BLOG

All Blog Posts

How To Activate The Power of Failure In Your Athletes

How To Activate The Power of Failure In Your Athletes

Every time my high school volleyball team lost (which was more than we ever won) our coach would always give the same half-hopeful speech. It went something like, “All I ask is that we go out and give it our all as a team each week. If we’re doing that, then this loss must be meant to build our character.

As an athlete who was growing very comfortable with defeat, I always left these losses thinking, “Our team must have more character than any other school district within a 100 mile radius.”

READ MORE

Quiz: Which NBA Star Are You, Based On Your Morning Routine?

Quiz: Which NBA Star Are You, Based On Your Morning Routine?

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how does yours stack up against basketball’s greatest players? Take this quiz to find out if your morning routine is a slam dunk, or a total snoozer.

READ MORE

QUIZ: What Animal Represents Your Athletic Resilience?

QUIZ: What Animal Represents Your Athletic Resilience?

The animal kingdom has so many examples of resilience and strength that we can learn from as athletes. Find out what your athletic spirit animal is, and what it can teach you about your own competitive spirit with this quiz!

powered by Typeform
How to Boost Your Mood In 5 Minutes or Less

How to Boost Your Mood In 5 Minutes or Less

The strain of everyday life can take a toll on your health and your game. But it doesn’t have to be hard to find pockets of joy to help elevate your frame of mind. Integrating these 5 simple tips can make it easy to improve your mood (in less than 5 minutes!) and boost your game.

READ MORE

How To Cultivate Winning Qualities In Young Athletes That Last A Lifetime

How To Cultivate Winning Qualities In Young Athletes That Last A Lifetime

Studies have proven time and time again that being part of team sports is one of life’s greatest teachers for young student athletes, who carry the lessons they learn on the field far beyond the game. But what positive characteristics do elite athletes harness so well, helping them to elevate their performance and meet their goals? Here are 5 traits that can help coaches and athletes make a positive impact on their game (and their life!)

READ MORE

Strategies To Perform Your Best With April Ross

Strategies To Perform Your Best With April Ross

Since her debut on the pro beach volleyball scene in 2006, April Ross has cemented her role as a champion and one of the most universally loved players on tour. Lauded for her powerful serve, energy and competitive drive, April’s easy going personality off the sand makes her one of today’s most authentic, engaging and accessible athletes.

After nabbing several FIVB championships, including the 2009 FIVB World Championship, April and her then partner, Jennifer Kessy won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. April partnered with Kerri Walsh-Jennings for the 2016 Rio Olympics, sweeping every AVP tour stop en route to an inspiring Olympic Bronze. April is currently playing with breakout star Alix Klineman, and aiming for Tokyo in 2021.

April shares with us her fascinating journey to becoming a two-time Olympic medalist as well as strategies for gaining the home court advantage no matter your physical location, and how having great coaches to push her athletic performance has made her the player she is today. 

Special thanks to Mizuno for sponsoring this episode of the Sport Fuels Life podcast, check out the April Ross Mizuno collection by visiting mizunousa.com 

Check out this episode below and let us know what you think in the comments!

How Much Do You Really Know About NASCAR?

How Much Do You Really Know About NASCAR?

NASCAR and the world of racing received big news this week when Michael Jordan announced he was joining forces with Denny Hamlin to launch a new team for the 2021 season with Bubba Wallace behind the wheel. Jordan becomes the first full-time Black NASCAR Cup Series team owner since Wendell Scott nearly 50 years ago, in 1971.

We’re celebrating this exciting announcement with this NASCAR trivia quiz! Test your knowledge of the sport and see if you’ll be taking a victory lap, or if you’ll crash and burn!

powered by Typeform

6 Tips To Help You Keep Your Players Motivated

6 Tips To Help You Keep Your Players Motivated

A team’s motivation can shift from day to day, partially because it’s dependent on each individual player. The most successful coaches find positive ways to engage their athletes, so today we’ve got six small habits that will help you inspire and motivate your team.

Cultivate a positive team culture. 

Team culture is the expression of your team’s values, attitudes and beliefs about competition. It is heavily reliant upon open communication. Coaches must take the lead and have open discussions with their athletes to determine what they value. It’s vital that the players see what they hold important reflected in the culture. Creating a safe space to communicate their perspective and experience is the best way to improve your team culture.

This can also be perpetuated through a combination of positive reinforcement and honest feedback. Various forms of communication will have different motivational impacts on each player. Make it a priority to balance multiple types of communication to foster growth.

Use positive reinforcement to engage your players

Making sure to highlight when a teammate does something awesome (on or off the court) can cultivate confidence. Work on celebrating the small victories, as well as the big ones. This reassurance can help boost a player’s mental game and get them reinvigorated for their next time on the court. Small gestures like high-fives or simply saying “great job!” can motivate your team to keep doing good work. 

Honest feedback is important to help encourage growth

Constructive criticism helps refine individual skills and solidify team standards. It is important to remember that every player will not respond to criticism the same way; you may have to alter the way you deliver it for a more receptive response. Many players appreciate being pulled aside for a quick conversation on what they can improve, versus being called out in front of the whole team. When offering honest feedback, make sure to highlight the why behind it. Developmental players often benefit from understanding the reason behind the new actions you want them to take. 

Find what sets each of your players on fire.

What is the one thing that makes them tick? Each player is going to be driven by different motivators. The same tactics aren’t going to work for every individual, just like they won’t work for every team. Taking time out to learn about what inspires them both on and off the field will not only help you to understand your athletes better, it will also let each player know that you are invested in who they are as people, beyond the game.

Activate unity through teamwork

Though the team is made up of many moving parts, they’re all fighting to achieve the same goal. Highlighting the importance of teamwork can help motivate players. Many athletes are willing to work harder for a team than they are for themselves, as they feel a sense of responsibility to the whole. Emphasize how much stronger they are as a team than on their own.

