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02 Feb 2017 13:47
One Thing at a Time; Really? 
Some readers may question a cornerstone of these articles – that their conscious mind can only do one thing at a time. One woman wouldn’t believe it at first because she could knit and watch TV. Focusing on an engrossing TV program is a conscious activity while knitting is a habit programmed in the subconscious mind. So she is only doing one thing consciously – watching TV. Theoretically, someone could play the piano, tap each foot to a different beat, sing and watch TV because four of the five activities would be habits.

If you test this principle, and be honest with yourself, you will find that you cannot simultaneously concentrate on an absorbing TV program and talk to your spouse about a serious mix-up in your checking account. In fact, psychologists have proven you can only do one thing at a time consciously. If you are seriously talking on the phone and talking to your spouse about a mix-up in your checking account, you cannot concentrate on both at the same instant. (If you are wise, you will hang up and pay attention to your spouse.)

As smart as the human brain is, neuroscientists found that a surprisingly small area is set aside for conscious activity. To boot, when you attempt to do two conscious activities at once, that area in your brain shrinks. You flit back and forth between the two tasks usingless brainpower than you would doing just one task. Thus, you cannot do either task as well. Think about this; when you are absorbed in an important phone call and you really want to focus, you close your eyes to shut out distractions.

Not about pickleball, but this could save your life: When you drive a car and talk on your cell phone, you are carrying on a conversation with your conscious mind and driving with your subconscious mind. Because driving is a habit, it is possible to do both, but in an emergency, I can think of two reasons it’s not a good idea: 1) You may not become aware of danger as quickly as when driving consciously. In fact, you may not even see some hazards because you can be blind to unfamiliar objects; 2) Because conscious decisions have to be made before you act and since it takes a split second to make decisions, another second would be lost deciding what to say to the party on the phone and what to do with the cell phone in your hand.

Be safe – pull over to the curb to talk on your cell phone. If you are going to take risks, take them on the pickleball court.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel. [0613]


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20 Jun 2016 15:39
Try Harder? Play Worse! The Solution... 
You’re in a tournament and you’re playing badly. You’re ticked off at yourself. What are you going to do? Tell yourself to quit making mistakes? Will yourself to play better? Don’t bother; it won’t help; you’ll probably play worse. Instead, do the following:

1. Play in the Now -- Your conscious mind thinks in the past, present and future; whereas your subconscious only operates in the present. Since you want your subconscious to be dominant, keep your mind in the present. Don’t think about that snide remark your opponent made or the shot you missed – that’s the past. Don’t think about the consequences of hitting the ball long or about winning or losing -- that’s the future. Focus on the ball -- that’s the now.

2. Observe – Your conscious mind is the critic; it judges, discriminates and analyzes; whereas your subconscious mind accepts things literally. When you critique your strokes during a game, you bring your conscious mind to the forefront. To keep your conscious mind from taking over, don’t analyze your strokes, just observe them. If any adjustments are needed, your subconscious will make them -- unconsciously.

3. Watch the ball – Think about, and keep your eyes on, the ball. You can only focus on one thing at a time with your conscious mind. Focusing on the ball blocks negative thoughts, keeps your mind in the present and keeps your conscious mind from interfering with your subconscious mind.

4. Relax – Tension impedes court movement and thwarts good stroking. Top athletes don’t tense all their muscles while they jump, throw, catch or stroke – only the ones needed to do the job. Any additional flexing hinders performance. So loosen up. Take slow, deep breaths between points.

5. Act with confidence – You’ve spent weeks practicing your strokes and strategies. Your strokes are ingrained in your subconscious so you don’t have to think about them. Knowing your strokes are programmed in your subconscious gives you confidence that you can play as well, and better, than anyone in your bracket. Act with confidence; imagine you are confident and play confidently.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel. [0613]


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10 Dec 2015 08:36
Try Harder? Play Worse! 
Ever had a night when you couldn’t get to sleep? You got frustrated and tried harder. The harder you tried to sleep, the more awake you became. Or you were winning a pickleball match and you just missed a couple of easy shots and started losing. You vehemently urged yourself to play better. But the harder you tried to play better, the worse you played. These examples demonstrate that the harder you try to do something or the more you will yourself to play better pickleball: a) the harder it becomes to do it, and b) the worse you do at it.

