Instilling Grit and How To SHOW UP.

GehrigEvalsLast night I had a pretty cool opportunity to teach my 12-year old son a little about grit, and the importance of showing up. His 3rd & final round of ice hockey player evaluations was set for 7:50 PM. He performed really well in the first two rounds. I was proud of his effort and focus.

He was hit with some adversity.
He stayed home from school yesterday after getting sick in the middle of the night and early morning. He’s had a cough & allergies acting up for a couple days now. He stayed in bed much of the day but was able to eat and my wife kept him hydrated with water & a couple bottles of Rehydrate OTG.

At 7:00, he didn’t really want to/feel like going to his evaluations. He said he was tired. Since he had been eating and drinking for the past 10 hours, I felt that he would be OK to go to his evaluations.

I just had a gut feeling that this would be an awesome teachable moment for him.
We talked about the importance of seeing things through & finishing. We talked about digging deep to find that desire and determination to pull him through tough moments like this when he’s not feeling the best.

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do is to SHOW UP.

The easy thing would have been to stay at home on the couch & go to bed early. But that wouldn’t help him build upon his great performances and effort in the first two rounds. That wouldn’t help him reach his goal.

I told him that he has made it into the top grouping of players battling for spots on the top two teams. A1 & A2.

“The spot you want is there for the taking.” I said. “You just have to go and get it. But you can’t do that unless you show up to claim it.”

He decided to go and give it his best shot. I couldn’t have been prouder last night. We’ll have to wait and see if it was good enough to get a spot on the A1 team or not. But at least he’ll know that he earned whatever spot he gets and there won’t be any room for second guesses or “what ifs.”

The best part about last night is that I believe he will be able to pull from that experience for the rest of his life. In 20 years from now when he’s tired, not feeling great & really wanting to cancel an important meeting with a potential new client, he’ll reflect back to last night and remember how rewarding it feels to dig deep and SHOW UP, even when you don’t feel like it. And hopefully that meeting will change his life.

Opportunities and moments like these are why I love youth sports.


Life lessons from golf - cropped

Forget the fact that it can be incredibly frustrating and result in even the most sophisticated man going into a profanity-laced tirade. Golf may be the greatest game ever to play with your kids. Why? Because it is full of metaphors that you can use to teach life lessons.

Golf isn’t a game that I play often. Come to think of it, I haven’t played at all this year. But as my boys get older, I will be getting them out on the links soon. And when I do, these are the lessons that I will teach them while we’re out there.

9. The First Shot Is Often The Toughest 

If you’ve ever played golf, you know all about the first tee jitters. There you are, on the first tee box. Everyone, including the foursome of guys with the next tee time, is watching you. Quietly waiting for you to hit your ball. Tons of thoughts rush through your head.

“Don’t shank this. Please let me hit a good one. Nice and easy. Keep your head down! OK, here we go. You’ve got this. Smooth back swing…DON’T HOOK IT……DOH! Son of a!…You hooked it… Idiot!”  

Regardless of the result, just getting the ball out there and off the first tee box is a big relief. From there on out, that nervous feeling you felt on your first shot is gone. Now you can just play.

LIFE LESSON: If you have a goal you want to reach, the most difficult thing is taking that first step toward it. But once you do, you’ll feel a lot better.

8. Play It Where It Lies. 

You hit a beautiful tee shot that hugs the side of the fairway. At the last second it hits a slope and rolls just into the rough. When you walk up to your ball you discover that it’s in some pretty thick and tall grass. About 18 inches to the right is the fairway that looks like carpet. It would be so easy to play a little foot wedge here and get your ball into the fairway. But that’s not how the game works. You’ve got to roll with where your ball wound up and play it where it lies. Make the most of your situation. Hit the best shot you can and move on down the fairway toward the hole.

LIFE LESSON: Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you had hoped. You did everything you could have done, but the end result wasn’t what you were going for. Deal with it the best way you can and keep moving forward.

7. Don’t Dwell On A Bad Shot. 

One or two bad shots won’t ruin a round of golf…unless you let them turn into a round full of them. Bad shots are going to happen during the course of 9 or 18 holes. How you handle them is what can make or break your score. When you hit a bad shot, think about what you did. Learn from it and move on. Don’t continue to beat yourself up over it. When you focus on one bad shot and allow it to anger you, it will affect your next shot, guaranteed.