Encourage competition within the team

To get players to perform their best every day, create a competitive environment during team practice. Players will be more invested if there’s something on the line. Adding competitive drills to your practices can increase player engagement.

While there is no one formula that works across the board for all coaches or teams, using these tips above can help you develop your own style. Remember that if you’re having fun, then your players are more likely to enjoy themselves which will always increase their engagement.  


Are you a coach (or do you know one) who has cracked the code for uniting the team and making a difference in the community? Click here to tell us your story for a chance to be featured on our blog!

Setting Good Habits That Lead To Greater Productivity with Coach Heather Macy

Setting Good Habits That Lead To Greater Productivity with Coach Heather Macy

This episode of the Sport Fuels Life podcast features the all-time winningest coach in the history of East Carolina University women’s basketball: the great Heather Macy.

She’s not only a coach, but also an author, motivator, and leader. Heather prides herself in helping others reach their goals. Her philosophy of impacting and influencing is based upon building confidence, instilling discipline and keeping the intent based upon, YOU winning. One of only 300 coaches in the country Heather received a Certification in Emotional Intelligence in 2016. She currently travels speaking to teams and organizations on how to use EQ to become an elite performer.

Heather covers a multitude of topics from failure, pressure to succeed and the top three traits that create strong coaches:

  1. Be a competitor
  2. Practice humility
  3. Ignite your passion and discipline

Listen to this episode below and then connect with Heather here

How To Control Your Competitive Performance By Controlling Your Mindset The Sport Fuels Life Podcast

The Sport Fuels Life podcast is excited to bring you the Mizuno Volleyball series! Mizuno has been an elite performance brand for decades helping volleyball athletes attain peak performance on and off the court.  This episode, we’re speaking with Mizuno athlete Tri Bourne; professional beach volleyball player, former professional indoor player and NCAA Division 1 Men’s Volleyball player for the USC Trojans. He’s a native Hawaiian, born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and spent lots of time on the beach, where he discovered volleyball.   We cover a lot of topics with Tri, including coaching, goal setting and how learning to control your mental state can help you stay in the game.  Listen to find out why Tri says there’s no such thing as a perfect coach, why setting personal goals and aligning those goals with your team matters, and how his mental state plays such a massive role in his physical performance.
  1. How To Control Your Competitive Performance By Controlling Your Mindset
  2. Strategies To Perform Your Best With April Ross
  3. Setting Good Habits That Lead To Greater Productivity
  4. Choose Your Own Adventure With Ultrarunner Pete Ripmaster
  5. How To Build A Confident Athlete with Tami Matheny

This Just In: Big Ten Football is Back!

This Just In: Big Ten Football is Back!

Just one month after the announcement to postpone football to a spring 2021 season, the Big Ten just announced that they will return to competition on October 24th.

ESPN reports that officials voted to begin the fall 2020 season thanks to new rapid testing opportunities and medical information that has brought new confidence around the safety of players and the ability to complete a season with minimal interruptions. This is going to be a tight season, with no room for error or bumps in the road if the Big Ten wants to participate in playoffs, which was absolutely the motivation for the Big Ten’s return to competitive play.

All 14 Big Ten teams will take the field in just over one month, while Pac-12 is on a more conservative timeline since a good portion of the league has yet to be cleared by public health officials to resume full contact practices.

The Big Ten’s top teams have been pivotal to the decision-making process, namely, Ohio State, who has the season’s most illustrious quarterback in Justin Fields. Fields shared his joy in the decision with a Game of Thrones-style tweet that depicts him in battle as the hit HBO character, Jon Snow. 

To say that players, coaches and fans are thrilled with this decision would be a total understatement. It seems everyone is looking forward to college football season resuming (safely). 

Are you confident that Big Ten officials are making the right choice? Tell us in the comments below!

Choose Your Own Adventure With Ultrarunner Pete Ripmaster

Choose Your Own Adventure With Ultrarunner Pete Ripmaster

Iditarod champion, adventurer and ultrarunner Pete Ripmaster shares his unbelievable and inspirational journey on this episode of the Sport Fuels Life Podcast. Not only has Pete faced howling wolves, a brush with death, and a daunting journey across the Alaskan wilderness to win the 2018 1000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational, he’s also a keynote speaker and soon to be author! 

Currently, Pete is recapturing the spirit of adventure that won him the Iditarod and inspired him to complete 50 marathons in 50 states. With his Owl Run Hundreds Project he is trailblazing a new adventure in hopes of inspiring others to dream big and create positive change along the way. 

Check out this conversation with Pete Ripmaster to learn how you can create your own life of adventure, and learn more about Pete by visiting peteripmaster.com.

The Path To Victory: 3 Winning Strategies for Volleyball Coaches

The Path To Victory: 3 Winning Strategies for Volleyball Coaches

You’ve just coached your volleyball team to victory in game two after a tough loss in the first game with a deficit of just two points. Your team is thrilled to have another opportunity to grab the W, but as a coach, how can you adjust your strategy for game three to keep your team’s momentum?

We’ve got three common strategies coaches should think about to continue your winning momentum (or recover from a game two loss and shift the game back in your favor).

Starting Rotation

The starting position of your players has a lot of impact on the quality of play. How you start your team can greatly benefit you, depending on whether you’re on attack or defense. 

Take into consideration that your player in the front left position on the court will rotate twice through the front row and once through the back row, while the person starting in the right back position will only have three opportunities to hit. Starting your best hitter at front left will maximize their hitting potential and give you more opportunities to score.

Since game three is played to 15 points rather than 25, starting this player in the right back position during the first two games could be a great serving strategy; however, it may not benefit you much in game three. Despite a great hitter’s killer serves, in a game three scenario, they get a significantly decreased chance to attack.

Serving Strategy

Coaches often make the assumption that if your best hitter is also your best server, you should start her in the back right, believing that starting your top players in the serving position is the easiest way to begin the game with points on the scoreboard. 

