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Tony Segreto interviews Mike Shula about growing up with a legendary father and the role he played as Mike competed as a young athlete. He also addresses youth athletics today and the vital role that coaches and parents have, as their athletes and children take the playing field.
Listen to the interview here
In this entertaining and informative interview Tony Segreto speaks with Don and Mike Shula about the roles they played as Mike navigated his way through youth athletics and onto the NFL.
Listen to the interview here.
Hear Tony Segreto’s personal interview with legendary Dolphins football Coach Don Shula. Coach Shula talks about his days playing as a boy and advises coaches and parents who have their children in youth athletics.
Listen to Coach Shula’s interview here.
By Dave Shula
My seven & four year old grandsons are bombarded with technology every day. Cable TV, Smart Phones, Tablets, video games, are everywhere all the time. I watch my son & daughter-in-law struggle figuring out how to balance the need to stay current with the technology but not let it consume their kids. There’s no question that tomorrow’s leaders will be much more worldly than my generation because of the exposure they have had to the internet and its’ resources. But will they have the benefit of playing sports in a positive program that promotes sportsmanship along with the benefits of physical activity & competition?
I joined Tony Segreto Sports to help them find that balance by encouraging positive sporting experiences. Sports of all kinds have so many life lessons imbedded in them along with the physical benefits. Study after study shows how important it is in overall development to be active. The increased blood flow in the body and brain encourages growth, relieves stress, and sends positive thoughts and feelings throughout our system. Goal setting, sacrifice, competition, pushing through self-doubt and persevering are great lessons. Team sports teach social skills, celebrating wins together and accepting blame individually, and the beauty of coming together as one.
As in most endeavors there are those who do it right and then there are those who go too far. Parents, coaches, and kids all need guidance in knowing how much is too much. Where can they go for unbiased information that is given strictly for their own good? TSS will be a trusted resource for them to get answers. Our contacts throughout the sporting world along with our own experiences provide resources to lead parents, coaches, & kids in the right direction. I’m looking forward to being a part of helping enhance the sports experience for my grandsons & our youngest generation.
By Tony Segreto
My first entry comes as a result of what I witnessed one year ago, where 2 High School coaches proved to me this website is needed.
Not only did they mismanage their team, they caused the drama they preach to their team they don’t want.
Coaches are leaders and the most effective leader is one that builds the team up.
What I witnessed on this February night was the epitome of how not to lead a HS Softball team.
Time has since tempered my disgust for how a young HS team was treated, but my belief on how young athletes should be led has only grown stronger.That night, one year ago, coaches brought their team back to campus after winning a game (a comeback win), sent them to the field, turned the lights on, and ran them for 45 minutes. All because they felt they needed it. Girls got sick, most were in tears, while others simply quit. Soon after, in the middle of the season, the coaches resigned.
Is that the example we want impressionable youth to be subject to? I certainly don’t. Unfortunately, we see this scene more often than not.
I sit here today as one of the proud founders of Tony Segreto Sports. We are passionate about creating a movement where we put balance and true realistic perspective back into youth athletics -From coaches to parents to the athletes themselves
We strongly believe that success should be measured not by wins and losses, but by developing a love for the sport or sports they participate in.
No level of success can be achieved without passion for what we (all) do. It’s up to us as adult leaders to help our youth find that passion and develop it, not tear it apart.
A wise teacher of youth athletics recently told me that when he speaks to coaches he says success should not be measured by how many games you win, but by how many of your athletes sign up to play next season.
We invite you to join our movement. We plan on launching our radio show and podcasts in the first quarter of 2016. Most importantly we want to be interactive with you. So please feel free to contact us and share your stories and experiences and become part of what we believe can be impactful in a world that desperately needs it. The only way we can make a true impact in the lives of our young athletes is to all come together to share ideas, and personal experiences. We look forward to hearing from you.
