I am currently reading a book called “Mastery” by Robert Greene and I highly recommend it for anyone, young and old. It has inspired me to look at my own life currently and decide what I am truly passionate about and pursue that calling more fully. The other thing that struck me as I read this book, was that I already experientially knew everything about Greene’s theory of Mastery through my participation in sports for my entire life. All of this made me realize that perhaps the greatest lesson that participation in sports teaches our youth is the practice or art of mastery. 

10,000 Hours to Mastery

As has been cited by many people, mastery at anything takes 10,000 hours of practice. Greene writes, “Although it might seem that the time necessary to master the requisite skills and attain a level of expertise would depend on the field and your own talent level, those who have researched the subject repeatedly come up with the number of 10,000 hours.” If you break down that amount of time for a young athlete, it can seem quite daunting. Especially now with the presence of early recruiting (don’t even get me started), young athletes basically have ten years to approach some level of mastery at their sport if they begin at five years old! To get to 10,000 hours in those ten years, an athlete would have to put in about three hours of work per day.

This is why I am always taken aback by all the focus and attention on what camps to go to, what teams and what coaches to play for, the gear, the flash…none of this matters if you want to be a great athlete. The only thing that matters is that you put those three hours in per day to practice and refine your skills and sport. When you are in-season, you can count an hour or two of practice with your team, but then you better be putting in an extra hour of individual work around your sport or training to develop as an athlete. In the off-season, you need to continue to work on your own for those three hours per day, despite the fact that your team may not be practicing. 

How do I get all those hours in?

The greatest advantage that I had growing up with a college coach as a father was that lacrosse became an ingrained part of my life. After school and my own sports practice was over, I would then go to his team’s practice or game at Princeton. I would spend an hour playing wall-ball or an hour watching his team or an hour getting a lift or run in, and then probably another hour talking lacrosse with my dad. Lacrosse was simply a major aspect of my life on a daily basis, and I loved every minute of it.

So, if you want to become great at your sport, everyday should involve some combination of the following practices (and some sports may differ along these lines): (1) an hour or two of practice or game with your own team, (2) an hour of individual work (e.g., shooting hoops on your own for basketball, stick handling in your driveway for hockey, wall ball for lacrosse, etc.), (3) an hour of watching high level players at your sport (e.g., watching a game on television or YouTube, going and watching a local pro or college team practice, watching an instructional video), and (4) an hour of training in the weight room or track to develop your strength, size, speed, quickness, and agility. 

But, aren’t we pushing our kids too hard? Will they get burnt out?

Please notice that this blog is not really directed at parents or coaches, as I would never demand this of any child or suggest that anyone do so. I am writing this to the young athlete that absolutely loves his sport and wants to practice the art of mastery within that sport. If a child just wants to play a sport recreationally and has other greater interests, that is totally fine too!

However, if you want to become excellent at something, you have to make it a big of a part of your life. Don’t just do it to become a DI recruit, All-American, or MLL player. Those goals alone will not provide you with the adequate motivation to do all of that work. Also, you will be sadly disappointed with the fleeting amount of happiness that an accomplishment like that brings. 

Simply play or practice your sport because you absolutely love it! This is what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, the famous researcher on “flow”, refers to as an autotelic experience — something that we do just for the sake of doing it. Your love of the game is the only thing that will carry you through all the hard times and obstacles that you will need to get through. This will give you the motivation to spend at least three hours per day devoted to your craft. 

This is what happiness and success is all about! Find something that you love and do it every day, for no other reason than that. The accomplishments may come, but even if they do not, you still will have enjoyed the process. And when you are done, (and old, sore, and concussed like I am), then you can move on to your next passion and challenge and practice that every day. 

Life is too short. We have to fill it with what we love to do. For you young athletes, if your sport is what you love, then practice it and improve your craft everyday. Down the road, you will find mastery in that sport and there is no greater gift that you can give yourself. You will be able to compete at your highest potential, play with ease, and find flow in the sport that you love the most. And the lessons that you learn along the way will equip you for success in the rest of your life. 