Great servers can get you points by keeping the other team out of the game, by delivering consistent aces, or the other team returning a non-attack, setting your hitters up for a perfect pass. 

A big part of your serving strategy also includes choosing whether or not you want to serve first or second in the final game. A strong serve can be a great weapon against a strong opponent. Opting to serve first eliminates one of the harder aspects of the game: passing. Especially in younger teams, players may have a harder time receiving serves, resulting in shanking the ball out of bounds or missing opportunities to properly set up their offense, resulting in scoring uncontested points based on the other team’s receiving errors.

Player Execution

As a coach, you’ve got to quickly analyze how your team performed in the first two games. Rotation and serving are great indicators of how the day has been going.

Ask yourself these three questions to help you form a quick analysis:

  1. Has blocking or serving benefited you more today?
  2. Are you having a good scoring day, or are you barely scraping by? 
  3. Is your team holding onto their mistakes, or are they living in each moment without worry of the last error?

    The answers of these questions will help you position and maximize your player execution that day.

While strategy is important, the player execution is completely dependent on the makeup of your team and specific to their mental state going into the game. Great coaches rely on knowing each player’s strengths and understanding their weaknesses to win the game. Your team’s structure is likely very different from your opponent’s, so keeping your strategy fluid depending on the moment will help you bump, set, spike your way to success.

Do you know a coach or athlete who is doing amazing work? Nominate them today for a chance to be featured!

How to Prevent Soccer’s Most Common Injuries

How to Prevent Soccer’s Most Common Injuries

Although sports can provide great health benefits, common soccer injuries can put a strain on the physical, mental, and emotional health of even the best players. It’s important for athletes to know the risks, best practices for prevention, early detection and treatment to keep them on the field safely all season long.

Common soccer injuries include cuts and bruises, concussions, ankle sprains and knee injuries, specifically ACL. While cuts and bruises are unavoidable in such a high intensity contact sport, a lot of the other injuries can be avoided through the correct combination of injury prevention protocol, early diagnosis and rest.

Concussions

Concussions are a brain injury (usually mild) that not only disrupt a player’s ability to perform, but also their everyday life (because you are more than just athletes!) Common causes of concussions are collisions between players or the ground and improper heading technique. 

To head the ball correctly takes practice. It’s important for you to practice heading the ball outside of games to understand the proper technique. The most important things to remember for a powerful and safe header are to make contact on your forehead along your hairline and to keep your neck stiff, moving from your core. 

While collisions are sometimes necessary to win a challenge, it’s important to abide by the rules and avoid going into tackles out of control. You will not be able to control every tackle, so it’s important to have a conversation with a healthcare or sport medicine professional about symptoms that manifest from a concussion.

Many recreational leagues are trying to prevent concussions through different tactics such as not allowing players under a certain age to head the ball, or requiring a player to exit the game if they get a head or neck injury. If you start to experience any symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, light sensitivity, trouble thinking or remembering things, exit the game immediately and talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment will help prevent you from experiencing long-term health effects. Rest is often the quickest path to recovery.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are one of the most popular injuries across all sports, and soccer is no exception. It occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in a way that over-stretches or tears ligaments. These injuries can cause painful swelling, bruising and trouble walking. Because of the commonality of this injury, players tend to play through the pain, but it’s important to address it to prevent long-term damage.

Strengthening and stabilization are key to preventing ankle injuries. Flexion exercises can strengthen tendons around the joint and prevent that awkward rolling. Allowing a sports medicine professional to tape your ankles before physical activity can provide increased stabilization that might not be provided by your own tendons, especially if this isn’t your first ankle injury.

It’s important to rest your ankle when you are off the field to prevent your injury from worsening. Your trainer might suggest wearing a boot to relieve pressure while you walk. Taking the time to immediately submerge your ankle in freezing cold water to alleviate swelling can be a welcome relief after a day of practice.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are common in soccer, specifically injuries to the ACL. Sprains and tears in the knee are more often a result of sudden stops and changes in direction than collisions. ACL injuries are 4 times more likely in women’s soccer than men’s; therefore, prevention has become a major focus for coaches, players and sports medicine professionals. 

Over the years, strength training and warm up regimens have been targeted as injury prevention. Building strong quadriceps, hamstrings and core muscles have been proven to help avoid knee injuries. If the muscles around the knee are strong and flexible, they will help stabilize the knee. Exercises for balance are also beneficial for injury prevention. 

Once an injury occurs, you might be in for a long recovery, but the more intentional you are about your rehabilitation (and the longer you spend focused on strengthening the muscles and tendons surrounding that area) the sooner you’re going to return to the game. Coming back from an injury is just as much work as any game or practice. It’s a challenge, and some days you are going to want to quit; however, the more time and effort you put in, the stronger you can become. 


Check out our series on strength and speed training with Coach Mike Srock for more on how to build strength to prevent injury and develop speed for the field; plus drills that will greatly improve your game.

Can Listening to Music Help Boost Your Workout?

Can Listening to Music Help Boost Your Workout?

According to the National Center for Health Research, “Listening to music while exercising doesn’t just relieve boredom — it can help improve the quality of your workout by increasing your stamina and putting you in a better mood.” 

And now that the September edition of the Sport Fuels Life workout playlist is here, you can let the latest hits from BTS, Katy Perry, Cher Lloyd, The Weeknd, DaBaby add a little pep in your step while you work up a sweat with us!

Take a listen below!

Can Unorthodox Coaching Methods Change Your Team For The Better?

Can Unorthodox Coaching Methods Change Your Team For The Better?

Part of the coaching journey is the pursuit of new ideas and approaches that elevate the game. The NFL’s New York Giants new head coach is no exception, and he’s making waves with the unorthodox methods he’s bringing to the team culture. Prior to joining the Giants, Judge spent 8 seasons with the New England Patriots as an assistant coach where he contributed to The Patriots three Super Bowl wins. We’re taking a closer look at what creative (and maybe even a little controversial) strategies Joe Judge is bringing to MetLife Stadium this season.