This past Friday I had a book signing at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, IN. I arrived early on Friday, and smiled as I watched many of the students walking between classes, their eyes focused on the sidewalk, thinking about their next assignment after a long week of classes. I first went to the Basilica to pay tribute to God, and then I walked to the Grotto to light a candle in honor of Our Lady. I met some great people afterwards. One, a high school student, was on a trip with her father to decide where she would go to college. I also ran into a couple who came to Notre Dame for their anniversary, toughing out the cold wind as it blew across the quads.
As the day continued, the spirit among campus began to rise. The students seemed to relax as the day continued, realizing their week was just about done. Ushers helped visitors to see the many sights. The spirit of community grew as strangers became bonded for a common purpose, and that was a celebration of the values they held dear.
The celebration, of course, held its zenith on Saturday, the day of the Notre Dame football game against Wake Forest. Starting early in the morning, traditions abounded across the campus. One dorm would jump in freezing water to prove their toughness. The band played the Notre Dame Fight Song under the Golden Dome, and cheering squads pumped up the crowd. The players held mass, and then made their proverbial walk to the stadium, getting ready to move one more step towards their goal of a National Championship.
And all of Saturday’s celebration came the day after a horrific event the night before in Paris, France. Terrorists determined to spread fear attacked and killed over 100 innocent victims, people who were celebrating the end of a week and building relationships. It was all over the news that evening, and an aura of uncertainty hung over the earth.
The competition of sports does not compare to actual life or death situations, and many would say that sports is merely entertainment, that it should be minimalized compared to actual crises. Those that feel this way miss the point. The way we play the game is a celebration of our values, an act of Faith in our abilities and in each other. Sports is not in and of itself a religious experience, but it is definitely a venue that requires all aspects of the human condition, mind, body, and spirit, in order for one to be successful. Even more, many of the most violent sports have a brotherhood that lasts far beyond the game. How many NFL Players help their comrades through great organizations like Mike Ditka’s Gridiron Greats years after they are through playing? How many rugby players celebrate with their opponents at the local pub, only an hour after they beat each other senseless during their match? Sports creates bonds, even among those we oppose. There’s a unity within the celebration, and a togetherness of the human condition even when our team doesn’t prevail
Those that wish to spread terror would like to see all sports venues stop, because what they believe runs exactly contrary to the quality values we see in sports. Terrorists do not want unity. They want power. They do not build up people. They tear each other down. They do not have courage. They are instead cowards, fearing the greatness in others is greater than themselves. They are right. While these terrorists think they are strong, they are ultimately weak. The values of Faith inherent within sports builds the character and courage of young men and women all around the world who will grow to ultimately defeat them.
So while some will ask if there is room for faith in sports, the real question is whether there is room for sports in faith. I would answer that with a resounding “Yes!” as it is a tool to build community bonds, build individual character, and teach men and women exactly how to win. Then, that winning brings together a spirit that stands together united against those who would threaten to tear apart humanity.
In the end, God wins. As I discussed in my book “Triumph,” sports is one of His means to achieve His purpose. I would hope that as you celebrate the ceremony of sports this weekend that you reflect on the values we espouse within these ceremonies, that we stand united with those who are suffering, much as an athlete would with an injured teammate, and we continue the battle in our own lives to live lives of virtue, aiding each other, building each other up, and celebrating the match regardless of the outcome.
The world is full of contradictions. People throw around the word hypocrite to shame one another, but being hypocritical is a symptom of being human. As a sports fan there is no better contradiction than that of an American football player. Football fans want their heroes to behave like deranged mythical beasts on the field and men of Oxford as soon as they remove their helmets. I wanted that juxtaposition for myself at an early age. My father would lecture me on the contradiction of Hall of Fame Defensive End, Reggie White. “You just watch his interviews, son. He seems like the sweetest, funniest guy you’ll ever meet, but when he’s on that field… he’s a monster.” People are scared of monsters, people respect monsters, and people create folklore about monsters. Their strengths, their abilities, their individual moments of triumph and victory. I wanted to be a monster just like Reggie White.
