Welcome Home to Sanity in Sport

If you’ve been waiting for a book on youth, interscholastic and intercollegiate sport that honors and addresses the need for cooperation among student-athletes, parents and coaches—with a focus on what’s best for the student-athlete, welcome home.

The 2013 editions of The Quality of Effort and The Quality of Effort Workbook invite student-athletes, parents and coaches to observe and explore their unique and necessary roles in bringing about a healthy athletic experience. Reggie Marra writes through the soul of a poet-athlete-teacher-caregiver, and kid who got cut from the team he later went on to coach.

He takes us by the hand and challenges us to inquire into our own values, behaviors, and relationships within the complexity of the 21st-Century environments in which we live, learn, work and play. If we’re willing to take up the challenge, this inquiry helps us see ourselves and all those heroes and villains out there from increasingly comprehensive and balanced perspectives.

“Preaching” only what he practices, in The Quality of Effort, Reggie Marra authentically engages each of us to become increasingly more aware of our stories—the interpretations we choose, and how they affect, and even effect, what we do next as parents, coaches, student-athletes and human beings.

While focused on and in contemporary youth, interscholastic and intercollegiate sports, Marra calls on both ancient and modern wisdom: The Consolation of Philosophy, Spiral Dynamics, Man’s Search for Meaning and the Bhagavad Gita, and invites us into the worlds of Mary Catherine Bateson and Ken Wilber; Bob Knight and Boethius; Joan Benoit Samuelson and Don Beck; and Sacred Heart High School’s 1979-1980 boys’ junior varsity basketball team.

If you’re willing to explore the questions he raises, you may find that at its core The Quality of Effort is all about your favorite topic—you.

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The Everyday Athlete

“While everyone is obsessed with the ‘All-American,’ Reggie Marra cares about the everyday athlete. As I read The Quality of Effort, I had constant flashbacks to my high school playing days. I know that if I had had this book back then, all of my athletic experiences would have been more productive and more enjoyable. This book will hit home for anyone who has ever competed in sports.”
– Mike Breen, Sportscaster, New York, on the 1st edition

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“…a map to tomorrow’s competitive edge…”

“The Quality of Effort has helped me reinterpret my career as a professional athlete – providing both relief and direction. The book’s message would have been invaluable years ago when I was starting out as well as at the height of my career. Reggie Marra offers a map to tomorrow’s competitive edge, a map that requires effort – not necessarily in doing more drills or pushups, but in taking responsibility for all aspects of your approach to life.”
– Ryan Leech, Professional Mountain Biker (Retired) and Professional Integral Coach,™ http://ryanleech.com/

Integrated, Balanced and Always Expanding…

From Fred Krawchuk, Retired U.S. Special Forces Colonel and RAND Consultant:

“As a former college athlete and longtime leader of high-performance military units, I recommend Reggie Marra’s work with unbridled enthusiasm. Whether you are a student-athlete, parent or coach, this book’s proven practices will greatly enhance your performance in and enjoyment of youth, interscholastic and intercollegiate sports. Reggie’s savvy discussion of integrated training, competent coaching, and the importance of a proper training environment helps the reader clearly visualize a successful path of development. Following this comprehensive approach to training will not only produce better athletes, but also happier and healthier citizens as our youth grow and take their place in the world. I hope for the sake of student-athletes everywhere that this book gets the appreciation it deserves. How much happier we would all be if we could travel a healthy path of development supported by quality practices, competent and caring coaches/teachers, and a nurturing learning environment.”

From The Quality of Effort, and The Quality of Effort Workbook, Chapter 5, “The Varying Natures of Success and Justice”:

“Not everyone gets to be a professional, or even a collegiate or high school athlete, or a movie star, recording artist, reality show contestant, or some other locally, nationally or globally famous celebrity. When we have the courage to work toward our ultimate dream with a high quality of effort and we fall short, we really do need something to catch us. The love and support of family and friends are indispensable, but the safest net is within each of us—a truly integrated, balanced, and always expanding view of the world. The ability to recognize, appreciate and embrace serendipitous events and people can be a strong component of such a worldview.

