Back in Santa Barbara!

I'm back in Santa Barbara (and it's good to be here).  I'm now accepting referrals for folks in the area.  I'm planning on monthly (or more often) visits back to the Silicon Valley, so I'm able to see Bay Area people as well.  Please contact me for more information:

Alto Velo gets Robots!

I had a great time presenting to Alto Velo Cycling last night in Mountain View.  It was my second time with this crew and they were as smart and lively as ever.  Great questions and good discussion.  I look forward to seeing them again next year and watching their results roll in!


La Entrada Presentation next Tuesday!

Come and check out the presentation on Tuesday!

Helpful tips for parents of athletes

A few helpful tips and thoughts for parents...


  1. Focus on the values.  Remember the lessons you want your child to learn from sports (e.g., sportsmanship, grace under pressure, good losing/winning, teamwork, perseverance, health).
  2. Listen to your kid.  Are they having fun?  We don't make 8 year-olds work in coal mines; neither should they work on the basketball court.  Fun>work.
  3. Your child is not you.  The fact that you were a great athlete (or weren't) means nothing for your child.  Check your gut and be honest with yourself.  Who's game is it?
  4. Children should be allowed to quit sports if they don't enjoy them.  Promote exercise, being outdoors, and spending time with friends...these are the important life-long lessons. 
  5. There are a lot of sports and healthy activities.  Allow your child to explore and find what's right for them.  There's nothing magical about organized team sports.  A kid who likes hiking is no less of an athlete than a baseball pitcher.
  6. Don't talk to your child about a game/practice for at least two hours after it's over (unless they bring it up).
  7. If you're not your child's coach, don't coach your child.  You're the parent; be supportive.  If you disagree with your child's coach, don't say so in front of your child.  Restrain yourself before interfering with difficult coaches.
  8. Telling your child to be more confident is like telling them to be taller.  It's not something than any of us control, so it will feel like another failure.  Acknowledge that being nervous is normal.  If anything, suggest that they try to be really attentive.
  9. Don't attend every game, match, race, or tournament. 
  10. Promote generalization in sports.  Research tells us that it leads to better outcomes for most sports. Sampling across a wide array of activities is healthier on a lot of levels.
  11. Behave yourself in the stands or on the sidelines.  Applaud politely, but keep your mouth shut. Sideline coaching is prohibited.
  12. There's no overestimating the importance of a healthy lifestyle and a family culture of activity. Your child doesn't need more exercise than you do.  The best thing you can do for them is to model a healthy lifestyle.
  13. If your middle- or high-schooler says they want to play a sport, sign them up and make them finish the season.  Yes, they should be allowed to sample and quit, but commitments are important and they need to finish what they said they would.
  14. Keep your eyes (and your child's eyes) on the big picture.  A great ball player is not a great person. We all have strengths and weaknesses and keeping some perspective makes sports more fun.
  15. Focus on the process and the experience, not the outcome.    

Challenge Success!

I'm pleased and honored to have been elected to the Governing Board of Challenge Success at Stanford (  This interdisciplinary organization works with families and schools to ensure balanced, healthy education and growth opportunities for all children.

The vision statement is as follows: 
We know that every child has his or her own story and path to success. We believe that kids come with a wide variety of interests, skills, capacities, and talents. They need love, support, limits, and a safe environment to develop their full potential. This process of growing up is slow, deliberate, and often unpredictable, and therefore requires that kids have the time and energy needed to mature into resilient, caring, and purposeful adults. Challenge Success recognizes that our current fast-paced, high-pressure culture works against much of what we know about healthy child development and effective education. The overemphasis on grades, test scores, and rote answers has stressed out some kids and marginalized many more. We all want our kids to do well in school and to master certain skills and concepts, but our largely singular focus on academic achievement has resulted in a lack of attention to other components of a successful life—the ability to be independent, adaptable, ethical, and engaged critical thinkers. Our work helps to foster learners who are healthy, motivated, and prepared for the wide variety of tasks they will face as adults.

I had a great interview today with Dominic Militello of Dominic's group is helping athletes during their transition away from sport. Interviews with coaches, athletes, and other sport professionals will be available on his website next month. Check it out!

Past presentations:

It occurs to me that after navigating to this website, I've lost the full list of all my previous presentations.  So here is a partial listing organized by topic:

Presentations About Youth Sports

Crystal Springs Uplands School, Hillsborough, CA

La Entrada School, Menlo Park, CA

UCSB Human Resources Learn at Lunch

Menlo-Atherton High School, Menlo Park, CA

El Segundo School System, El Segundo, CA

Woodside High School, Woodside, CA

Crane Country Day School, Santa Barbara, CA

Prevail Conditioning, Santa Barbara, CA

Foothill Elementary School, Los Altos, CA

Sequoia High School, Redwood City, CA

California Association of Independent Schools, Oakland, CA

WBAL Athletic Directors, Menlo Park, CA

Presentations About Peak Athletic Performance

FastForward Professional Triathlon Team, Santa Barbara, CA

UCSB Baseball, Santa Barbara, CA

Westmont Track and Field, Santa Barbara, CA

Team in Training, Santa Barbara, CA

UCSB Cycling, Santa Barbara, CA

UCSB Rugby, Santa Barbara, CA

Stanford Cycling, Stanford, CA

AltaVista Cycling Team, Palo Alto, CA

Solvang Triathlon Camps, Solvang, CA

Carmichael Training Systems, Santa Ynez, CA

Brawlin' Betties Roller Derby, Santa Barbara, CA

Rincon Tri Club, Ventura, CA

Hypercat Racing, Ventura, CA

GolfTec, Santa Barbara, CA

Transcend Racing, Thousand Oaks, CA

Santa Barbara Tri Club, Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Iron Team, Santa Barbara, CA

First Tee Golf Academy, Santa Barbara, CA

Big Sky Sport Psychology Group, Big Sky, MT

Presentations About Boys and Men

Young Men's Service League, Redwood City, CA

Sequoia High School, Redwood City, CA

Woodside High School, Woodside, CA

Salon-style presentation at Sequoia HS

Come out and join in the conversation!  


“Helping Young Athletes Reach their Potential” -- with Steve Smith, PhD, Palo Alto University

Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sequoia High School, Fireside Room

How can parents support their student's participation in sports to encourage a lifelong healthy lifestyle and to reach their potential? The balance between sports, academics, and downtime can be challenging--come learn how to prepare your young athlete for the future.

Sport Specialization presentation

I had a great chat with the Athletic Directors and coaches of the West Bay Athletics group on Tuesday.  We discussed issues related to sport specialization, club sports, and encouraging kids to experiment and play.  Thanks!