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Late-Life Tennis Champ and Performance Coach Can Help You Improve Your “Game”

When Bob Litwin won the world championship for his age division in tennis in Australia, he spent a few days elated at being the number one player in the world.

After two days on top of the world, he says he began to realize something was nagging at him.

“I knew I was not the best player I can be. If I’m not even the best player I can be, how can I be the best player in the world?” he asked himself, explaining his creeping lack of satisfaction with his “win.” He would have to define “performance” for himself.

Litwin has combined his own experiences as an elite athlete who came to competitive tennis late in the game with his work as a performance coach to write “Live the Best Story of Your Life.” Litwin will discuss his book on Sunday at the Boulder JCC’s Local Authors/Local Stories celebration, and share his thoughts on how anyone can improve their “game,” whatever that might be.

“I love having a platform to help people learn about improving,” he says. “Performance coaching is really about helping people get out of the swamp. We all have different reasons for wanting to improve. It can mean money or self-esteem.  Here in Boulder, there seems to be more people looking to excel in less materialistic ways than in New York. But in the end, who’s to judge, as long as people are doing better in their lives? There are different reasons that take us to the top of the mountain.”

Litwin does not simply dispense advice tempered by experience. He has created a process in which each client is required to write their story, which usually includes a lot of negative emotion, excuses for failure and patterns of behavior that seem fixed. Then Bob coaches them to write the story of who they want to be, how they see their life looking and feeling once they have become their most successful self. Then it’s one step in front of the other to make the change to a new, improved story.

“I really think you need to write it down,” Bob adds. “It’s critical to see it in a more detached way. You know, we are all really good at diagnosing other people,” he laughs, adding that “the observed self” is much trickier.

Many of the people Bob works with are already extraordinary people – hedge fund managers and track stars – “who are looking to squeeze out an extra 2%. These are people who are really excellent, and don’t hesitate to do the work. They recognize ‘resistance’ as something to be broken through.”

But Bob also realized that many people who need help can’t afford a performance coach. His book, he hopes, will allow readers to coach themselves as they write a more positive story that instigates needed change.

In his book, Bob dispels the commonly held idea that “change is hard.” In fact, we are constantly changing, highly adaptive creatures capable of huge improvements in our lives, he argues. Some people, himself included, thrive on change, and crave the excitement and opportunity that change brings.

Bob went through a few traumatic years, which he recounts in his book. His wife of many years died of cancer, and he suffered a hip fracture that he was told would end his tennis ambitions.  Now remarried and competing at the top of the 70-year-old division, he says he has to model what he teaches his clients.

“I have to do the work myself. When my wife was dying, it wasn’t a happy time. But I faced it with the attitude that good and bad are the same thing. You have to welcome ‘what is.’ I had to say, this is what is in my life right now, and I have an opportunity to find out who I can be.”

Visit Bob at (www.boblitwin.com)

REGISTER FOR LOCAL AUTHORS/LOCAL STORIES
1:00 – 1:30 pm | Author Open House – Meet our local authors

1:30 – 2:00 pm | HaSifria: Boulder JCC Library Dedication

2:00 – 3:45 pm | Library Tours

2:15 – 2:45 pm | Breakout Session #1 (Sue Baer & Jane Stein, Gordon Gamm, Rabbi Jamie Korngold)

2:15 – 3:15 pm | A Film by Rabbi Marc Soloway

3:00 – 4:30 pm | PJ Library Storywalk* on Milk and Honey Farm

3:00 – 3:30 pm | Breakout Session #2 (Don Koplen, Bob Litwin)

3:30 – 4:00 pm | Book Signings

4:00 – 6:00 pm | Screening (#1) of “The Last Goldfish”

7:00 – 9:00 pm | Screening (#2) of “The Last Goldfish”

  • Sue Baer and Jane Stein will discuss “Just Elliot,” a simple but groundbreaking story about a six-year-old boy with autism attempting to explain the challenges of his life on the spectrum.
  • Rabbi Jamie Korngold aka the Adventure Rabbi will lead family story time. Sadie learns why the tree-planting holiday is celebrated in winter and finds her own special ways to celebrate it in “Sadie’s Snowy Tu B’Shevat.”
  • Gordon Gamm will discuss “The Book of Nones,” a work in progress that explores Humanistic Judaism and deals with how religion affects our lives and society.
  • Rabbi Marc Soloway‘s family pilgrimage becomes the opportunity for onscreen reflection in “In Search of MLK – A Family Journey to Lithuania.” Q&A with Rabbi Marc to follow the screening.
  • Bob Litwin spent thousands of hours researching the best minds in the field of human potential for his book, “Live the Best Story of Your Life.” Harness the power of your personal story and provide a guide to create positive shifts in any area of your life.
  • Don Koplen‘s “Jewboy of the South,” written in the first person, is a captivating, entertaining, and often uproarious novel about a teenager who rebels against bigotry in 1960s Virginia.
  • Su Goldfish tells the story of a daughter’s search for her lost family, which stretches from Australia to Trinidad and North America to WW2 Germany – and to Boulder – in “The Last Goldfish.” With Su Goldfish in person.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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