Get used to the new normal.

Judge has made the call to allow his team to assimilate to playing on the field with no fans in the stadium. Since the coronavirus has derailed preseason games, Giants have a team scrimmage scheduled at MetLife stadium on Friday night. The New York Post reports that Judge said this provides his athletes with a situational walk-through before competition returns. “We wanted to take the time to really let the guys get their legs back under them,” he noted. 

Build unity.

The Big Lead reported that Joe Judge is bringing the team to a higher expectation of unified performance, and that he’s opted to run players and coaches when someone makes a mistake. Sterling Shephard, Giants wide-receiver says he’s ready to drink the Gatorade, “It’s gonna take everyone to buy in if we’re gonna be the team we say we wanna be.”

Learn to become experts at reading body language.

Coach Judge has removed the names of athletes from their practice jerseys, siting that “We should know who we are by the way they carry themselves.” And “It’s important to know the person across from you by the way they move.”

Take risks with your practices that no one else is willing to do.

NJ.com highlighted that Judge is considering taking Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ red non-contact jersey off the field during practice, leaving Jones exposed to unprecedented opportunity for tackles and hits. The red jersey is widely employed by all teams in order to protect the quarterback from injury. When speaking on the topic in a video media conference, Judge said, “With quarterbacks, you want to be calculated with how you bang them around. At some point, we’ll pop his pads a little bit in a controlled environment…I’m not in a hurry to just beat the hell out of him, but at some point, we want to prepare his body for what it’ll take in the first game.”

Embrace creative problem-solving.

In an effort to prevent his players from getting pinned with holding penalties this season, Coach Judge is employing the help of tennis balls in his practices; taping them to the hands of Giants defensive backs during training camp. “We’re not going to accept penalties. So we’ll find any little trick we can to teach them,” he said.

Photo via Dan Duggan

We’re excited to see how the season shakes out with Coach Judge at the helm for the Giants this year. Do you agree with his methods? Tell us in the comments below, and make sure to join our free Sport Fuels Life community for more sports news and exclusive member benefits. 

What Kind Of Runner Are You

What Kind Of Runner Are You

Find out if you’re a Trail Blazer or a Cardio King! If you love running as much as we do, this quiz below is perfect for you.

powered by Typeform

What’s the Safest Sport to Play During COVID-19?

What’s the Safest Sport to Play During COVID-19?

With athlete safety at the top of every school, club and sports organization’s list of priorities to navigate during this ongoing strange season of Coronavirus social distancing life, many parents and players are opening their hearts to new and creative ways to continue to compete. Individual sports such as running, climbing, pickleball, tennis, fencing, cycling and golf are expected to see an increase in interest and participation as athletes search for ways to stay active, but what is the safest sport to play during COVID-19?

Here’s a list of three sports we think are fun and safe options, if you’re looking to branch out:

  • Fencing
    Fencers already wear standard equipment including masks and gloves for the sport. While the mesh fencing mask does not have any protective effect against COVID-19, some competitors now double up on masks, wearing a cotton one underneath. Social distancing is also less of a challenge for fencing athletes who carry nearly 4-foot-long sabers, epees and foils aimed at poking any opponent who comes near them.
  • Golf
    Public health experts have deemed golf as one of the safer activities people can participate in during the pandemic. Golf has a low risk of transmission because it’s outdoors and is a non-contact sport that features competition amongst small groups of people. Dr. Nasir Husain, Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Michigan, says the risk in golf begins when players start mingling, sharing golf carts and getting within 6 feet of each other. “Just play golf, say hi and bye, and go on your merry way. Don’t come close to each other,” he says.
  • Skateboarding
    Skateboarding is an inherently low-risk Coronavirus transmission sport, since only one person fits on a skateboard. Experts say that, as with every individual sport, the risk of spreading the virus grows when the social element of the sport is brought into play. Any sport can climb into the high risk category if social distancing and sanitation guidelines are not followed, says Dr. David Smith, a sports medicine specialist with The University of Kansas Health System. “It’s so easy to stand 6 feet apart, but we are social creatures. We want to be close to one another,” Smith noted. “We want to laugh together, we want to cheer for each other, so yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to watch because potentially they’re transmitting the virus.”

Are you branching out to try new sports that are deemed as low-risk recreational activities to help you stay active and competitive during the pandemic? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How To Build A Confident Athlete

How To Build A Confident Athlete

Tami Matheny has been a coach and an athletic director working to help produce nationally ranked teams, conference champions, and win numerous individual awards. All that, and she’s also the author of The Confidence Journal, The Confident Athlete and her newest book, This is Good!

READ MORE

Fan Mail: These Letters Took 20 Years to Reach Barry Sanders

Fan Mail: These Letters Took 20 Years to Reach Barry Sanders

If you’re like most students in America, at some point during your middle school or junior high experience you were probably tasked with writing a celebrity or professional athlete a letter. Most of these pieces of fan mail receive responses with autographed photos, and usually it’s a favorite project for students who are thrilled to hear back from their heroes. 

But in the early 2000s, many of the young fans who chose to write Detroit Lions most famous player, Barry Sanders, didn’t hear back…that is until now, nearly two decades years later. ESPN reports that approximately 150 fan letters were discovered in 2018 by Detroit Lions employee, Brandon Scott. 

Letters were delivered to Sanders who has been surprised and honored at the outpouring of love from young fans who sent their letters after leaving the Lions and entered into retirement. 

Courtesy Brian Fornasiero, Detroit Lions

While all the children who wrote to Sanders are now grown adults, Barry says he is working to respond to them all. (As if we didn’t already love Barry Sanders enough already!)


You can read more about this story and see several of these lost fan letters here.

Do you know an amazing athlete or coach who is doing amazing work that we should feature? Nominate them here and tell us why they’ve inspired you. And make sure to sign up for our FREE Sport Fuels Life community to experience all the benefits of being a part of the team!