I played youth league football in Louisville, Kentucky where basketball rules supreme and football is the state’s guilty pleasure. In Louisville, the most talented basketball players leave the state after their freshman year of high school to make something of their careers. Upon their departure, locals begin arguing their family ties to the local talent in hopes that they’ll become famous once their third cousin once removed gets drafted. For example, NBA Point Guard and Louisville local, Rajon Rondo dated my second cousin on my mother’s side’s best friend from Elementary school and has a Junior Prom picture with her at all times to prove it. So basically I grew up with Rondo and he still hasn’t replied to my Merry Christmas texts over the years. NFL stars native to Louisville such as Phil Simms, Deion Branch and Johnny Unitas are all spoken of for their greatness, before being subjected to the phrase (in a southern accent) “…did you know he was also an All-American Basketball Player?”
With this ideology ingrained in the fabric of football in Louisville, Kentucky, there is no pressure to become the next star at the collision sport. Football just is not a part of the culture of Kentucky. It’s important to have intrinsic motivation to be the best at whatever it is that you do. What I wanted, at a young age, was to become a monster on the football field and the transformation was quite the process. Lifting weights, running, eating, film study, eating, practicing, eating… this was all a part of my plan to becoming folklore. In youth league football I adopted the name Brandon “HITMAN” Newman. At the age of 8 the implications of the name HITMAN, death by hire, had not crossed my mind. Rather the simplicity of me hitting other people and hitting them hard became an obsession of mine. Football was fun. I was an overweight, funny, sweet kid off the field, but on the field, I was as dangerous as any Boogieman could ever be. During games referees would look at me and say, “This kid is crazy.” I worked hard by playing hard. Being a monster was so fun that I knew I wanted to continue playing the role in high school.
The act of juggling the persona of a good, respectable young man for twenty hours of the day and a crazed beast with the remaining four hours proved difficult a the age of 14. High School brought new friends, in a new building, with new rules and the only thing that felt familiar to me was football. My old friend football that did not mind me being physical and overtly powerful, in fact the sport rewarded me for my aggression. I was comfortable playing high school football because football felt like home. The hallways in high school have hundreds of more people in them than that of my middle school, but in football there was still only 22 players on the field.
Of those players on the field it was important to me that I was the most dominate. In high school football you have a lot of people wanting you to perform at your highest level. People such as your Mom, your Dad, your coaches, even your girlfriend is praying that every Friday night you are your teams’ shining star. All of those people play a role in your life and it’s successes and failures, but in high school football, if you aren’t the one demanding dominance from your self each game then you might as well sit in the stands. Intrinsic motivation is a globally recognized factor in success, but while playing high school football, if you do not want greatness for yourself then your time is better spent exploring other interests. I did not want to be the best player on my team. I wanted to be the best player in my city, the best player in my state. I wanted to be recognized as one of the most talented defensive lineman in the country.
Having this attitude at the age of 14 helped me be selected as a member of the 2008 U.S. All-American Army Team when I was 18 years old. In four short years I made my dreams come true of proving to myself that I could be one of the best defensive lineman in the country. Notable NFL players in that game include Quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Terrell Pryor, Wide Receiver Michael Floyd even four time NFL Pro Bowler Patrick Paterson, back when he went by Patrick Johnson. By this time I had verbally committed to continue my football career in college to the University of Notre Dame. That decision did not come to easily for me, but I am thankful everyday of my life that I made the correct choice to enrich my life on and off of the football field. The coaching staff at this storied Catholic University preached on the juxtaposition that I obsessed over at a young age. The Reggie White complex if you will, gentleman and scholar off of the field, worst nightmare on the field.
