failure
  • Efficient Practice and Training

We help athletes and coaches who need guidance on how to uplevel their mental game so they can excel and advance to achieve their highest goals. 

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You Don't have to be Perfect to be Amazing

perfectionism Jun 06, 2019

Perfection almost killed this article. I’ve been thinking about writing about this topic for two weeks. I kept putting off getting started. I wanted it to be just right. 

Why an article on perfectionism? 

Because the desire to be perfect is one of the biggest challenges that adversely affects the performance of athletes and business professionals. It is said that perfections is the enemy of done. 

Perfectionism is often tied to unreasonably high personal expectations. Perfectionism prevents us from trusting in our skill set. In believing our effort or that “we” are enough. 

There are many positives about being a perfectionist. Perfectionist are very motivated, have a strong work ethic and are very committed to their goals. Who wouldn’t want anyone with those traits on their team?

Perfectionist also have some challenging traits. They often evaluate their performance or themselves as an A or...

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Coaching and Goal Setting in Youth Sports

When it comes to goal setting, coaching and youth sports, I have a unique perspective...

I was a Division 1 Basketball Player. I am a Youth Basketball Coach. I am a Certified Mental Game Coach and the CEO of Great Sports Minds LLC.

I work with athletes, coaches and parents to provide training to strengthen their mental game to improve their performance.

Coaching youth basketball teams over the past two seasons has given me the opportunity to weave some of my mental game training into my practices and games.

After many years of coaching, I made two significant changes to my coaching style...

First, at practice, I modified the beginning of practice to ask each player:

“What skill are you focusing  on at today’s practice?”

At the end of each practice, I ask each player:

“How was your effort? How did you do on your practice goal today?”

The quality of the practice goals set by each player improved with each practice.

  • Weak hand dribble
  • Weak hand...
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How to Let Go of Disappointments in Competition

Letting go, can be one of the hardest things for an athlete to do after experiencing a disappointment in competition. 

Over. Next.

Two words.

Two powerful words when it comes to sports and emotional control.

The play is over. Focus on the next moment.

Simple. Powerful. Yet so hard for many athletes to do.

This weekend, my daughter swam the 50 back on a 200 meter individual medley relay team...

As she touched the wall, the official did what every swimmer dreads – she raised her hand and disqualified her.

My daughter finished her leg of the race and exited the pool. I could tell from her body language that she new she was disqualified and disappointed. From her perspective, she let both herself and her team mates down.

I sent her a text and said, “Let it go. One race does not determine the next. The relay is over. Focus on your next event.”

Her swim coaches echoed the same advice.

I was so proud of what happened next...

My daughter dropped time in five of her...

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Why to Drop Expectations

Having certain expectations can get the best of us.

If curiosity killed the cat, expectations stressed the athlete...and I mean REALLY stressed the athlete.

There is a big difference between goals and expectations. 

Goals are aspirational.

Expectations are what we internalize and believe we should achieve.  When we don't achieve our expectations we may be brutal on ourselves for falling short.

Athletes often have ambitious goals and unrealistic expectations.  It's important to have goals. It's counter productive to have unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations often lead to disappointment, anger and frustration that can derail performance.

How do you know if you have unrealistic expectations?

List your expectations.  Be honest and really list them. Then do a google search to see who has actually accomplished your expectations on a consistent basis.

There are examples of some of the expectations athletes have shared with me.

  • ...
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Podcast: What is a Mental Game Coach with Ann Zaprazny on the Derek Volk Show

Listen in to find out what Mental Game Coaching is and how it can be applied to the field, office, classroom, and personal life.

On Saturday, July 28, 2018 @9am, I had the honor of being interviewed by Derek Volk on The Derek Volk Show. 

You can listen to the interview here. 

It was so great being apart of Derek's Podcast.  He's more than a talk show host, he is a respected business man, community supporter and President of Volk Packaging Corporation in Biddeford, Maine. Volk Packaging is actually the only Maine owned and operated corrugated box manufacturer since 1967! 

In this Podcast I talk about how I got into Mental Game Coaching and why I went from working in the office to work in helping athletes and coaches train their brain for success in sports. I also talk about what Mental Game Coaching is all about and the steps we go through together when someone reaches out for my Mental Game Coaching services. Mental Game Coaching is for...

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The Power of Visualization in Sports

What is Visualization?

I am believer in the power of positive visualization.

It’s a skill, that when properly embraced can build confidence and lead to success in practice, competition and life.

As a collegiate athlete in the 1980’s at the University of Delaware, we were introduced to visualization. I was not very good at it...

I was a sophomore, at a low point in my career… I went from a key contributor my freshman year to limited bench player.

My confidence was low...

Every night when I closed my eyes and tried to visualize my game, my visualization led to disappointment...

In my mind, I would enter the game, have a turnover, hear the buzzer and be pulled out of the game. No one ever checked in with me to ask how it was going and if it was working.

Today, the experiences that my athletes have with visualization are much different.

We teach what to visualize and how to do it. We don’t leave the visualization process to chance.

During the summer of 2016, I...

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