Willing yourself to do something is a conscious process. Your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time, and it can’t directly control your involuntary muscles. Thus, you don’t play your best pickleball when your conscious mind dominates. Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, can do trillions of things at a time without conscious thought. It also controls involuntary muscles that are required for good strokes and rabbit-like movement. It is where your pickleball strokes are stored as habits so you can execute them smoothly without thinking about them. Plus, your subconscious computes information a million times faster than your conscious mind. Thus, you play your best pickleball by suppressing your conscious mind and allowing your subconscious to dominate. Pushing yourself to play better pumps up your conscious mind, minimizing your subconscious mind. Hence, urging yourself to play better achieves the opposite -- you play worse.

Another factor, although subtle, is that when you will yourself to play better, you subconsciously introduce a fear of losing. Fear, a strong emotion, erodes confidence, and confidence is an important aspect of playing well. Okay, suppose you’re playing in a tournament and because of the pressure, or for whatever reason, you are playing poorly. What can you do? Will yourself to play better? Don’t bother -- it won’t help.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel. [0613]


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02 Jul 2015 17:09
Watch Consciously; Hit Unconsciously… 
Your conscious mind can only do, or think of, one thing at a time, whereas your subconscious mind can literally do trillions of things at a time. It follows that smooth, coordinated (good-looking) strokes, are executed with your subconscious mind. You have practiced your pickleball strokes until they are ingrained in your subconscious and they have become habits. Since your strokes are now habits, you don’t have to consciously think about them. All you have to do is get your conscious mind out of the way and “let” your subconscious play the ball.

Getting your conscious mind out of the way and “letting” your subconscious play is not always easy. Your conscious mind has an ego that thinks it knows better, so it wants to be in control. Two bads happen when it takes charge of your pickleball play. One, you can’t play well when you are thinking, “I’ve gotta hit a winner; Should I hit a dink or smash it? Why did I hit that last shot into the net? That was dumb; What’s the matter with me? Look at all those people watching me.” Two, and even worse, you start thinking about winning or losing. These thoughts introduce some degree of fear -- the fear of losing or the fear of being embarrassed. Any aspect of fear undermines confidence and sends your game down the tubes.

Here’s how to get your conscious mind out of the way: use your conscious mind’s limitation (i.e., that it can only think of one thing at a time) to your advantage. Keep your conscious mind preoccupied with watching the ball. Your conscious mind’s job is exclusively to focus on the ball. Think, ball as you watch it. Be aware of its flight path, its velocity, etc. If you concentrate on the ball, your conscious mind cannot interfere with your inner athlete, your subconscious. In a nutshell, when your conscious mind is focused on the ball, your subconscious mind is free to make that perfect shot.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel. [0513]


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07 May 2015 05:58
The Mind Game ... Another Golden Rule 
After winning the gold medal in the men’s Snowboarding Slopestyle event, Sage Kotsenburg said, “I had this idea in my mind all day. I thought about it before the run; but once you’re going into it, if you’re thinking it, you’re going to fall on your face.”

“I had the idea in my mind all day.” This was a stunt he had never before done, so he practiced the stunt mentally. Visualization is just as effective as practicing for real because the subconscious does not know the difference between real and imagined (visualized).

In this case it was even better.

Had Sage practiced for real on the mountain, he would have had to correct initial mistakes by trial and error, and it would have taken much longer to perfect the maneuver. By practicing mentally, he made perfect moves every time. “But once you’re going into it, if you’re thinking it, you’re going to fall on your face.”

Your conscious mind cannot perform a complex series of movements well. In this case, you have to visualize the perfect result and proceed on cruise control -- you have to do it without thinking.

By the way, the move was a Backside Double Cork 1620 Japan.

Visualization is an effective way to perfect your pickleball game as well. It’s easy, you can do it in your spare time and you don’t even need a pickleball court. Visualize hitting perfect shots from all over the court.

While you’re at it, visualize yourself on the winner’s stand accepting the gold medal.
 
Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel.


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23 Mar 2015 15:40
Getting into "The Zone" through the power of the subconscious 
Some elite athletes have a natural ability to play in the zone. If you are not one of the few that has this natural ability, it can be acquired. First, you have to learn to go into alpha. Going into alpha is simple: sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, relax, and stay in the present. An easy way to stay in the present is to be aware of your breathing. Don’t evaluate your breathing, just be aware of it. While in alpha, tell your subconscious that whenever you want to play in the zone, you return to this alpha state. And, while playing in the zone, you are 100 percent focused on the game and you let your subconscious take control. All you (your conscious mind) have to do is watch the ball. Thank your subconscious for playing at a high level. Everyone likes to be thanked, even your subconscious, and this is a sneaky way of reinforcing the suggestion to play better.