Are College Sports Really Putting Athlete Safety First?

Are College Sports Really Putting Athlete Safety First?

George Plaster is a sports talk radio pioneer. He joins us on this episode of the Sport Fuels Life Podcast to discuss his career and weighs in on the latest sports news, from coronavirus, professional sports bubble competition, toxic team cultures and what’s actually motivating athletic directors and universities decision on whether or not to play this season.

READ MORE

Do You Know Your Football Trivia?

Do You Know Your Football Trivia?

While college football teams across the U.S. decide what to do about their 2020 season, we’ve been getting our football fix by rewatching Friday Night Lights (Texas Forever!) and making trivia quizzes. Find out how much you really know about your favorite sport by taking this quiz now!

powered by Typeform
3 Reasons You Need A Mindfulness Walk

3 Reasons You Need A Mindfulness Walk

LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are all successful athletes who have discussed the value of meditation to assist them in their performance during the game.

But why should you try a walking meditation? We’ve got three great reasons!

  1. It Clears Out Mental Fog.
    Taking a walk outside interrupts the monotony of the day, breaks cyclical thinking and helps you balance your perspective.
  2. It Strengthens Your Focus
    Meditation helps train your mind and let unhelpful thoughts pass by without the gravity to pull you into feelings of overwhelm and stress.
  3. It Helps You Stay Present
    When you walk, you can let the worries of the day fade away for a moment. Meditation teaches us to let go of the judgement we usually carry in our own minds and to practice self compassion and curiosity.

We’ve created a calming new playlist for you to use as you walk. Check it out below!

You could win free shoes for a year!

You could win free shoes for a year!

It’s our biggest giveaway ever. Help us plan our next move by sharing your opinions.

Take this survey to enter for a chance to win free sneakers for a year.

powered by Typeform
Is the Sports “Bubble” A Good Model To Resume College Games In The Fall?

Is the Sports “Bubble” A Good Model To Resume College Games In The Fall?

In an effort to finish the 2020 season, the NBA has moved 22 of its 30 teams to a restricted access area at Disney World in Florida and has delivered on its promise to print “Black Lives Matter” on the game court in Orlando. The WNBA has returned, launching bubble games on July 25th, with a united mission to bring awareness of the police killing of Breonna Taylor). 

The return of basketball is good news for fans all over the country.  If you’re curious what safety precautions look like for players, coaches and staff, and how this model, with some modifications, might translate for future competitive play for high schools and colleges nationwide, we’ve got the breakdown.

The NBA has an extensive set of safety rules and precautions that individuals who participate in the bubble must follow in order to remain eligible to play. In addition to no fans at the games, athletes are living together for three months in isolation in a unique basketball commune that Lebron James described as a youth basketball tournament for grown men.

Anyone (from players and coaches to management staff and reporters) who has entered the NBA bubble has been tested for COVID-19 daily, since the week of June 23. During games, players have assigned seats on the bench, have been asked to refrain from licking their fingers during practice and games and are even wearing special biometric devices that measure their vital signs. The teams are all divided between three Disney hotels and are required to practice strict physical distancing and wear masks in common areas unless they are eating or participating in physical activity. Any player who tests positive for Coronavirus will be quarantined for a minimum of 7 days. While this system is extensive, it’s hardly foolproof and requires vigilance. Several players have already been benched in quarantine due to violations against the NBA’s rules.

This bubble experiment now has the attention of the NCAA officials and student-athletes who would undoubtedly like to return to their own courts when basketball season is slated to begin this November. The NBA’s model could offer college basketball a framework on how to safely resume competition, while The Daily Tar Heel reports that eliminating fans at the college level could change the entire atmosphere for players.

For now, many sports fans are just thrilled to be getting basketball game coverage on ESPN. Other organizations who have returned to play without a bubble format may already be regretting that decision. Miami Marlins MLB team has reported a total of 14 confirmed cases of positive COVID tests as of this week, possibly putting the entire MLB season in jeopardy and raising even more questions on how to safely return to competitive sports..

We want to know what you think! Should professional sports be returning to the game already, or should they have remained sidelined for 2020? What ideas do you have in your own sports world—leagues, high school, college, or recreationally—for safe competition? Tell us in the comments below!

How To Change The World From Right Where You Are

How To Change The World From Right Where You Are

Professional tennis player and longtime coach Tim Siegel had found success in his career and had just shifted gears to slow down and spend more time with his family when the unthinkable happened. His 9 year old son, Luke, was in a terrible golf cart accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. 

READ MORE

The 5 Stages of Successful Coaching

The 5 Stages of Successful Coaching

ATP tennis coach Craig Boynton joins us in this episode of the Sport Fuels Life podcast, where he shares his coaching strategy for player evaluation as well as his top 5 tips for becoming a successful coach and mentor to your players.

READ MORE

Can vulnerability contribute to building a positive team culture?

Can vulnerability contribute to building a positive team culture?

Studies show that the pressure and culture of high performance athletics can lead to chronic fatigue, mental exhaustion, burnout, depression and anxiety. Student athletes all over the country often struggle silently for fear of looking weak to their teammates and coaches, believing a false definition of what mental toughness actually looks like.

READ MORE

The Top 9 MLB Players of All Time

The Top 9 MLB Players of All Time

Major League Baseball just announced a 60-game 2020 season will begin the last weekend in July, and most players are returning to training camps this week.

Several athletes, however, have opted out of play this year, citing personal safety amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross and Ian Desmond. MLB says that more than 100 pages of health and safety precautions have been accepted by the players association to keep players and personnel safe. Only one day after the 2020 season plans were revealed, executives from several MLB teams revealed positive coronavirus test results within their organizations. Under the terms between the league and its athletes, players who decide on an individual basis not to take the field this season would have to forfeit their salaries, unless they are considered high-risk for contracting the virus.

