“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”
John Wooden

Friday, April 24, 2015


By Courtney Thompson on March 30, 2015

Olympics Day 11 - Volleyball
Courtney Thompson #17 of the United States sets the ball as Prisilla Altagracia Rivera Brens #14 of the Dominican Republic watches during Women's Volleyball quarterfinals on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Earls Court on August 7, 2012 in London, England.
(Elsa/Getty Images Europe)
Most of us respond to fatigue by getting frustrated and feeling bad for ourselves. We let our fatigue take us out of our game and into a mindset that isn’t helpful to us or our team.
Luckily, I have a few tips you can use to help get out of that destructive thought pattern and back to focusing on becoming the best athlete you can be. It may sound harsh, but here are



The fact of the matter is you play a team game, even if it’s an individual sport, and as a teammate one of your jobs is to serve your team, to do whatever it takes to make the teambetter. Doing so requires selflessness and a commitment every single day you show up.
If you’re tired, if you’re sore, if you’re sick, you have to choose to not let that stop you and move past it. In that moment, it doesn’t matter how you ‘feel’ because it’s not about you; it’s about making the team the best it can be. In order to do that you have to show up every day with the intention of giving it everything you have.
Put the team ahead of your ‘feelings’ and get it done!


As athletes, we’re in a perpetual state of becoming. There is no finish line; even if you win the championship one year, your training for the next year will quickly follow. The only way to truly improve, learn, and take your game to the next level is to push the limits.
Pushing the limits can be physically, mentally, and/or emotionally tough, but that’s the beauty of sports! Pushing those limits on a daily basis is necessary to become the best version of you. It’s inevitable that in pursuit of your best YOU, you’re going to get tired, so change your attitude towards fatigue. When you feel tired and want to stay in bed—or just want to get through practice without giving it your all—remember that this is what you work for, this is what all champions feel when they’re trying to reach their full potential.
In short: embrace your fatigue. No one said success would be easy.


You train the brain to perform just like you train your muscles. We’ve all had days where you feel more tired than usual and in that moment you have a choice: you can marinate in those negative thoughts (‘It’s too hard’, ‘There’s no way I can do this’, ‘I didn’t sleep at all’, ‘I’m not feeling my best’, et cetera) OR you can take a long, deep breath, reconnect with yourself, and start thinking right. You can choose to put your energy and your thoughts on something that will help you rather than something that will distract you.
You’re an athlete. Being tired is a part of that, so accept it and move on.  Choose to think about what you need to do to help the team in that moment.
Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why “Clean Eating” is a Myth

By Armi Legge

Grilled Filet Mignon with Herb Butter & Texas Toast

Your favorite foods are poisoning you.
Even foods that you thought were safe are actually destroying your health, making you fat, and shortening your life.
That’s what you’ve been taught to believe.
If there’s one mistaken idea that’s become more embedded in the fitness and health industry than any other, it’s that certain foods are bad for you.
This myth is so entrenched that it’s promoted by everyone from gym rats to doctors to public health authorities.
Most diet books are based on the idea that “bad” foods will keep you from losing weight or slow your progress.
There’s no doubt that what you eat can have a massive impact on your health, performance, and body composition. However, there’s no evidence you can’t achieve all of these things while still enjoying any food you like.

Clean Eating Doesn’t Exist

These are the words people use to describe foods they believe you should eat. On the other hand, these are the words for foods you should not eat:
“Double-plus un-good.” (1984, 1)
The biggest problem with the idea of “clean eating” is that “clean” has no objective definition. Everyone believes different foods are “unclean.”
Vegetarians: Animal meat.
Vegans: All animal products.
Bodybuilders: Milk, fruit, and white bread.
Paleo: Grains, legumes, dairy, refined oils, added salt, sugar, alcohol, and some vegetables.
USDA/United States Government: Saturated fat, cholesterol, red meat, eggs, trans-fats.
Low-carb: Sugar and other carbs.
Hippies: Artificial sweeteners, processed foods, cooked foods, packaged foods, BPA.
It’s safe to say that for every food, there’s someone saying it’s dangerous.
There’s no way to define clean eating, which means there’s no way to measure or quantify what effect this concept might have on your health. There’s also no way to objectively compare a “clean diet” to other diets.
Throughout this article, I’ll use examples from all of these categories and let you decide which group I’m referring to.
The one thing these ideas have in common is that there are “bad” foods that should be avoided or limited, and “good” foods that you can eat. This broad definition can be further classified into two forms.

The Two Kinds of Clean Eating

  1. There are good and bad foods, and you should never eat any of the bad foods.
  2. There are good and bad foods, and you should only eat a small number of the bad foods to limit the damage.
In this article, you’ll learn why both of these ideas are irrational, unscientific, and unhealthy.
We’ll start by looking at the three potential ways a food could decrease your health, lifespan, or body composition. Then we’ll see if any foods actually meet these criteria for being “unhealthy.”

