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<<First Name>>, Welcome back to The 90%!
"Ninety percent of coaching is helping people to get out of their own way," Steve Magness, author and performance coach. The temptation for coaches is to coach the sport or activity, when we have to remember that we're coaching people first. If you can remember that, it makes the helping part so much easier.

With the start of another school come year comes the inevitable directive from teachers, "Pay attention." To that end, I spent some time this summer distilling attention down to its core components. Check out this infographic for more details.

If you want to be world class, you must have great genes. At the elite level everyone has the physical talents and access to the best coaching, technology, facilities, and nutrition. The separation comes from the mental preparation, and that's what is so impressive about Sydney McLaughlin. As you listen to her talk, you might forget that she just turned 23. Last year at the Olympics, she stated, "Pressure is an illusion," and I believe her. She performs with a poise and serenity that speaks to her mental strength, and her smooth form showcases the FREEdom we've discussed previously. This year's world championships in Eugene, OR brought another world record in the 400m hurdles, and another opportunity for us to learn about her mind. What stands out in this interview (below) is how the combination of faith, an attack mentality, and gratitude led her to another world record. She's truly special.

If you're going to be elite, you should only focus on one thing, right? That seems logical, but it may not be accurate. 

Sydney McLaughlin started running at age six, but she also played basketball and soccer while learning to juggle and ride a unicycle. Mikaela Shiffrinanother teen prodigy and two-time Olympic gold medalist, also grew up playing soccer, juggling, and riding a unicycle (plus tennis, windsurfing, and inline skating). Nearly 90% of NFL first round draft picks were multi-sport athletes (and 43% were three sport athletes).

As David Epstein describes in his excellent book, Range, generalizing, not specializing, is what has lead to many great performances and discoveries. Generalists are more creative, agile, and innovative. Likewise, multi-sport athletes develop skills that translate across sports, are healthier, and less likely to burn out. Specialization leading to success is the exception, not the rule.

Instead of specializing, I encourage you to look for ways to branch out. Try something new. Tackle a new challenge. Take a class. It might be uncomfortable, but the learning, struggling, and growth will pay off in unexpected ways.
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