READ MORE

The Sport Fuels Life July Playlist is Here

The Sport Fuels Life July Playlist is Here

This month’s Sport Fuels Life playlist features classic sports anthems, perfect for your morning jog or return to the weight room. Legendary artists to help get you motivated from House of Pain, Survivor, The Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, Billy Joel and more! 

READ MORE

Tennis Ace Tim Wilkison Shares Coaching and Competitive Insights

Tennis Ace Tim Wilkison Shares Coaching and Competitive Insights

Tim Wilkison, who toured professionally for over 25 years, lives in Charlotte, N.C.  Ranked World No. 23 in September 1986, Tim is perhaps best known for his diving volleys at Wimbledon that earned him the nickname “Dr. Dirt”.  He now coaches at all levels and works with many organizations to teach and promote the sport and benefits of tennis. Here are some highlights on playing, coaching, and living from his conversation with Sport Fuels Life.

Commitment matters.  After Tim started playing tennis exclusively at age 12, he marked off the days on his calendar when he practiced at least two hours (usually longer).  Since he didn’t have access to indoor courts, he spent rainy days hitting balls against the wall of an indoor gym.  He practiced four years in a row without missing a day.

Not surprisingly then, he was the country’s number one ranked junior tennis player at age 16.  At age 17, he turned pro.  (In those days, turning pro immediately after high school was unusual).  Like everyone else, he started at the lowest level but made it to the main draw within a year.  

Now that he coaches a wide range of players, he says the difference between a good and great player is clear:  “To be a great player, you have to have extreme physical ability and extreme mental abilities…really off the charts in both areas.”

He also noted that extreme physical ability doesn’t mean just running: “It means technique.  The person who taught Roger Federer a forehand probably taught many others, but Roger had the ability to leverage something special.”  Tim said it takes time to see if a player has the mental strength to come back from ups and downs that are part of competitive tennis (and life).  

Coaches and parents can cultivate a championship environment by doing two things—emphasizing a love of the sport and developing good, overall athletic skills.  Tim also said that it’s not enough to hit balls for four hours; movement, throwing, changing direction and more are required.  

He acknowledges that coaching elite players is a different ball game; in addition to expertise, it requires organization, professionalism, and a passion for the sport.  Tim says he doesn’t coach from the sidelines; he plays with his students because that’s his background, it’s a good way to teach, and he enjoys it. He also tries to share his lifelong holistic approach to athletics that includes a focus on mind, body, and spirit.

Tim noted that developing your strengths and knowing yourself helps players win matches: “Sometimes coaches will say that your backhand is not that great so we’re going to work on that.  I can’t think of a time when someone has taken a weakness and made it into a strength.  You don’t win matches with neutral shots.  You win matches with strengths.”

Tim used his talents, strengths, and connectivity ten years ago to build a relationship with the Chinese government to coach tennis.  Two of his students are almost at the highest competitive levels.

“Sometimes I go there.  Sometimes students come here and live with me,” he said.  “They get a more varied experience by playing in the U.S.  There’s tremendous structure in their program but variety helps too.  And at the end of the day, the players are all individuals and have to be treated as such.”

Tim’s life experience, overall optimism, and belief in humanity convince him that current, painful tensions from the pandemic and racial injustice can result in opportunity.  “I believe we have to find all the answers to every problem. This is a great chance to build a better society,” he said, “because we’re all connected.”

The Beauty of Community with Angela Strickland

The Beauty of Community with Angela Strickland

When 7 year old Andrew Dean Strickland was recently diagnosed with leukemia, his family had no idea what a blessing their sports-loving family would receive from their supportive community. 

READ MORE

Understanding Your Why with Coach Mike Srock

Understanding Your Why with Coach Mike Srock

Accomplished speed and strength coach Mike Srock, from James F. Byrnes High School in Greenville, South Carolina, wants his players to have purpose in everything they do. Read on below to learn how his program has pivoted during COVID-19 and what he’s doing in preparation when in-person practices and competition to resume.

Coach Srock says that one characteristic of a great coach is being quick to adapt and adjust how they relate to their athletes. He notes that today’s coaches have received a master class in out-of-the-box thinking thanks to COVID-19. “As this global pandemic has gone on and everything has been shut down, it has really adversely affected the entire high school population so much–even beyond just sports. School has always been a support system for these kids. I mean we actually feed them, keep them engaged and teach them how to be responsible upstanding individuals. I think all that is paused now because we can’t have personal contact.”

READ MORE

More than just Speed and Strength Training

More than just Speed and Strength Training

Mike Srock, winning speed and strength coach at James F. Byrnes High School in Greenville, South Carolina, chatted with us about challenges that today’s coaches face and how athletes have changed over the course of his decorated 45-year career.

READ MORE

5 Sports Films That Highlight the Struggles of Legendary Black Athletes

5 Sports Films That Highlight the Struggles of Legendary Black Athletes

Team Connection is committed to connecting athletes, coaches, and fans to celebrate the unifying power and magic of sports.  We are also learning from each other.  One of our team members, Eric Lamar, recommended this list of movies to show what systemic racism looks like in the world of sports.  We’ll be showcasing other educational materials in future posts and welcome your suggestions.

READ MORE

Achieving The Perfect Balance, With Coach Mike Srock

Achieving The Perfect Balance, With Coach Mike Srock

Mike Srock is a renowned speed and strength coach for James F. Byrnes High School in Greenville, South Carolina and has helped win 13 state championships in football, volleyball, softball and cross country. He has been awarded numerous Coach of the Year titles for his incredible work, and was inducted into the South Carolina High School Strength Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017. His drive and passion are  infectious, and his perspective and wisdom are inspiring.

READ MORE

Tune In To The Sport Fuels Life Summer Classics Playlist

Tune In To The Sport Fuels Life Summer Classics Playlist

Whether you’re planning to spend the majority of your summer on the golf course or strength training and conditioning in your garage, this week Sport Fuels Life has a fun mix to add a little joy and get your summer sizzlin’ with these upbeat summertime classics. From Paul Simon to Eddie Money, we have the retro vibes you forgot you needed.  

READ MORE

Elite Tennis Players Have A Freak Factor. Do You?

Elite Tennis Players Have A Freak Factor. Do You?

In this second blog post with veteran tennis tour coach Craig Boynton, he discusses why this is one of the most exciting times in men’s tennis and talks about the various “freak factors” that make certain players so special.  

READ MORE

Top 5 Ways To Boost Mental Wellness

Top 5 Ways To Boost Mental Wellness

May is mental health awareness month, and thanks to the coronavirus, the spotlight on mental wellness is brighter than ever. The Sport Science Institute believes that mental health is “part of, not apart from, athlete health. Mental health exists on a continuum, with resilience and thriving on one end of the spectrum and mental health disorders that disrupt an athlete’s functioning and performance at the other.” There are many ways you can improve your overall mental wellness; and in this time of uncertainty, one of the most important things we can do is tune in to our inner thoughts and emotions and learn new ways to be our best advocate.

READ MORE

How Tennis Fuels the Life of Elite Tour Coach Craig Boynton

How Tennis Fuels the Life of Elite Tour Coach Craig Boynton

We talked to accomplished ATP Tour coach Craig Boynton and ended up so inspired and informed that we will be featuring his insights in three successive blog posts.  The first deals with how sports have impacted his life, how he balances being an elite, globe-trotting coach with being a father and husband, and how good communication can be a real advantage.

As context, Boynton has worked with players such as World Number 1 Jim Courier, Mardy Fish, John Isner, and Steve Johnson.  He is currently coaching Poland’s Hubert (Hubi) Hurkacz who is ranked 29th in the world.  Coaching those kinds of players and the toll of worldwide travel and competition would take a toll on most families.  Here’s what Craig had to say about how sport fuels his life.

READ MORE

Your May Workout Playlist is Here!

Your May Workout Playlist is Here!

Each month, our team at Sport Fuels Life is bringing you our favorite workout tunes, and this month it’s our fave new pop hits from artists like Lennon Stella, The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone and more!

READ MORE

The Best Sports Movies To Watch

The Best Sports Movies To Watch

There has never been a better time to catch up on your sports movie knowledge than during a global pandemic, and our Sport Fuels Life team has created the ultimate watch list of team-inspired movies that will help get you through the boredom of being stuck at home and unable to compete. 

READ MORE

Good News For The Sports World

Good News For The Sports World

The world of competitive sports is on pause, but thankfully team spirit has not been cancelled. We’ve been so inspired by the ways so many athletes and athletic organizations have stepped up to assist their communities during this time.

READ MORE

U.S. Olympic Medalist Sandi Morris Gets Creative with her Quarantine Training

U.S. Olympic Medalist Sandi Morris Gets Creative with her Quarantine Training

Sandi Morris has a spirit of ingenuity and determination that pushes her through life’s challenges, so when the world went on pause for COVID19-related quarantines, Sandi knew it was time to double down. She’s always found a way to compete. This characteristic is what has catapulted her professional pole vaulting career to elite levels. She has competed in the sports world’s most renowned global competitions, including solidifying her place in history at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by earning a silver medal. We caught up with Sandi recently to see how she’s making the most of quarantine, what she’s doing to stay in a consistent training routine, as well as where she finds the inspiration to push herself to the next level. 

READ MORE

Have a Family Dance Party to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle During Quarantine

Have a Family Dance Party to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle During Quarantine

Even if you’re not a parent or an athlete with siblings, chances are high that you’ve reached your limit of finding things to do at home during quarantine to keep yourself or your children entertained. This week we’ve got just the thing you need to promote an active family lifestyle (and give your Netflix account a break–we know, you just saw there’s a brand new follow up episode of Tiger King. We promise that Joe Exotic can wait!)

READ MORE

Coaches: Make Your Team Part Of The Family

Coaches: Make Your Team Part Of The Family

Coach Brandon Shaver is a basketball coach at Pine Tree High School in Longview, Texas, who has made a lasting impression on his team. He was anonymously nominated by someone in his community who wrote to let us know about the many ways this coach goes the extra mile for his athletes.

READ MORE

Stay Motivated with this Sport Fuels Life Playlist

Stay Motivated with this Sport Fuels Life Playlist

Our awesome Sport Fuels Life team has created our very first Spotify playlist!

We’re calling the inaugural playlist “We Don’t Quit” because it features a few of our favorite pop and hip-hop songs for your stay at home quarantine workout. These beats are sure to help get you energized and infuse you with the confidence to believe that you can do hard things. 

Check out the playlist here, and be sure to follow us on Spotify for even more playlists (we’re launching one a week for the month of April!)

READ MORE

Nick Gwiazdowski Brings His Heart To The Mat

Nick Gwiazdowski Brings His Heart To The Mat

We recently caught up with Nick Gwiazdowski, a North Carolina State graduate and wrestler who won back-to-back national championships in 2014-15. More recently he earned the gold medal at 125 kilograms (275 pounds) on March 15th at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. With the abrupt changes in the sports world unfolding at the same time as Nick’s gold medal performance, eventually leading to the delay of the 2020 Olympics, we wanted to get his take on the effect COVID19 is having on competitive sports, wrestling, and his training.

READ MORE

How is the COVID19 Quarantine Impacting Baseball Players and Coaches?

How is the COVID19 Quarantine Impacting Baseball Players and Coaches?

Billy Godwin is currently the Head Baseball Coach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and has over 30 years of coaching experience. Before Godwin was a coach, he was an athlete. He earned an athletic scholarship as a pitcher for Barton College, in Wilson, North Carolina. He also worked for five years as an area scout for the New York Yankees and spent several years as Head Coach for two other North Carolina institutions– East Carolina University and Louisburg College. 