Why There are No Good or Bad Foods

There are three ways a food could negatively affect your health, longevity, or body composition.
1/. Contributing to a caloric excess which leads to negative health problems from being overweight.(2)
2/. Causing nutrient deficiencies by diluting the nutrient density of your diet.(3)
3/. Directly interfering with your body’s functions, causing specific diseases, increasing fat gain, or accelerating aging.
Let’s see if any foods meet these criteria.

Excess Calories Can be Bad for You — From Any Food

There is no evidence that any food will cause more fat gain than the excess calories it provides. There is also no evidence that eating a certain food will help you lose fat.
Fat loss is ultimately about calories in versus calories out.
Any food that has calories can technically be bad for you — if consumed in excess.
This includes chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and even vegetables. The reason many people consider these “clean foods” is because they tend to be harder to overeat than things like cookies or ice cream.
For this reason, some people refer to things like sweets, baked goods, soda, and other junk food as “fattening.”
This is an inaccurate and myopic viewpoint. It assumes that you will over-eat these foods — regardless of the rest of your diet.
If your diet has enough satiating power to keep you satisfied and happy, then there’s nothing wrong with also consuming some less-filling indulgences. This idea also assumes that people can’t moderate their food intake,which they can.
For some people, eating enough to gain or maintain their weight can be a struggle.(4-6) In these cases, higher calorie/more palatable foods can be extremely useful for meeting their calorie needs — not to mention being more enjoyable. Yet you don’t find people saying ice cream and cookies are life-saving for an anorexic, or muscle building for someone who’s trying to get bigger.
People look at these foods in isolation and assume they’re unhealthy regardless of the context.
Remember these two points:
  1. The potential to over-consume a food does not mean that you will.
  2. Some people need to eat more — and higher calorie, more palatable, and less filling foods can be an advantage — even a necessity.
However, you’re also concerned with your long-term health. You want to make sure you’re giving your body everything it needs to perform optimally, and you don’t want to deprive your body of essential nutrients.

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Four Biggest Problems in Youth Sports Today

By John O'Sullivan
April 2015
When you run an organization such as the Changing the Game Project, you hear many youth sports stories from parents, coaches, and players. Some stories are absolutely heartbreaking, others inspiring.
Recently I encountered the absurd.
Many of us have seen the news about a volleyball player from Washington DC who was taking her playing time issues off the court, and into the courts. The article, which originally appeared in the Washington Post and can be read here, detailed the story of Audrey Dimitrew, a 16 year-old from Virginia whose family sued the Chesapeake Region Volleyball Association (CHRVA) to force them to let her move to another team in the league. It seems she was not getting the “promised” playing time at her club and she wanted a change, but the league would not allow it.
The article has elicited all kinds of opinions on parenting, spoiled children, bad coaching, and ridiculous rules and regulations in youth sports leagues. It brought up talk of the Philadelphia dad who was suing for $40 million because his son got cut from the track team, and the Dallas father who brought a racketeering suit against a lacrosse camp. They are a reflection of so much of what is wrong in youth sports today.
But can all these wrongs finally make it right, and encourage the sensible people stand up and be heard?
This situation in Virginia brings to light four major problems that are destroying youth sports and must be dealt with. They are:
Problem #1: Parents who won’t let the game belong to kids
Why did mom and dad bring a lawsuit? Because they wanted to get their daughter noticed by college coaches. Well, mission accomplished, every college volleyball coach in the country now knows who your daughter is…and I bet the majority just crossed her name off their recruiting list.
You don’t sue and waste precious taxpayer time and money because your child is not getting playing time. Your daughter says she isn’t even sure she wants to play college volleyball! Mom also wrote to the coach, “It is important that she plays, and plays the position you offered her of setter as that is the position she plays in high school.” Really? You don’t get to tell a coach where your kid plays. Just be a parent, let the coach be the coach, and let the game belong to your child. The parents in this case have taken a teachable moment and ruined it. As Bruce Brown of Proactive Coaching says, “Release your child to the game!”
Problem #2: Athletes need to OWN their decisions, both good and bad
We need to put an end to the helicopter and lawnmower parents, those who mow down all the obstacles for their kids, and give ownership to the athletes. This is a case where a player made a poor decision on team selection. Many athletes make bad decisions or face trying circumstances, but then choose to live with their decision and get better because of it. While I believe every athlete picked should have the opportunity to play, that does not mean an athlete cannot ask himself “what is good about this?”
When players quit a team solely over playing time or position issues, they lose an opportunity to learn. Even without getting playing time, a player working with a great coach should be improving every day in practice. She could be pushing herself to get better, and earn playing time instead of expecting it. She could find other ways to contribute. Don’t just walk away because the going got tough.
Great athletes love the game, work hard and improve everyday, and the rest takes care of itself.College coaches recruit players because they are good players, good people, good students and good teammates, not because they happened to see you in 10th grade.
Problem #3: Coaches who fail to respect the kids and the sport, and ignore the massive impact they have on athletes’ lives
Sadly there are many coaches who do not belong working with children. I am not saying that is the case here, but it is the case in many places. Winning does not make for a great coach. Being a great role model and leader for your young athletes, teaching character and life lessons, caring about your athletes, and coaching a child not a sport, those things make for a great coach.
Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below: