Double up on Fundamentals / Leap and Soar! – Motivation by Mark Schwab

Are you looking to improve performance and results? I assume the answer is yes. Double up your potential. Every sport has fundamentals if mastered; you become powerful and convincing. In my experience fundamentals are where to spend your time. Most fundamentals have nothing to do with talent. It’s about correct repetition, intelligent mastery, and holding yourself to a high standard.

Base hits win baseball games. You win the “game” a little at a time; this over the course of the competition will win in athletics, business, sales, and life. In my opinion, it’s not about teaching moves. It’s more about basic core skills and strong functional positions. It’s very difficult to rely on big moves (home runs) in sport, business, or life. Basics have a much higher percentage of success; it just takes longer to get there. When you have solid basics, you can learn more effectively for the creative, advanced, and home-runs. Most people do not consider working on fundamentals fun. If you’re looking for fun, join a carnival. Fundamentals take years to learn and longer to master.

Motivation-by-Mark-Schwab-300x250And for mental skills, they’re just plain ignored. Can you imagine if alongside your sports, business, sales, education, relationship core fundamentals you also exercised and mastered mental fundamentals? This would change your life and those around you. This is crazy when the world admits mentality, mindset, self-talk, confidence, mental climate, etc. are the most important components of effectiveness and success. THIS GOES FOR ANYTHING IN LIFE. Fundamentals are mostly absent, so GET GOING! Pick up your end of the rope and pull!

What are the mental fundamentals? Well, every one of us is doing them right now:

Self-talk/thinking – cannot be stopped, just changed. Awareness is vital. Keep it simple. You don’t need to fight or will your resistance. Just notice it, take a deep breath, and replace it with something that makes sense to you. Treat changing your self-talk with the following – You don’t open a flower with a sledge-hammer. Improvement takes time, dedication, and awareness but holy cow, you’re looking to leap and soar.

Breathing – You’re thinking and breathing all the time. Most are not aware of either. Simply, when you become negative, frustrated, angry, nervous, fatigued, etc. focus on your breathing. Slow breathing down. Control a deep and full range of motion way of breathing. When you’re breathing is under control, you’re in a position to manage your thoughts as well. It is as simple as this, but don’t confuse simple with easy. Easy is weak with hollow spots, but hard develops strength.

Visualizing – We all think in words, pictures and can paint any picture we want. When you learn to control your breathing and slow down, spend time viewing and rehearsing victory in your mind’s eye. Experience over and over again what it is you want and are committed to.

Are you serious enough to organize, rehearse, and discipline yourself in these areas and see for yourself how powerful you can be? None of this is a secret. It’s available, effective, and a difference maker. These are mental basics. They all go together and function whether we’re paying attention or not. However, with focus, attention, time and discipline, you can leap and soar.

You have to buy-in for the full benefit. Invest your time and take your time. When learning physical and mental fundamentals, slow down until you master each step of the way. Do not rely on luck to play a part in your success.

One of The biggest challenges is turning instruction into behavior. Change is tough; so be tough! Most go back to what they’ve always done, even when they continue to get poor results, and advancement is denied. Make the decision. People who don’t make a choice are no better off than the people who don’t have a choice. You do! Understand, The Street in front of your house will take you anywhere you wish to go. You have the information you need. Is there somewhere you want to go? Is there a place calling you if you’ll just pull your end of the rope?

Listening and watching is not enough; it must be turned into behavior. You may need to change, adjust, relearn, and in some cases, forget some of your past instruction. Like most of us in our own lives, we offer resistance both knowingly and unknowingly. Change is always difficult, but it’s necessary for movement. There are unwavering principles that govern keys to success and effectiveness in sports, business, life, sales, really anything. Master the basics. Get a paper and pen, ask questions, read, etc. and put your plan into action.

UNDERSTAND, you will always go back to what’s most ingrained under turbulent times – practice room habits, life habits, mind fundamentals, etc. We’re exposed in these moments. We want fundamentals for our sport, business, sales, etc. and the mental fundamentals as our “go to.” You have to internalize and endure. There will be hesitancy until you commit.

Fundamentals may sound boring, although, few complain of boredom from victory, success, and payoffs. There are no boring fundamentals, just bored people. Yes, you have to be and stay disciplined. Discipline is a feared word for many. Your life and results are up to you but don’t blame it on others. You have total control over your number in line. You have control over whether you leap and soar or melt and hide.

Master the physical and mental fundamentals that are holding you back from happiness, advancement, and success. Often, these previously limiting areas can become your very strengths. You’re not just one of a dozen bolts in a mechanic’s drawer, you’re it! People have one shot at seeing you shine. Illuminate your soul. Life needs people in the game, too many on the sideline. Leap and soar! Leap and soar!

Mark Schwab was recently an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Previously he spent nine years as assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, helping the program to seven top-three team finishes at the NCAA Championships and two NCAA team titles. As a wrestler, Schwab was an All-American for the University of Northern Iowa during the late 1980s. Schwab earned his bachelor’s degree in 1990 from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2003. Schwab returned to the University of Minnesota to get a second emphasis in sports psychology on his existing master’s and completed that in 2010. Email Mark at

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