So, go get those three hours in today, whichever way possible, and practice the art of mastery…but, only if you love it. If not, go find something else…and practice the art of mastery.


Parents and Coaches, are you tired of being confused with the whole recruiting process and wondering how it all works? Take the power back into your own hands and learn how to support your student-athlete! The greatest gift that lacrosse brought to me in my own life was that it pushed me towards getting the best education that I possibly could through Princeton University. Now, I want to guide other young student-athletes in their efforts to put education first.

I am pleased to announce that I have partnered with some top educational leaders in the country and a educational technology company called AthletePrep to provide "LacrossePrep - Trevor Tierney Edition", an online platform and service that guides young lacrosse players (the system is customized for seventh through twelfth grade) through the college-search and college-preparation processes. Please note that this is not a recruitment tool, but an educational and developmental tool for athletes which includes the online services below. Please go to to see video demonstrations of all these components and to learn more. 

Provides student-athletes with a tool that provides student athletes with a "Fit and Match" overview, showing how they match up for admissions at any school in the country, along with providing detailed financial and scholarship information for families. LacrossePrep utilizes an online tool developed by Don Betterton, who was the financial aid director at Princeton University for 30 years and a highly sought after guidance counselor. An estimated retail value of $499 (private guidance counselors get paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to provide the same type of research and information that this system is based upon).

Prepares student athletes for standardized tests through an online tutorial service called EPrep. This system has been used by thousands of students throughout the country to improve their SSAT, PSAT or SAT and ACT scores (the system is customized based on your grade, from seventh through twelfth). This is an awesome way for young athletes to get access to a virtual tutor and practice taking their standardized tests, which is one of the most important aspects of getting into college. An estimated retail value of $399 (private tutors and courses charge thousands of dollars to provide this basic service).

Allows student-athletes to keep all of their academic and athletic information organized in one place online. This platform allows them to create their own web page to share with friends, parents, high school coaches, and prospective college coaches. An estimated retail value of $99 (recruiting services charge hundreds of dollars per year for a similar service). 

Supports student-athletes to become more skilled at lacrosse through a series of athletic development videos by Trevor Tierney. These videos cover fundamentals, shooting, goalie, and stick stringing instruction and the library will continue to get larger each year. An estimated retail value of $99. 

Student-athletes receive support on the recruiting process through a vast array of video clips by Trevor Tierney. These videos go through all the ins and outs of recruiting questions and walk athletes through the NCAA guidelines and schedules. An estimated retail value of $49. 

Get individual support from Trevor Tierney with a hour-long webinar each week. This weekly call is based on supporting the student-athletes and families through their questions and needs, going through the entire system and answering any personal questions that you have around the college search or recruiting processes. An estimated retail value of $100. 

To learn more and watch video demonstrations of the entire platform, please go to Thank you and I wish your student-athlete the best of luck on a successful and fulfilling journey towards college.


