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September 20, 2012

Tim Kolodziej: Three words to help you become your best

NEW CASTLE — “If everyone worked as hard as me, I’d be out of a job.” — Steve Nash

Work ...

Dirty word?

Or the ticket to your dream?

Only you can make that call.

The more I’m around young athletes, make that young people in general, the more I’m convinced: The great ones work harder than everyone else.

You have to put in the time. You just have to.

There’s no other way to achieve excellence.

Let me say it another way: “Want To” is way, way more important than “Can Do.”

The DESIRE to become the best is what separates the top athletes and students from the rest.

And desire breeds determination when obstacles litter your path.

Sure, natural talent is important. But it’s often found hanging on the street corner unless plenty of hard work tags along.

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals." — Larry Bird

Repetition ...

You’ve got to get your reps in.

Whether it’s algebra, golf or dance, you’ve got to rehearse your skills over and over and over until they become part of your fabric.

And then you practice some more.

The goal of repetition is to build habits that can be called upon instinctively — even if chaos surrounds you.

I love what legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had to say on the topic: “I created eight laws of learning: explanation, demonstration, imitation, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition and repetition.”

Author Daniel Coyle has written that repetition is the greatest tool in our toolbox, “because it’s the most effective way to make our brains fast and accurate.”

And none other than Bruce Lee once stated: “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.”

In other words, practice may not always make perfect, but it makes for pretty darned good.

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Beginning tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL playoffs. So, who ya got? And in how many games?

Penguins, in five games or fewer. Too much firepower for the Blue Jackets, especially if Evgeni Malkin is ready to go.
Penguins, in six or seven games. It’s a pretty even matchup on defense, but Pittsburgh will grind it out.
Blue Jackets, in five games or fewer. Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for the Blue Jackets spells trouble for the Pens.
Blue Jackets, in six or seven games. Bobrovsky gives Columbus the edge, but it won’t be easy.
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