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Archive for November, 2008


Tips for Keeping a Training Journal

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If you talk to successful high level athletes, many of them will tell you that keeping a training journal is one of their keys to success. At one of our recent competitions, former Olympian Dominique Dawes spoke with the athletes during a special gymnasts only party. One of the things she recommended to the girls was to keep a journal – for both training and competition purposes. She told the girls that journaling helped her keep track of goals, identify potential injuries and stress early on, and keep her eye on her target.

Here are a few tips for keeping a journal:

Buy a spiral bound or writers notebook in a fun, funky print – or what ever suits your style. If the notebook is appealing to you, you will have more fun writing in it.

Inside the journal log the season, your goals, and an inspirational quote. My favorite one is “A goal without a plan is just a WISH”. The journal will help you develop and track your plan to reach your goal.

After practices and meets, take a few moments to jot down your thoughts about practice. Did you have a goal? How did your body feel? What did you eat beforehand? How about after? Did anything unusual happen? Did you accomplish your goal?

At the bottom of your journal entry add a positive statement or another inspirational quote for more motivation.

Keeping your journal should be fun. Add meet mementos and magazine cutouts and the journal will become even more of a keepsake as well as a training tool.

UPDATE: I have created a FREE printable training journal template that you can download and print as needed. Check it out!

Categories : Resources
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Burnout is a pretty common phrase when it comes to kids and sports, especially high level athletes. I think we are dealing with a bit of it in our house this week and it isn’t pretty! My girls must be exhausted – neither one wants to go to practice, both are snapping at me when I ask them why they don’t want to go, and one left all her medals and autographed t-shirt in her gym bag in the car.

So what is a sports parent to do? LET THEM REST. It is Thanksgiving week, so they are getting a break from school. Even though they have swim practice on Wednesday and Friday, I am going to let them decide which days they want to go. And lucky for my gymnast, she doesn’t have practice until next week, which is just perfect for her.

The girls don’t have school today and I suspect that come 4 pm after they have watched a bit of TV, caught up with their friends on computer, made cookies and asked to go to the mall a gazillion times, they may just think that going to practice is a good thing. I’m not even going to mention it today – unless they ask, we will just stay home.

Do you know the signs that your daughter is getting a burned out, needs a break, or change of routine? If so, I’d love to hear your experience!

Categories : Parenting
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By Avi Stopper

One of the best recruiting things you’ll ever do is visit college campuses. Visits show you what colleges are really like. They take you way beyond glossy websites and brochures and show you all the bumps, scrapes, and hidden delights colleges have to offer.

If you can, schedule your visit with the coach. That way, when you get there, you’ll find a schedule waiting for you that lists the people you’ll stay with, who you’ll go to class with, when meals are, and so on. Then again, maybe you won’t get the royal treatment. Don?t worry if this happens. Some coaches roll out the red carpet for recruits. Others require you to be more self-sufficient. Either way, a can-do attitude will go a long way.

Your visit is your one real chance to investigate the school and the team. You have a ton of say in this whole decision. You may be trying to convince the coach to recruit you, but he has to convince you that his school and team are great as well. Remember, if you don?t like a college, you don?t have to go there just because the coach wants you to come.

Most importantly, this is where you might go to college. Ask yourself these questions: does it feel like home? Does it feel like a great place to spend four years? Does the campus have the right vibe?

Of course, this is also where you might play for the next four years. Do you like what you see in terms of style, the quality of play, the quality of coaching, the team?s attitude on the field, as well as the social dynamic off the field?

While you’re on campus, ditch your parents. Much as they might like to relive the glory years, this is your college experience. Take the tour with your parents and then go off with some of the kids on the team. Get the real college experience by staying in the dorms with them and eating in the cafeteria.

Finally, you have to meet with the coach. Try to sit down with him one-on-one. Ask for a tour of the facilities, watch a practice, and a game. In the few days that you’re there, do as much as you can to simulate what your college experience there would be like. Then, once you get home, be honest with yourself by answering one key question: How did you like it?

Avi Stopper coached at the University of Chicago and is the founder of

Categories : College Sports, NCAA
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