LIFE LESSON: Learn from your mistakes, but move on from them quickly. Don’t harp on negative outcomes in your life.

6. Learn To Laugh At Your Bad Shots. 

Pretend you just hit a beautiful tee shot. Now you’re standing in the middle of the fairway visualizing your approach shot. If you’re on the green in two you’ll be putting for birdie. There is nothing but a clean, clear 150 yard strip of fairway between your ball and the green. You approach the ball. Take one last deep breath…and proceed to shank the crap out of the ball, hitting a worm-burner into a bunker that is about 30 yards to the right and 75 yards short of the green.

You can react in two different ways:
1. You can curse and fire your club across the fairway and become very angry with yourself.
2. You can laugh at the ridiculously bad shot you just hit.

LIFE LESSON: Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you beat yourself up after every screw up, soon you won’t have the courage to keep trying different things because you’ll be scared of failure. By learning to laugh at yourself when things don’t work out, you can move on quicker. Not to mention, life is a lot more fun when you laugh. Who wants to be angry all the time?

5. Don’t Ever Grab A Crappy Ball To Hit It Over The Water Hazard. 

Have you ever played with someone who puts their good ball into their pocket and pulls out a beat up range ball whenever they get to a water hole? Or do you do that? If you do, you’ve already put it into your mind that you’re going to hit it in the water.

Think about how psychologically defeating that act is.

Instead, teach your son to approach the situation with confidence. Use the best ball in your bag and say defiantly, “This baby is going across.” If you end up in the water anyway, so what? At least you went for it with confidence. Take your drop on the other side and keep moving forward.

LIFE LESSON: Conquer obstacles with confidence. Just like your round of golf isn’t over if you hit one in the water, your quest for goals in life doesn’t end when you get dealt a setback…or twenty. Keep your head up. Hit your next shot, and get back into the game.

4. Be Consistent.

I’m not a very good golfer. Why? I rarely play. I got respectable about 12 years ago when I played in a golf league once a week over the summer. Why? I was playing consistently. Therefor, my swing had some consistency to it. And when my swing got consistent, so did my rounds of golf. I didn’t see as many scorecards that were all over the place. I was putting in extra time at the range and in my backyard in between my league rounds.

LIFE LESSON: If you want to constantly improve at anything, you have to consistently work at it. You can’t decide to work on it for two weeks, then take a few months off. Then work on it for a three weeks, then take another two months off. Even if you have a natural talent for something, if you don’t consistently use your talent, you will not have success.

3. Sometimes You Get Lucky.

I’ve seen a ball skip five times across a lake and up onto the green. I’ve seen a ball snap, crackle and pop it’s way through trees only to shoot back out into the middle of the fairway. I’ve seen a ball over-shoot the green by 30 yards, hit off a big bolder and come back into play and onto the fringe of the green. If you’ve played golf a few times, I’m sure you’ve seen a few crazy lucky shots too.

LIFE LESSON: Luck is unpredictable. It’s fun as heck to catch a lucky break or bounce, but you never know when luck will strike – so you can never rely on it. The only thing you can control is how hard you work and how badly you want success.

2. Know Where You’re Going.

Have you ever been on a tee box and couldn’t see the green? What’s the first thing you did? Pulled out the scorecard and looked at the hole layout right? Why did you do that? Because you don’t want to just blindly hit the ball without first knowing which direction you need to be aiming for. Hitting it to the right on a dogleg left isn’t a good plan of action.

LIFE LESSON: Set goals and keep your sites set on them. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get anywhere.

1. Playing It Safe Isn’t Nearly As Much Fun As Going For It.

If you play it safe and hit lay-up shots nine times out of ten, how many times will you fondly look back at those nine safe shots? Never, right? Now, how many times will you replay, and talk about, that tenth shot when you went for it all and made an epic shot? A lot!

LIFE LESSON: No one remembers the safe shots. Sometimes in life you have to go for it. Dream big and take your shots at greatness. The rewards are worth it.

What would you add to the list?

I thought of some other lessons, but I decided that nine was a nice golf number to end with. Let me know what other life lessons you’d like to teach your kids using golf as a metaphor.

Thanks for reading.


What Should You Do If Your Child Has A Teammate With A Violent Temper?

David Ortiz Smashes PhoneHas your child ever had a teammate with a violent temper? A kid who couldn’t handle failure of any kind. A kid who would come back to the dugout after striking out and smash water coolers with his bat. Throw his glove around. Slam and kick helmets.

