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The-right-words-are-aAfter a terrible week of results for Manchester United, midfielder Juan Mata wrote on his blog, “Words are not enough… and the only thing to turn that anger into happiness is through good results, not words.”

He’s right.

He can say that they will improve, or they can actually perform better on the pitch.

As a fan, that’s what I want to see, but as a coach, I can see the application in a broader sense.

We can all say that we want to live a great life and be successful, or we can do the hard work required to live a great life and be successful.

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Matt Dellavedova

Matt Dellavedova celebrating a win with Lebron James in the 2015 NBA Finals

I love basketball and seeing Australian athletes shine on the big stage, so to see Andrew Bogut and Matt Dellavedova starting for the two NBA Finalists, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Andrew Bogut was the first pick in his draft year and he has been in the league for many years, so it’s not such a surprise to see him there, but Matt Dellavedova is another story.

So what’s so inspiring about him? Read the rest of this entry »

Harriette Thompson

92-year-old Harriette Thompson running a marathon. What an inspiration!

Earlier this week I stumbled across the inspiring story of 92-year-old Harriette Thompson, who successfully ran a marathon in San Diego over the weekend.

She ran it in just over 7 hours and it was her 16th completed marathon.

What an extraordinary achievement!

As I consider Harriette’s phenomenal performance, I think that there are three things that we can learn from her: Read the rest of this entry »

Live-with-hope-Have-aNeale Daniher was a terrific footballer.  A champion for the Essendon Football Club, his career was cut short by injuries, but his persistence and courage was a trademark.

He was a highly motivating coach.  His fiery messages as coach of the Melbourne Football Club gave him the nickname, “The Reverend” and his players went to battle for him every week.

And away from football, Neale is highly regarded for his affable nature, warm smile, fierce loyalty to family and friends and sense of humour.

Tragically, last year he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) an insidious illness for which there is no cure and no treatment.

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Glenn Cunningham

Glenn Cunningham, the Kansas Flyer

One of the books that I’m reading at the moment is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, the story of Louie Zamperoni that has recently been made into a movie.  Whilst his story is inspirational enough, Laura’a done a great job of writing about him, so this post is about one of the guys who inspired Zamperoni, Glenn Cunningham.

At the age of 8, Cunningham’s legs were badly burned in a school fire that killed his older brother, Floyd.

The doctor’s recommended that Glenn’s legs be amputated, but he protested to his parents and he kept them.  However, his injuries were so bad that doctors said that he wouldn’t ever be able to walk normally again.

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In a wide-ranging Youve-got-to-make-uprecent interview, former Boston Celtics legend and current Washington Wizards veteran Paul Pierce discussed the advice that his gives to the young stars on his team:

“I talk to them a lot about mental preparation and consistency,” Pierce said. “I keep telling (John) Wall and (Bradley) Beal, ‘You’ve got to make up your mind. Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great? Because if you want to be great, you gotta do it every single night, not just when you feel like it.”

Do I get an amen?

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I-dont-know-what-my-kidsYesterday afternoon, my 10 year old son Hayden said that he didn’t think that he would be able to make it to the AFL (Australia’s highest league for Australian rules football).  He thought that maybe a lower league was more achievable.

I looked at him with pride and said, “Let’s not put a ceiling on that goal just yet, the sky is still the limit, so let’s keep training hard and see what happens.”

Maybe he won’t make it to the AFL.

Maybe he will get distracted and try something else.

Maybe he won’t put the work in or just doesn’t have the talent.

Maybe he will get injured and that will hold him back.

But I’m not going to put a cap on his (or my other kids’) aspirations.

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If-you-think-that-youreOn the weekend, Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo amazed us once again with an extraordinary 5 goals during his team’s 9-1 trouncing of Granada.  This included a hat-trick within 8 minutes and his performance was as close to perfection from an athlete as you could expect.

But not according to the man himself.

Ronaldo once said, “If you think that you’re already perfect, then you never will be.”

Despite his obvious talent and natural skill, Ronaldo’s work ethic is legendary.  Since a very young age, he has pushed himself on the training track harder than most of contemporaries, developing his skills and physical capabilities to a level reached by very few athletes.

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You-miss-100-of-theIt was ice hockey great, Wayne Gretzky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

It’s true in sport and it’s true in life.

You won’t make a sale if you don’t make a pitch.

You won’t get published if you don’t start typing.

You won’t buy a house if you don’t make a bid.

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Sacrifice Decision11-time world champion cyclist Emma Meares recently told the story of when former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh was the mentor for the Australian Olympic team at the London Olympics.

He told them that athletes make decisions, not sacrifices to be successful.

In Emma’s words, “If you think that having a healthy diet is a sacrifice then you’re wrong, yes moving away from family and spending time on your own is hard, but it’s a decision and you can choose not to do it.”

It struck me that I use the word sacrifice too much.

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