WYC 098 – Multi-Sport Athletes – Daniel ‘The Honeybadger’ Hayes talks Goal-Setting & Positive Visualization

Daniel Hayes is a top ranked middleweight boxing prospect and Trinidad & Tobago’s boxing ambassador.
Growing up Daniel played a wide variety of sports ranging from Soccer, Basketball, Football, Track and Field, Baseball and Swimming. At just 8 years old he started playing basketball and continued playing throughout college. At 16 he was already a certified lifeguard and a highly recruited athlete in multiple sports. In his senior year of high school he was recruited to play basketball for several NCAA Division 1 and 2 schools.
Hayes however decided to attend Thompson Rivers University where he and his childhood best friend were offered athletic scholarships.
Currently on his World Championship journey, Hayes fights out of the world famous Wild Card Boxing Club, home to superstar world champions Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.
Instagram: @ThisIsDHayes
Twitter: @ThisIsDHayes
Facebook: @ThisIsDHayes


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‘It’s usually what we’re hesitant or fearful of doing that leads to our biggest strides and growth’

‘The Honey Badger’ – the important difference between hard work and talent

  • Honey badgers are fierce, scrappy animals- that is the type of athlete you should aspire to be

Motivation, self discipline and nutrition

  • Water is huge!

Impactful coach

  • Daniel had a high school basketball coach who benched him because of his attitude – it really changed Daniel’s approach to team sports

Training and skill development – Keeping it fun

  • Setting goals is fun. There is a positive dopamine effect when you cross something off a list. Track progression and check off milestones along the way.
  • Coach K on the 2008 Redeem Team – Reminded his team that in 20 years they are going to look back and deeply miss those competitive situations, so thrive on it in the present.

Developing Self-confidence

  • Visualization is huge
  • Self-mantra and inner monologue – ‘I am going to make this shot’

Developing culture

  • Constant accountability to one another
  • Setting team goals – and rewarding positive team-first behavior
  • High-fives, huddling as a team before a free-throw, anything that pulls the team together during the game should be a priority

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • The Selway Family Foundation – Underprivileged youth scholarships
  • Mentoring – Daniel loves helping younger athletes avoid some of the mistakes he made when growing up

The One that got away

  • Daniel got fouled at the end of a basketball game, and his head was full of negative images and thoughts: ‘If I miss this…’ – and he went on to miss both free throws. He learned the power of positive visualization and staying present and in the moment.

Best borrowed or stolen idea

  • ‘I don’t know if you’re going to win this fight, but I know you’re going to come out of it a better fighter just because of the experience you have gained’ – This was huge for Daniel because it took the pressure off winning and allowed him to just enjoy the competition and do his best.

Favorite coaching or leadership quote/book

  • Ray Lewis Ted talk – Persevering through pain
  • Book: Rafa by Rafael Nadal – talks about how he had faulty mental processing before he beat Roger Federer and how he overcame it

Daniel Hayes

Parting Advice

  • ‘It’s usually what we’re hesitant or fearful of doing that leads to our biggest strides and growth’

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