Tag Archives: sports

No matter what else is happening in the world, the Olympics have always commanded attention. If you ever doubt the burning will to exceed all limits inherent in all of us, just look at the dedication these indomitable athletes exemplify. No spectacle captures the world’s imagination on such a grand scale. But we’re not tuning in to catch up on air rifle or luge or any of the other hundreds of sometimes obscure events (race walking… really?) we somehow ignore every other week of the year. No, we thrill to the competition, the effort, and the unquenchable commitment to win. Everyone on the path to their best test scores and grades can learn what being the best really requires from those who have paid the costs and reaped the rewards–including Gold Medals and enshrinement on boxes of Wheaties–of enduring excellence… “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams…

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The Guardian released an excerpt of the upcoming book, The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made by A Mark Williams and Tim Wigmore, as a strong standalone article titled Under pressure: why athletes choke. As the kind of coach who helps teens excel on a different field of play than the one the authors focused on, I wondered how many of their insights carried from athletic competition to academic competition. I needn’t have worried, as sports analogies almost universally apply to testing. I recommend the full article, especially if you are not put off by descriptions of cricket matches. However, for fast reference, I’ve highlighted some key passages with corresponding support on the test prep side: “Failure to manage anxiety and cope with the demands at a crucial moment can lead to a catastrophic drop in performance, known as choking. As the pressure in a match rises, so can an…

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How many high school juniors are athletes? Many are, and why shouldn’t they be? Athletics is a fun and social way to stay in shape and let off steam after school. For all the junior scholar-athletes out there, let me draw some analogies from the world of sports to describe the ideal SAT and ACT prep program. NEW TO THE SPORT Doing nothing at all to prepare for the tests is like trying to play a sport before you even know the rules. You arrive out of shape and unable to show off your skills. Students who walk in cold either assume they can’t study for a standardized test (wrong) or are unmotivated to make test prep a priority. Hang on… there’s a much better way! TUTORING AND CLASSES You’ve joined the team! All the instruction, coaching, and playing facilities are available to you. You have a great opportunity to sharpen…

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Autumn means marathon season, not to mention stampedes of school children at cross-country trails all across the United States. Distance running may be grueling, but the sport appears to grow more popular every year. Interestingly, few if any sports demand such a singular focus on intrinsic motivation, mental training, and success measured not by the performance of others but against personal bests. In this, distance running looks a lot like test preparation. TRAINING Even marathoner Gordon Bakoulis Bloch saw the similarities when she said, “You can’t cram for the final.” Long distance running requires physical and mental training over a long period, along with a deliberate focus on achieving and maintaining peak readiness. Bloch added, “You’re not going to get any fitter during the last couple of weeks before the race. So don’t try cramming any last minute long runs or extra training. The best thing you can do for…

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Now that we know who will be competing in this year’s NBA Finals, let’s take a moment to applaud all of the hard work, commitment, and heart required not just to make it to the big show but simply to compete at the highest level of any sport or profession. How does a basketball player become elite? Obviously, certain physical traits contribute to success in this particular sport; basketball sages love to assert that “you can’t coach height.” Yet, plenty of big men and women have washed out of every league with little to no distinction. Ask any of the greats the source of their success on the court, and they all sound the same. In fact, the lessons hoops legends share apply in any area that benefits from coaching, practice, and commitment: It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come…

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Who doesn’t love an inspirational advertising campaign featuring an affable icon of insane success? Sports lovers around the world are suckers for tales of toil and sweat. Nike may have pioneered aspirational advertising with its exhortation to “Just Do It,” and marketing that made Michael Jordan much bigger than just basketball, but they only set the pace. Other sports brands–most recently Gatorade with its awesome “Is It In You?” campaign–burn with their own aspirations to connect to driven consumers. Under Armour has grown from a feisty upstart to a global sportswear powerhouse by keying in on what draws people to sports in the first place. Everyone wants to win. With its new “Will Finds A Way” campaign, Under Armour draws a direct line from training, effort, and will to massive victory. Spokesperson Dwayne Johnson seems a veritable paragon of victory, having cut a charismatic swathe through the WWE to the…

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