READ MORE

Overcoming Obstacles with World Champion Chelsea Werner

Overcoming Obstacles with World Champion Chelsea Werner

If there is anyone who knows what it’s like to dream big and achieve, it’s the amazing Chelsea Werner. She’s a four-time U.S. Special Olympics Gymnastics National Champion, a two-time defending World Champion, a fashion model and an advocate for inclusion. We’ve been following Chelsea’s journey since we spotted her on the TODAY show a few years ago, and we’re thrilled to share her story of overcoming obstacles and thriving with Down Syndrome. Read on below and prepare to be inspired!

READ MORE

Celebrating This Year’s Exceptional NCAA Basketball Athletes

Celebrating This Year’s Exceptional NCAA Basketball Athletes

On March 13th, the 2020 NCAA basketball tournament was canceled by the NCAA because of concerns regarding the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). That decision resulted in #MarchSadness across the United States. It’s the first time the annual NCAA Tournament will not be held since it was first launched 81 years ago, in 1939.

READ MORE

How To Keep Sport Alive During Social Distancing

How To Keep Sport Alive During Social Distancing

With all the uncertainty that our nation is facing while dealing with COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and the cancelling of all our sports events and community gatherings to help flatten the curve of the disease, it can feel overwhelming for our young athletes and coaches. If you’re feeling helpless, we’ve got a dose of inspiration for you!

READ MORE

The Value of Strong Coach-Athlete Relationships

The Value of Strong Coach-Athlete Relationships

As a coach, you are a critical element in the strength of the glue that holds your team together. It’s important to cultivate proper technique and skill as well as a positive competitive environment in your players and team; but studies have shown the true key to success lies beyond focusing only on their physical progress and abilities. Coaching is about equipping each individual athlete for success in life and building strong relationships where your players feel safe, seen, heard and supported. Psychology Today says that “many athletes, even at the elite level, desire coaches that have a strong sense of regard for them as individuals and have an understanding of them and what is going on in their lives.” But what are the practical steps you can take as a coach to enrich the team experience? 

READ MORE

Building Confidence And Developing A Winning Mindset with Elle Purrier

Building Confidence And Developing A Winning Mindset with Elle Purrier

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we connected with Elle Purrier, the stellar track and field athlete who just last month broke the 37-year-old American indoor mile record, to discuss training, setting goals and women’s empowerment in sports. 

READ MORE

Get to know Bri Scott

Get to know Bri Scott

Bri Scott is Team Connection’s stellar volleyball account manager, she played Big Ten volleyball at The Ohio State University, has coached and even co-founded ProVolley Training, which exists to provide a fun and competitive learning environment for high school teams, as well as a skill tune-up for individuals looking to improve their game. She’s sharing her #sportfuelslife journey with us in today’s blog post! Read on to get to know more about this stellar member of our team!

READ MORE

What Fuels New Orleans Saints Defensive Lineman Shy Tuttle

What Fuels New Orleans Saints Defensive Lineman Shy Tuttle

Shy Tuttle had a pretty remarkable NFL rookie year during the 2019 season. He hails from Midway, North Carolina where he discovered his love of sports as a member of his high school’s basketball, football and track and field teams. He went on to play four seasons of college football with the Tennessee Volunteers before signing with the New Orleans Saints in April 2019. He made his NFL debut on September 9 and soon became a household name in NOLA, thanks to his first career interception that went viral. Just before our interview, Shy recently shared his inspiring journey (and ice cream for the whole school!) with the students of Midway Elementary School in North Carolina.

READ MORE

How to Build Confidence for the Game

How to Build Confidence for the Game

My father has often said that “no one can give you confidence, but yourself.” True confidence is a virtue and only those who put in the work will be able to know the type of certainty and grit that comes from having full confidence in your own abilities. Mastering your skills is critical to the game as well as in life. You’re becoming an expert at what you do because you’ve practiced it a million times, the 10,000 hours rule applies here. If you look at the great athletes, they are regarded as great because they work tirelessly on their game, from technique to speed and execution. Michael Jordan was able to nail down a free throw with his eyes closed because he had practiced relentlessly. He mastered the form, the muscle strength, the distance and all the other attributes required to perform a foul shot. Because he has watched the ball go through the net countless times, he was never afraid of stepping on the free throw line and knocking one down with his eyes closed.   

READ MORE

What Makes Elite Athletes Rise To The Top When It Counts

What Makes Elite Athletes Rise To The Top When It Counts

Have you ever wondered what it is about elite athletes like Roger Federer, Misty May-Treanor, Usain Bolt, Mia Hamm, Lebron James, and this year’s Super Bowl LIV MVP Patrick Mahomes that propels them into greatness during those pivotal competition moments and gives them the winning edge?

READ MORE

Building A Winning Team Culture

Building A Winning Team Culture

Megan Zimlich is an accomplished track star and, among her many other fantastic qualities, is an important player on our team here at Sport Fuels Life and Team Connection. When it comes to building a successful team culture, she believes that honest assessment, getting specific with setting goals, and making accountability a priority are all vital elements. Read on below to learn more about Megan!

READ MORE

How To Create Winning Cultures For Your Team and Life

How To Create Winning Cultures For Your Team and Life

Team Connection’s Key Account Sales Manager, Ikenna Smart, knows exactly how sports can change a life. His incredible story of self discovery and community through his basketball career led him to start his own foundation, donating shoes to those in need in his home country of Nigeria. We asked Ikenna to share with us his thoughts on what it takes to build a winning team culture, and his thoughtful responses are sure to ignite your own Sport Fuels Life passions. 

READ MORE

How Herb Bolick is Serving Up A New Kind of Sports Community

How Herb Bolick is Serving Up A New Kind of Sports Community

Team Connection’s President and Founder, Herb Bolick knows firsthand how being a team player helps everyone to shine bright. He’s spent over 25 years working professionally as a tennis player and coach, and he was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993. Read on below to get to know the man at the helm of Sport Fuels Life, and learn more about why he’s passionate about helping you build authentic and active sports communities.

READ MORE