Resiliency Series: Grit—Moving Beyond Failure

Grit is an important part of resiliency. What does “grit” mean to you? Deanna Marincic shares her thoughts on what this character trait means in this second interview “Grit: Moving Beyond Failure.”

Resiliency Series: How To Handle Stress & Pressure

Resiliency is a big key when it comes to what we need to help build in our kids. It helps us work through adversity and build grit. Take a look at our first interview with Deanna Marincic, licensed clinical psychotherapist and owner of the Gals Institute. Stay tuned for more interviews!

It Takes A Village…

It takes a village.

It Takes A Village…

By Joe Ulm

It takes a village.I was 22 years old when my first son was born. Back then I used to scoff at the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”  because I believed having too many people involved in a child’s life was risky; it was more apt to water down the base of morals, values, and ethics I was trying to instill in my son than it was to help. Plus, I believed teaching all these things was my responsibility – it’s what parents were for.  Looking back on it now, I can see where I was coming from, but I also see that thinking this way makes a lot of assumptions that aren’t true. 


  • It assumes parents have all the knowledge and tools they need to raise kids from the start
  • It assumes parents have absolute control over the people their kids are around
  • It assumes kids will always listen
  • It assumes kids won’t disagree and/or develop their own opinions 

The biggest assumption it makes is that parents don’t need help. And that’s dangerous because if we’re committed to raising our kids the best we can, we will need help, advice, and support along the way.  Whether that help comes from family, friends, professionals, books, doctors, teachers, or the Internet, we don’t really parent alone.   

The world has changed a lot in 28 years.  Since I was 22.  I think differently now. Now that I’ve been blessed with a daughter and another son. 
Now that I realize how lucky I was to have so many wonderful people around me all those years ago; now that I still have so many wonderful people around me today. 

After 28 years, this is what “a village” means to me today and I’m glad to be a part of it. I just use the word “United” instead. 😊

We are committed to providing resources to our PSU families, so we can learn and grow together. This is why we are bringing in the experts to share their thoughts. Don’t forget to check out the interview with our last expert, licensed psychologist, Patric Mattek. Stay tuned for videos coming soon from our next expert Deanna Marincic, a licensed clinical psychotherapist.

Unusual Belief

Unusual Belief

By Joe Ulm

Belief is an odd thing. It suggests a confidence in something that’s not specifically justifiable. It disregards “the norm” in favor of the less probable; the unusual. That’s curious to me. Why would anyone do that?  

I’ve been ruminating on this idea of belief and how critical it is for our kids following my conversations with Patric Mattek and Deanna Marincic because it’s so relevant to all the topics we discussed:

  • The growing prevalence of anxiety in both children and adults
  • How anxiety affects performance in all areas of our lives (on the soccer field, at work, at home, etc.)
  • Tools both parents and kids use to manage our innate desire to feel a sense of control in our lives
  • What it means for our kids to be resilient and why it’s so important 

All these are affected by what we believe – and in particular, the belief we have in ourselves. Granted, this isn’t a particularly novel concept, but for all the novelty it may lack, it seems odd to me that it should be so rare. Here again, that’s curious to me. Yet, I’m also encouraged because we can help our kids with all these things. We can provide options, ideas, tools and resources to help with anxiety, confidence, performance, control, and more. We can do this even though it’s not “the norm” for a soccer club and even though it’s unusual. Because we believe.

I don’t have an answer about where belief comes from, but the one thing I do know is that it’s as important as ever. Maybe even essential. For our kids. For us. For our community.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the conversations with Patric and the upcoming video series with Deanna. If you do, I think you’ll see where I’m coming from… and how important it is that we stay United.

Misunderstanding Talent

Misunderstanding Talent

By Joe Ulm

Every time I hear the word “talent” used I cringe a little.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching people do things with an exceptional level of aptitude, but rather, it’s what the word implies that bothers me. Specifically, when someone is described as “talented” it often suggests that they were born with their talent; as if their ability were somehow bestowed upon them by providence alone. Although some people are truly advantaged in one area or another based on their biology, “advantaged” is a long way away from “talented.” 

Simply put – none of us were talented at anything the day we were born. We had to take action to become good at whatever we’ve become good at. We had to work hard, learn, fail, try again, and put in more work until we created a skill (or set of skills) that was so unusually good, that someone considered us “talented.” This process was almost certainly difficult at times, requiring us to try again and again even when it was uncertain that we would succeed. 

This is where talent comes from; from desire and belief.  From perseverance and darn hard work. So yes, talent is an amazing thing and it’s something we should encourage and support. But we should never do so without acknowledging that the path to becoming talented is paved in a lot of failures and hard work. Otherwise, we send a message to our kids that if they weren’t born with a specific ability, they should give up on it. And that wouldn’t just be wrong in my opinion, but we’d be also doing more harm than good. 

Stay safe, stay United.

Sports Psychology & Lifelong Success

sports psychology

Sports Psychology and Lifelong Success

By Joe Ulm

sports psychologyOur mission at PSU is to help players be successful. However they define success, we want to help them get there. The mission was created based on two beliefs:

  1. Sports teach. Kids who play sports are constantly learning important lessons – teamwork, communication, sportsmanship, effort, hard work, leadership, etc.
  2. If we create the right environment, we can help kids learn and apply these lessons within a framework of their own success. (link to article I wrote on 12/7 – attached)

Throughout this past year, we’ve implemented various programs to support our mission, and many of those programs have gone well. It’s confirmed our belief that we truly can help each player understand and apply principles of success to all areas of their lives – academics, soccer, and whatever other interests they have. Yet, there’s one piece that has been missing. You. 

The greatest influence in the life of a child is almost always their parents. So next week, we’ll be running our first video series for parents. The series is from an interview I did with Dr. Patric Mattek, Sports Psychologist and owner of PKM Clinical Solutions where we discussed a variety of topics including:

  • What Sports Psychology is (and how it works)
  • How anxiety is often the factor that limits on-field performance
  • How parents can best support their son or daughter’s sports experience – and the one thing parents should never do     

It was a fascinating discussion, and it’s one I think many of you will enjoy. I’m lining up other interviews now, so if there’s a topic you’d like to hear about, e-mail me at:

Until then, stay safe, stay United…