There is no greater contradiction than what is expected of football players in America today. To quote our New York based Superhero Spiderman, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” This reigns true for popular athletes around the world, whether in high school or at the professional level. Here at Tony Segreto Sports we want to give you the tools to be a walking contradiction. Be the person that people want to follow off the field and the person that people run away from on the field. My football career ended shortly after obtaining my college degree at the University of Notre Dame, but I picked up some secrets to success on the way and I am excited to share them with you. Intrinsic motivation can only take you so far in life, but here at Tony Segreto Sports we will provide you with other vital tools to help you benefit from your status as a student athlete. No matter when life asks you to hang up your jersey for good, what you do while wearing it will forever shape your future. Let’s get to work!
Wow, what is it like to be the mother of twin soccer players? Well, it is bittersweet now, as their soccer career is coming to a close and we prepare for prom, graduation, and college in the fall.
As any mom knows, your children are your life. I am no different. In high school, if you asked
me what I wanted to be, the answer never changed…a mom. So at the age of 30 my husband and I were blessed with twin boys Andrew and Brett.
Now, I was raised in a baseball family. My father coached the University of Miami, and I was
the ‘son’ he never had. I loved and still love college baseball. I was raised knowing how to
handle a loss or a win…with class. I never experienced crazy parents and adults living out their
athletic dreams through their children. Until our boys started organized sports.
My husband Peter was a soccer player, league ball, high school ball, college national champions. His father was a soccer coach. This was a foreign sport to me but when I met all the wonderful friends he had and shared in his love for soccer it was only fitting that at age 3 the boys started soccer. It was all about having fun, who was bringing the snacks and basically wearing them out so they would take LONG naps. Peter always said, as long as they learn something, get better, and make lifelong friends and memories, then it is a success. I truly believe this and it is something that we have instilled in our boys.
If I were to give any advice to parents wanting to get their children involved in organized sports, it would be to watch out for the other parents and the coaches. The kids will take the lead from them. There are wonderful coaches out there, and not so wonderful. There are great supportive parents and some crazed out parents.
Our boys played, soccer, baseball, hockey, and basketball. In middle school they narrowed their play to soccer. Soccer is a year round sport here in Florida. For Travel Ball you will try out the week after Memorial Day, teams will be chosen a week later, and you will probably play your
first tournament Labor Day weekend. On that note, you will also relinquish all holiday weekends to soccer. This is when all the tournaments are, and they are usually out of town.
Peter coached the kids in Optimist from 3-8 years and then we entered the Travel Ball Division.
He continued to coach their travel team until they were about 14; when he felt it was time for
them to have a coach that could take them to the next level.
The boys had to learn to juggle school, a social life and soccer. School is number one. We did
come across some clubs who were emphasizing the soccer more than the academics. One of our parents put it accurately by saying, ‘These kids are going to college, period. If they play soccer in addition, that is great, but academics are why they are there.’
- Be wary of the poachers. It sounds crazy, but there are people out there who will promise you and your child the moon and the stars if they switch clubs. The grass is NOT always greener.
- Speak to others about the different clubs and what they require of you and your children, their policy on grades (do they require you to hand in your report card), and of course the important financial commitment. Are there monthly fees in addition to registration? Plans for out of town travel?
- Be prepared to make a commitment. Usually 3-4 practices a week and a game on the weekend. Travel to tournaments, hotel stay, food and at times; a day off of work or school.
- “Don’t Feed the Bears”..this is what I refer to when speaking of the opposing harassing parents. They will scream and yell at the referees, they will scream and yell at your child, and in some cases they will yell for their child to hurt yours. Yes, been there. I try never to engage in conversation with these parents. They are silly and there is usually a field marshal on site that can be contacted to restrain such a parent. I have no problem with yelling positive things to YOUR child and their teammates, but there is no place for negativity, criticism or violence. Remember it is a game, and they are kids.
For all of those unfortunate occasions, there are 50 more that are wonderful proud moments. Like seeing your 18 year old boys, sharing snacks and drinks with their opponent in a rain delay before their game starts. Seeing them help an opposing player up after a collision, helping an opponent stretch on the field who is experiencing painful leg cramps.
We have created wonderful memories with our children, their friends and fellow soccer parents; and it is not over yet!