#24 How To Give 100% Without Fear with Dino MARCAN

January 24, 2015 | Athlete Case Study

#24 How To Give 100% Without Fear with Dino MARCAN

Beyond Athletic Podcast | Dino MARCAN

Croatian | IMG Academy in Florida, First Freshman in Ohio State University History as an NCAA All-American, Current Tennis Professional On the ATP Tour

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Today we will be talking with a tennis athlete, more of them to come in the near future. We will discuss how the will to be great is bigger than just talent alone and how important it is to give 100% effort without the fear of failure. Dino will share with us some of the challenges that came his way and how he handled them. He explains how helpful psychologists, coaches, and trainers are great people to have on your team and in your corner through the tough times of being an athlete, they are there to help you get better in every aspect.


  • Born, Dino MARCAN, from Rijeka Croatia in 1991. Currently living in Zagreb, Croatia.

  • Went to IMG Academy in Florida and played in all 4 Grand Slams for Juniors. Best single result was the quarter final of the Junior Wimbledon, and winning the Junior Roland Garros in Doubles. He then attended Ohio State University on a full scholarship.

  • He was #1 In the Croatia at under 14 yrs old & champion indoors/outdoors at the Under 16s Team European Championships.

  • Was the highest recruited international player in 2009. After one year of college, he got to the semi finals of the indoor championships and the quarter finals of the NCAA finals. Was also named an NCAA ALL-American as a freshman.

  • As a professional, he was won 4 future’s tournaments and has competed at a number of challengers in the ATP. So far highest single ranking in the world is 289, and 151 in doubles.

  • In high hopes of having a better ranking in 2015 and plans on competing in New York at the US Open doubles.

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The respect he receives from other players around the world.


“It's the will of the man ain’t the skill of the man”

Biggest Mentors in Life and Sport:

Goran Prpić, Nick Bollettieri, Roger Federer, Paul Annacone, Boris Becker

Key Discussion Points:

  • What was one of your biggest struggles or failures?

  • Was there a psychological change that lead up to a path that seemed to go downhill?

  • Is there a match you remember where you made a key mistake that was a result of fear?

  • What was your biggest “light-bulb” moment?

  • Why did you choose to go to school in the US?

  • What are the differences between tennis in Croatia and your experiences in the US?

  • What is the statistic for an average amount of playing years for a Pro in Tennis?

  • What has you most excited these days in terms of projects, goals, etc?

Key Lessons:

  • We can’t just rely on our talents, we need to have the will to put forth the effort

  • A failure/loss doesn’t have to take a huge mental toll on your career

“At the end of the day you realize that the most important things in the world are not playing the US Open or being 290 or 250, as long as you stay healthy and as long as you make your life easy and you stay happy, a failure can be a really small part of your career.” DM @ 14:18

  • Focus more on the process, and results will eventually follow

  • After a failure, try to get up and move forward right away

  • Avoid the fear of failure and always give your 100% full effort

“When I started working with some sport psychologists, we realized that there was actually a fear of failing and giving a 100% of yourself and then by working with them and started competing 100% stop caring about the outcome...I started focussing on the progress and not about the outcome.” DM @ 17:05

  • Get as many people in your corner as possible, because all advice could be helpful

  • When you find something that you’re good at, that you enjoy, pursue it, see where it can take you

  • Give yourself the right amount of time to transition into your professional career

“To the young players out there, if you are not 100% sure that you have the right things to make it fast and not sure that you can be top 100 in the next year, go to college take 1, 2, or 3 years off, it’s a great transition from Juniors to Pro’s, that’s why I attended Ohio State University.” DM @ 23:48

  • The United States gives you the opportunity to compete at a high level and receive a good education at the same time.

  • As a tennis player, once your career is finished, there are many job opportunities.

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What’s the best advice that you have ever received?
When nothing goes well focus on footwork and watching the ball

What’s one of the first things you do when you arrive at a new arena to play?
I hit 20 minutes down the middle

What personal habit do you have that you believe contributes most to your success?
Hard Work; getting up at 7 am in the off season, 2 sessions of 2 hours and 1.5 hour more in the gym, watching what you eat, taking protein shakes, and when you get to the tournament, spending 4-5 hours a day in the club, thinking about your matches, preparing yourself, it takes a lot of time OFF the court as well as ON the court

Sleep & Morning ritual:
I have to get at least 8 hours of sleep, I take quick and easy breakfast (cereal/yogurt), pack my stuff, leave the house, and I show up for practice at 10am, that is when I work the best.

What is one way that you’d like to improve as a person?
I would like to be more clean and organized (apartment). I would like to take my sport discipline and apply it to my personal life.

How do you feel that playing other sports, soccer and golf, help you with tennis?
Soccer helps me with my lungs, when I get back on the tennis court, I can’t afford to lose breath, and golf relaxes me and gets me into a quiet place where I can really work on my well being.

What book would you give away as a gift and why?
Brad Gilbert, Winning Ugly  ("it can teach you so much about tennis and competing in sports in general")
 An Autobiography of Muhammad Ali and Mutant Message Down Under

How do you like to improve athletes and add value to their lives?
I’ve helped three younger tennis players, I also gave away 20 shirts and 20 shorts to a young player from Rijeka and seeing his reaction and how proud he was made me feel happy. I stay in contact with these young players and give them someone to look up to and give them advice on the game and what tournaments to sign up for.

If you had a redo,and had all of the resources you have now,  what would have done differently to reach success?
I would definitely have had less moments of desperation, depression, and uncertainty, more self esteem and more self respect as a player.

Guest's Definition of an Athlete?

"A professional person, who takes good care of their career, reliable, everywhere on time, prepared, be a role model to the young kids and young athletes and someone who can make this world a better place by using their popularity for a good cause and bring great motivation to the world. "

Follow Dino:

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Ryan Jay Owens

I was born in Greeley, Colorado USA. I grew up in Chicago/Evanston, IL. I began playing volleyball at the age of 16 @Evanston Township High School. When I graduated high school at age 17, I went on to play for two different NAIA colleges... Dominican University and Kendall College. I also played 2 years for a junior college (JC) in southern California, Orange Coast College. I had offers after my JUCO from the universities of Hawaii, USC, Pepperdine, Long Beach and UC-Irvine... I played PRO volleyball in several different countries all come with their own unique stories and time periods that I cover in my personal site: www.RyanJayOwens.com The countries include: EUROPE: Finland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece 3x, Germany ASIA/MIDDLE EAST: Qatar NORTH AMERICA: Puerto Rico 2x SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil My interests outside of volleyball: Art, Design, Architecture, Cinema, Music, Wine, Traveling, Motorcycles (I miss my R1 Raven back home...), Computers, Drawing and Fashion. I have owned and run an agency for pro & college players called EliteVolley.com since 2006. "We work with women, mostly, including top exclusive players like Jennifer Tamas (Olympic Silver Medalist)." Check out the official fanpage on FB www.facebook.com/EliteVolley