“Sometimes we don’t get what we truly (think we) want and we get lots of what we don’t (think we) want. Just as often some very worthwhile, unexpected things come our way; we can enrich our lives by learning to recognize them and accept the good they bring.”

Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra

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Why Am I Doing This?

From The Quality of Effort, Chapter 10Motivation: Why Am I Doing This?

“In the broadest sense, whether we look at species development over thousands of years, or individual development from birth through infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, humans can develop from having no conscious sense of an individual self, to worldviews that can be described as self- or ego-centered, then ethno- or group-centered, then world-centered, and then universe- or everything-centered. We might abbreviate these stages of development, respectively, as “huh?” “me,” “us,” “all of us,” and “all there is.” Put in other words, we can develop from not yet having a sense of identity, to just identifying with our individual self (common), to identifying with a group or groups such as family, school, team, religion, nation, etc. (very common) to truly identifying with all the people on the planet (rare), to identifying with everything there is (very rare). It’s important to note here that anyone who reads this book can understand the concepts of me, us, all of us and all there is. To take just one example, however, understanding what “world-centered” means is very different from truly orienting or living every day from a world-centered perspective.”

Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra

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Yo, Adrian

From The Quality of Effort, Chapter 11 – Athletics and Life: A Permanent, Positive Relationship:

“In the movie Rocky, Adrian and Rocky spend their first date at a skating rink after Rocky bribes the maintenance man for some ice time on Thanksgiving night.  During their first few minutes on the ice, Rocky tells Adrian that his father told him he’d better learn to use his body because his brains wouldn’t get him anywhere.  Adrian laughs and says that her mother gave her the opposite advice—she’d better learn to use her brain because she didn’t have much of a body.

“Both funny and poignant, the scene allowed each character to share a somewhat awkward self-perception, and it also portrayed the strong sense of “perceived specialization” that characterizes so many of our journeys. We’re either smart or dumb, quick or slow, athletes or scholars, liberals or conservatives, thin or plump, peaceful or angry.  We do not allow ourselves to be human beings who happen to have certain interests and talents, who have chosen certain careers or vocations, who engage sports and spirituality, and for the sake of an example, have a knack for carpentry but no clue when it comes to cooking—or vice versa.  Don’t get me wrong—the differences do exist, relatively speaking, but the differences are not who we are.

“People seem easier to sort out, classify and understand if we group them by size, shape, color, sex, wardrobe, profession, ethnicity, religion, and other arbitrary characteristics.  If you’re a plumber or a surgeon, we know what that means, or if you’re Catholic, or short, or don’t believe in God, we know what that means as well.  While you’re in school, you may be a jock or a techie, or a goth, or a preppie, or a loner, or … you name it (the labels get outdated and updated pretty quickly).  If you’re lucky, perhaps you’re in touch with that part of yourself that allows you to move easily among your classmates in all the various groups. Regardless of the category or categories you embrace, or into which others place you, the groupings don’t really matter except in people’s minds, and while that can affect perceptions, it does not affect who and what you truly are. Why not strike a balance?  Why not develop athletically, as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, professionally and spiritually, as you grow chronologically older?”

Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra

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Nurturing Today’s Young Athlete

The Quality of Effort inspires coaches and parents to divert their eyes from the scoreboard and focus on nurturing the heart, mind and body of today’s young athlete. Reggie Marra offers a blueprint that encourages our children to become not only better athletes but better people. He delivers a powerful message filled with humanity and honest answers to questions that we sometimes think but may not want to ask. The Quality of Effort is a wonderful read and I would recommend it to anyone who works with kids, is a kid, or is living vicariously through their kids (you know who you are).”
– Anthony Perrone, VP, Challenger Division, Cortland American Little League, on the 2013 edition

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