That kind of violent behavior goes well beyond the boundaries of sportsmanship. It can be downright dangerous for other kids on the team to be around kids like this.

A member of the Sports Dad Hub community recently shared a scenario they had to face with their son’s baseball team. I consider myself lucky that I haven’t been in a situation like this…yet. Have you?

Her story got me thinking about how I would handle it if a teammate of my son’s had a violent temper that put his teammates in danger. Like most situations in life, there’s more than one way to handle it. So I’d like to open it up to you.

How Would You Handle It? 

After you read the scenario described below, share how you would handle it. Have you already been there and done that? If so, how did you deal with it?

Who’s Responsibility Is It?

When young athletes behave this way, where does the responsibility lie? Who’s job is it to get him under control and set the expectations of how he’s supposed to conduct himself during a game? Is it the parents’ job? Is it the coach’s job?

Here’s the email I received that describes the scenario…

CLICK HERE to read the rest at



How To Raise Great STUDENT Athletes

Great student athletesFor sports-loving kids like ours, school can feel like it’s a 5-day long obstacle keeping them from playing sports with their friends. It’s a tough transition to go from playing all day every day, to sitting in class and paying attention.

You and I both know how important school is though. Being a great athlete is exciting, but being a great student is essential. When our kids reach high school and college, if they don’t do well in school they won’t be eligible to play sports at all. So it’s in their best interest that we help them become great student athletes from a young age. Here are a few ways we can do it.

Help Them Develop A Love Of Learning.

Developing a love of learning and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge are the most important traits we can give our kids. [CLICK TO TWEET THAT.] A love of learning transfers into everything they will do in life. If they want to be the best at anything, they must dig in and learn everything about it. The most successful people in any profession take pride in being life-long learners.

The best way that I know to do this is to focus on the act of learning itself and not on a grade. When you help your kids study, don’t let them think they’re just doing it to get a good grade. Focusing on grades will get them to train their mind to memorize facts and lessons for a test and forget them as soon as that unit of study is over. How does that benefit them in the long run?

When you help them focus on learning and understanding facts and lessons for the knowledge they will gain, their mind will be in absorbtion mode instead of “set it and forget it.”

This kind of mindset will benefit them when they encounter subjects that don’t particularly interest them too. When they take pride in learning and being knowledgeable, they’ll be able to push through mundane material a little easier.

Click Here to get 6 more tips on How To Raise Great Student Athletes at


What Properly Observing The National Anthem Teaches Kids

Properly Observing National Anthem teaches kidsA friend of mine recently went to a Memphis Redbirds baseball game. During the playing of the national anthem, he noticed that quite a few kids and dads kept their hats on throughout the song. A lot more people didn’t bother placing their hand over their heart.

He said, “I think it’s pretty sad that so many Americans only feel patriotic shortly after a national tragedy or acts of terrorism like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings. We should feel patriotic every time the national anthem is played.”

I couldn’t agree more. The national anthem isn’t something we have to put up with before the game starts. It’s a time to reflect and show appreciation for the opportunity to live in a free society.

It’s pretty sad that the Kiss Cam during the 4th inning gets more attention than the flag does during the national anthem. Click to Tweet that.

Another thing my friend said was, “It made me wonder if dads today are telling their kids why they need to take off their hats and cover their hearts.”

So now I’m asking you…

Read the rest over at

Would You Rather Your Kid Be A Classless Winner Or A Sore Loser?

Classless Winner or Sore Loser Sports Dad HubKids are great.

Unless they’re little jerk faces.

Last Sunday as I walked into the locker room after my 6-year old’s hockey game, I thought I’d find Brayden all smiles. After all, he just got to play his first official full ice game. Something he’s been saying he “can’t wait” to do all season.

Since he’s a Mite and we follow USA Hockey’s American Development Method (ADM). All of his games to this point have been half ice. But on Sunday the team he played messed up their ice time schedule and didn’t have time to put up the half ice boards. So the kids got to play full ice.

Instead of finding a smiling and excited kid, I found Brayden sitting over his hockey bag with his head down as he took off his gear.

“That was pretty cool, eh bud? How was playing full ice?” I asked.

“Bad.” Brayden answered and sounded angry.

“What do you mean? What happened?” I asked…

Click here to read the rest over at CoachUp.

(And answer an impossible question. :>)