Trevor Tierney


Dear Athletes, Coaches, and Parents,

I am very excited to inform all of you about a completely free and amazing opportunity to learn from one of the top minds in leadership development! Currently, I am pursuing my masters at Harvard University and taking a class that is offered through their Graduate School of Education and Extension School. My professor for the class, Dr. Robert Kegan (bio copied below), is a leading researcher in adult learning and professional development. He has an endowed chair at Harvard and he is highly respected in the business world for his leadership development research and training. 
Dr. Kegan's latest book and training that he is offering people, "The Immunity to Change," was touted at number for Oprah's Top Ten Things You Should Do to Start the New Year Right in 2011! This process has been used extensively in leadership development and organizational change with great success with major corporations and high-profile CEOs. This training teaches people how to create the big changes that they sincerely want to make in their lives, but have been unable to do so. 
Kegan and his colleague, Lisa Lahey, are offering the "Unlocking the Immunity to Change: A New Approach to Personal Improvement," starting March 11, free of charge to anyone in the world. There are currently over 50,000 people signed up for the course! I am going through an abbreviated version of the workshop right now and I am benefiting from it greatly. I’m confident that this course could make a dramatic impact on your life too!
The main reason that I am bringing this to all of you is I believe that this transformational learning tool could be highly beneficial for athletes, coaches, and parents within their experience of sports and in their everyday lives. This is really what I am passionate about doing in life—I want to use sports as a container to support athletes, coaches, and parents in their growth and development. This course will be impactful for anyone at any age to make a beneficial change in their lives. I would love to take this course with some of you, get some feedback on how it went for you, and learn how you feel the work could apply to your life within athletics.
There are an infinite number of reasons for us to take this course! Athletes—maybe you want to learn to have more self-discipline, or motivation to practice more on your own, or confidence that you can make a clutch play, or learn to be a better teammate. Coaches—maybe you want to be a better leader for your players, or a better communicator with your parents, or be more organized, or stop yelling at referees. Parents—maybe you want to stop putting pressure on your child to succeed, or want to have more fun watching your child play, or get along with the other parents better, or be more supportive for your child’s passions and goals. Whatever the big change is that you want to make, whether it is related to sports or not, this workshop will show you how to do it.
Are you in for this awesome experience? If so, please follow the instructions below:
1. Optional online survey - support my educational exploration of how this type of work done by by Kegan and Lahey (2004) might apply those of us who are highly involved the sports world as athletes, coaches, and parents (all of your information will remain confidential and not be shared with anyone):

2. Online class registration - Sign up for the free online class here:
3. Follow up survey - I will send you a quick follow up survey to see how this class benefitted you in your athletic experience and in your everyday life.
Many of us want to see athletics continue to evolve into a more well-rounded and educational experience for our youth. This is a great chance for us to learn from some top people in their fields and take what they have to teach us for our own lives and into our athletic community. Thank you for your support in this investigation and I look forward to hearing about your experience in this program!
Kind regards,


Robert Kegan

Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.  The recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, his thirty years of research and writing on adult development have influenced the practice of leadership development, executive coaching, and change management throughout the world.

At Harvard alone, he is regularly asked to teach in executive development programs in the Schools of Business, Government, Education and Medicine. His seminal books include The Evolving Self, In Over Our Heads, The Way We Talk, and Immunity to Change, which is now available to 2.2 billion readers in their native language. One of twenty--among Harvard’s 2300 faculty--honored by the president of the university for his outstanding teaching, Bob has been on the faculty of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Conference, and had his work featured in such diverse periodicals as The Harvard Business Review, The New York Times Sunday Business Section  and Oprah Magazine.

This fall he was the only thought-leader in the world asked to speak at all three premier conferences devoted to executive development: the Harvard Coaching Conference, the International Leadership Association Conference, and the International Coaching Federation Conference.

For the past several years, Bob has served as a trusted advisor to CEOs in the private and public sectors in the US, South America, Europe, and Asia. His clients are among the most recognized and respected leaders in the world. A husband, father, and grandfather, he is also an avid poker player, an airplane pilot, and the unheralded inventor of the “Base Average,” a superior statistic for gauging offensive contribution in baseball.


Lisa Lahey

Lisa Lahey is Co-director of Minds At Work, a consulting firm serving businesses and institutions around the world, and faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.  

She teaches in executive development programs at Harvard University and Notre Dame, and she is regularly asked to present her work throughout the world, most recently in China, Kazakhstan, and New Zealand. Her seminal books, How The Way We Talk Can Change The Way We Work (2001), and Immunity to Change (2009) have been published in many languages. Lisa has been on the faculty of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Conference, and had her work featured in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times Sunday Business Section, Oprah Magazine and Fast Company.

Lahey and long-time collaborator Robert Kegan are credited with a breakthrough discovery of a hidden dynamic, the “immunity to change,” which impedes personal and organizational transformation. Her work helps people to close the gap between their good intentions and behaviors. This work is now being used by executives, senior teams and individuals in business, governmental, and educational organizations in the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia. Lahey and Kegan recently received the Gislason Award for exceptional contributions to organizational leadership, joining past recipients Warren Bennis, Peter Senge, and Edgar Schein.

For the past several years, Lisa has served as a trusted advisor and executive coach to leaders in the private and public sectors worldwide. A passionate pianist and hiker, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons.