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Do you make things happen, or let things happen?--->, FF Insider#84
January 28, 2010
Welcome Back,

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Winners: People who make things happen

By Coach J. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, NASE Cert., USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified

Every new athlete enrolled at Finish First Sports Performance is required to complete a mental preparation questionnaire which includes an exercise where he/she must list a few athletic and life goals. I must admit, that although I have not done as much with goal setting as I would like to, the point of this activity is to at least get the athlete thinking about setting goals and understanding that he/she will be held accountable for what is written on the paper that is submitted to me. I give each athlete as much time as they need to think about the goals they will write down, and offer questions that would help them think about what their goals really are. I explain to them that these goals will give them a “why” they are doing this. I inform them that as they progress, the workouts will get harder, and if the “why” is not strong enough, or they are not committed to their “why,” they will most likely throw in the towel. I explain that I am not looking for athletes that will throw in the towel, and neither is their coach, or any of their teammates. I am looking for looking for what legendary sports psychologist, Dr. Denis Waitley, would call winners--people who make things happen: people who set realistic goals and make the sacrifices to achieve those goals. Losers, on the other hand, drift aimlessly, buying in to every new fad, taking the easy road, and letting things happen to them and around them in life.

As a student of performance sciences, I have been fortunate enough to study goal setting and its relationship within the realm of sports psychology. I am fascinated with the potential power that the goal setting process holds. Setting goals provides purpose, direction, and a way to measure progress for each athlete. Goals provide benchmarks of progress that can help boost confidence, ensure a higher sense of achievement and self-worth, and further motivate the athlete towards future goals.

Too many coaches don’t fully understand the goal setting process, how to correctly set goals, how to get athlete commitment, or how to motivate each athlete towards attainment. As a parent, I also think that it is important that we help our children with the goal setting process as it will help them in other aspects of life. I am a firm believer in setting personal goals and I have learned through trial and error how to better write goals for myself.

I would like to offer some insight into the goal setting process, beginning with some benefits of goal setting. I am going to use excerpts from the book “Sport Psychology for Coaches” by Damon Burton and Thomas D. Raedeke (Human Kinetics 2008) to help illustrate this process. This book is a great read and a valuable resource for any coach or athletically involved parent.

Benefits of Goal Setting (Page 53, Figure 4.1):

1. Goals enhance focus and concentration.

2. Goals boost self-confidence.

3. Goals help prevent or manage stress.

4. Goals help create a positive mental attitude.

5. Goals increase intrinsic motivation to excel.

6. Goals improve the quality of practices by making training more challenging.

7. Goals enhance playing skill, techniques, and strategies.

8. Goals improve overall performance.

Guidelines for Setting Effective Goals (Page 56, Figure 4.3):

1. Emphasize process and performance goals as a higher priority than outcome goals.

2. Set specific, measurable goals rather than general or “do-your-best” goals.

3. Set moderately difficult goals that are challenging but realistic.

4. Set positively—not negatively—focused goals.

5. Set both long-term and short-term goals, with short-term goals serving as the building blocks for reaching long-term objectives.

6. Set both individual and team goals, with individual goals becoming the role-specific steps used to attain team goals.

7. Set both practice and competitive goals, with practice goals focusing on developing skills and competitive goals geared towards performing optimally.

Once you have an athlete creating/setting effective goals, it is important to get him/her to commit to achieving his/her goals. Figure 4.8 on page 61 of the same book offers the following advice:

Ways to Increase Commitment to Achieving Goals:

1. Make sure athletes set their own goals, not someone else’s.

2. Allow your players to participate in setting their own goals.

3. Encourage performers to write down their goals.

4. Have players tell their goals to others or post their goals.

5. Teach athlete to imagine attaining their goals.

6. Provide players with incentives or rewards for achieving their goals.

7. Ensure that performers receive social support from coaches, teammates, and parents.

8. Help athletes earn a position on an elite team.

9. Provide players with opportunities to win a major competition or championship.

10. Help your athletes shape their goals.

11. Ensure that players make their goals competitive, primarily with themselves.

Read over the lists above carefully and begin setting some realistic goals for yourself. Determine what you’re going to do to help motivate yourself and commit yourself to achieving your new goals. Is your “why” strong enough to get you through the potential obstacles, or will you throw in the towel? You decide.

Imagine the Gold

By Emily E. Novitsky, BS, CSCS, Finish First Sports Performance Athletic Performance Specialist

Since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are just around the corner, I decided to write this week’s article on the topic of sports psychology (mental imagery/visualization). Sports psychology has been a hot topic and is especially hot in the minds of those athletes preparing for the remainder of their competitive seasons (playoffs, championships, Super Bowl, Olympics). Some athletes, coaches, and parents however, have a misconception of what exactly sport psychology is and how it can help them excel in his or her sport. In the following article I will discuss what sport psychology is and how it can benefit athletes. Then I will introduce mental imagery/visualization and how it can also help athletes.

Sport Psychology, according to the ever-popular Wikipedia, is the study of a person’s behavior in sport. Therefore, a sport psychologist is not a medical doctor that is there to prescribe medication or give a prognosis of a disease or disorder—those are clinical psychologists. A sports psychologist is solely there to help the athlete or team with their sport performance. According to Brian Mackenzie, an international sport psychologist, there are 4c’s of sport psychology: confidence, concentration, control, and commitment. With these 4c’s you can become the best athlete that you possibly can (with the help of professional). You may be thinking “Who uses a sport psychologist?” The answer might surprise you--from high school midget ice hockey players to the elite levels of professional sports—they all use the services of a sports psychologist. The USA Olympic team has at least one sport psychologist at every training center. Additionally, it is not uncommon to find a sport psychologist on staff at practically every professional sports training facility.

As athlete’s mature and develop, there are new expectations, anxieties, and similar issues that need to be addressed, along with new goal setting. It is recommended that these athletes use the services of a sports psychologist to help unlock the door to consistently improved performance. Many sports psychologists will meet with your or discuss with you exactly what they do and if there is a way that they can help you with your performance. However if you think you or your athlete is not ready for a sport psychologist, then there are plenty of books and other resources that can help. At Finish First Sports Performance we have numerous activities to help the athletes with mental preparation for improved performance. We also use the services of a professional sports psychologist in the area for athlete’s looking for services beyond our scope of expertise.

Although there are many different aspects to sports psychology, and performance programs need to be tailored specifically to your needs, one sport psychology technique that is has been useful for athletes is mental imagery or visualization. One way to use this is to imagine yourself in a game or recall a successful instance in your career and use that when you are training. This can be a great motivation and confidence builder for anyone who may need that extra boost. Another way is to mentally imagine scoring the winning run, touchdown, or goal or the winning save of the game. These are also techniques that the athlete can practice on their own at home or in the car--wherever. If you imagine it and believe it, and set goals towards achieving it, you can be successful--you will be successful.

In summary, Sport psychology is for all athletes at every level of play. It can be used in the gym or on the field. Remember to go for the gold every time you step on the field, court or ice. Good luck to all athletes, and especially all of those who earned the right to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games!

I hope you learned some new interesting facts about sport psychology and if you have any additional questions or concerns feel free to contact Emily or Jeremy at or call 412-787-5070.

All-Day Energy During Back-to-Back Competitions

By: Heather R Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Finish First Sports Performance Nutrition Advisor

One of the most important times to be at the very top of your game, both physically and mentally is during the final period of a game or during the final game of an all-day tournament. Not having the right nutritional game plan in place leads to both mental and physical fatigue and can ultimately lead to decreased performance or injury.

When you are faced with multiple competitions in the same day, it is important to meal plan so that optimal energy needs are met. To do this, it is imperative that you start the day with a full tank of gas and use your breaks between games to refuel and rehydrate. Use the following tips to help you to be prepared on your competition day:

●Practice how you will fuel on game day prior to your tournament day. Training is not only a time to work on strength and conditioning your muscles but also a time to train your muscles how to use fuels. You do not want to try a new food on the day of your competition only to find out that it does not agree with you. If a food gives you an upset stomach, it is much better to find that out ahead of time.

●If you do not already have one, invest in a small insulated cooler and a few ice packs so that all of your foods and beverages can be packed and taken with you. This way you can be sure that you will have adequate foods and drinks to keep yourself well-fed and well hydrated if no other source of energy is available.

●Pay attention to your pre-competition meal! Make sure to eat a real breakfast no later than 1 ˝ hours before your first game. This meal should be low fiber, low fat, and high carbohydrate with a little protein. Some examples include:

◘ English muffin with 1 TBSP peanut butter, jelly or jam and 1 banana.

◘ 2 slices raisin toast with jelly, 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg, ˝ cup orange juice

◘ 1 ˝ cup cereal (lower fiber is typically better tolerated, corn flakes, rice krispies, cheerios) with 1 cup skim or 1% milk, 1 nectarine

◘ Bagel with 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 cup skim or 1% milk

Remember, everyone’s GI tract is different. Practice is an important part of food selection for game day.

●Before your first game and during the game, stick to liquids to stay hydrated and keep from feeling too full. Drink water initially, and then switch to a sports drink like Gatorade about 20 minutes before the game. Continue drinking sports drinks when possible during the game. If you know when your breaks will be, it is a great idea to schedule drink breaks. This helps you to remember to rehydrate. Staying hydrated not only keeps you energized but also keeps you mentally focused.

●Between games it is vital that you refuel and rehydrate. The quicker you can take in some carbohydrates after your first game, the more energized and recovered you will be for the upcoming events. If you only have ˝ hour prior to your next event or competition, be sure to utilize sports drinks to obtain adequate carbohydrates. The last thing you want to do is start your next game with a stomach full of undigested food. If your next game is 2 hours away, than start eating solids. A carbohydrate rich meal will be your best success at obtaining more energy. You will want to switch back to liquids (Gatorade) as you get closer to the start of the game. Some examples of easily digested between meal foods are:

◘ 2 slices of bread with 2 slices turkey, banana

◘ Dried fruit

◘ Cereal with milk

◘ Yogurt with fruit

◘ Fig Newton with low-fat chocolate milk

●After the tournament, refuel your muscles and rehydrate your body! Eat a high carbohydrate snack that includes a little protein within 30 minutes of finishing your tournament. Even if you plan on going out to eat after your game, it is important to get carbohydrates and a little protein into your body within 30 minutes so that you can start the recovery process immediately. Some examples of easy snacks or beverages to meet this immediate need are:

◘ 1 cup chocolate milk

◘ Yogurt

◘ Sports drink with a 4:1 ratio carbohydrate to protein

●Within the next 1 ˝ -2 hours, eat a full meal that including carbohydrates, protein and a little fat. If you have practice, games or a continuation of the competition on the following day, you may need to include an additional evening meal to assure adequate glycogen (stored carbohydrate) for the next day’s events.

Miss America

The coaching staff at Finish First Sports Performance would like to wish Finish First Sports Performance athlete/client, Ms. Shannon Doyle, Miss Pennsylvania 2009, all the best in the Miss America pageant competition.

You can watch Shannon and the other contestants in action on Saturday, January 30th, 2010, at 8pm on TLC. For more details, you can visit the Miss America home page .

Finish First Sports Performance is the official training provider for the Miss Pennsylvania organization and other pageant systems across the U.S.

Youngstown Phantoms USHL Team

Finish First Sports Performance is pleased to announce that we are now the official training provider for the Youngstown Phantoms USHL team. We are looking forward to helping more high quality hockey players develop and work towards achieving their goals. To show your support, please check out the Youngstown Phantoms website, check their schedule, and attend a game!

Youngstown Phantoms

RMU Men's NCAA Division 1 Hockey Team

As many of you have noticed, the RMU Men's NCAA Division 1 Hockey team upset the number #1 ranked University of Miami (Ohio) hockey team a few weeks ago. The RMU men have been able to carry that momentum forward and are improving their play as the playoff/post season draws near. Please show your support for our only local NCAA Division 1 Men's hockey team by attending their upcoming home games--and get a chance to see firsthand what all the buzz is about!

You can see their schedule by visiting the RMU Men's Ice Hockey Team Site.

Finish First Sports Performance is the official training provider for the RMU Men's NCAA Division 1 Hockey Team.

Coming Soon!!!

Beginning in mid-February (exact dates yet to be determined), Finish First Sports Performance will be offering exclusive customized adult group fitness training for up to 6 participants. The class participants will be exercising 2 days each week as a group, although each client will have his/her own customized program. The exercise sessions will be an hour in length and programming will address the needs and goals of each client. Additionally, nutritional information will be provided to educate each client on making the necessary dietary changes to create healthier lifestyle habits. This is a highly specialized class and each participant will receive the attention needed to reach their goals. This program is the same program we use to produce unmatched results in our pageant/fitness contestants.

There has been a lot of interest in this program, and many requests have already been made.


This class will sell-out quickly. If you have questions, contact us to get them answered.

Motivational Quotes

"One's best success comes after their greatest disappointments"
-- Henry Ward Beecher

"If you are not leaning, no one will let you down."
-- Dr. Robert Anthony

"Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends."
-- Brian Tracy

"Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there."
-- Josh Billings

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

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