Second, practice this until your subconscious is conditioned, so that you can open your eyes and stay in alpha, not just while you are in a comfortable chair, but while you play on the court. Last, associate this new habit with a trigger, like Pavlov did with his dog. Every time he fed the dog, he rang a bell. After the dog was conditioned, it would salivate when the bell rang, even without food. In your case, the trigger will put you in the zone. You can use words as a trigger, like Zone Red. Using a word, or words, as a trigger is useful because you may not always want to play in the zone. Sometimes you just want to play for fun.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel.





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10 Mar 2015 16:39
Now running on improved server for improved video streaming 
Winning Pickleball has been migrated to an improved server to avoid losing bandwidth to competing websites. Whereas before, there was some possibility, albeit small, that websites sharing the server with Winning Pickleball might deny the bandwidth necessary to maintain streaming without stalling, the improved server carves out guaranteed bandwidth to mitigate that possibility. We moved the website now before performance issues manifested, as we could see with the addition of many new members that it wouldn't be long until that performance issue might become a reality.

"Bandwidth" is a widely used term that refers to how fast data can be transmitted. It applies to all elements of a path from a server to your computer, including our server. So we're doing our part to not be the constraint on the internet. Even with our change, the bandwidth of your connection could be the bandwidth-limiting point. Similarly, if you are using WiFi to connect to a internet service provider's modem, the strength of your WiFi connection could be the limiting element in the path. Using a mobile device where you have a weak connection could manifest the issue the same way.

So, if you are experiencing stalling videos, consider your connection to the internet. There are a number of "speed test" applications you can run to test your connection speed, for example www.speedtest.net .


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08 Dec 2014 16:45
SECURITY CODE and improved new password request process added to Winning Pickleball 
(1) When you request a new password because you have forgotten your existing one, we of course cannot ask you to enter a password. Because one might be able to determine your userID and email address -- the only two credentials currently required to get a new password -- we thought it a good idea to add another level of security. We have implemented a Security Key feature wherein you can set up the key for your account, and subsequently when you need to request a new password, you must enter that key in addition to your userID and email address.

The Security Key is not used for logging into your account. It is strictly for adding security to the password request feature. It's not possible to log into an account using the Security Key in lieu of the (encrypted) password.

The Security Key feature is optional, but we recommend you use it. It need not be changed often like you should be doing with your password, nor do you have to go to the extremes of creating a great key as you probably do for your password. Up to 12 characters that represents something personal that you can easily remember will suffice.

(2) We've also made it easier to get a new password. Some of reported they don't always receive the email with their new password, or that it takes so much time, thinking one is not coming, they will request another one. The problem with that is that each request invalidates the previous one. And if you do eventually get the email from your first request and think it to be from your second request, you will be frustrated because that one was invalidated by your second request. And so on, if you keep requesting password, always being "out of sync".

Now, with each request, the website will issue the same temporary password, so no matter which email you use, the password will be valid. After three requests, if still unsuccessful, you next request will result in an email being sent to Winning Pickleball Technical Support so that we can personally help you. Because of the human involvement, please be patient. The best way to avoid this inconvenience is to securely record your password. If you wish to change your password and you know your current one, simply login with your current password, go to "My Account", and choose to edit your account.


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14 Nov 2014 15:30
Making It a Habit through Mental Practice 
Here’s that key element for effective mental practice that I promised last issue. When you practice pickleball in your mind you must be in an altered state of mind -- a state where the subconscious is dominate, not the conscious mind. An altered state of mind is natural and you go in and out of it every day; you just aren’t aware of it. Scientists call it the "alpha" state; athletes call it the "zone;" we call it "daydreaming".

There are many ways to get into alpha. Here’s the most common: sit in a comfortable chair and let your body relax. Relax one muscle at a time starting from head to toe (or toe to head, it makes no difference.) It might help to imagine a wave of light flowing down your body as you relax each muscle. Pretend this wave has the magical ability to totally relax your muscles, all your muscles including those involuntary muscles controlled by your subconscious. Did you catch the word "let?" Let your muscles relax; muscles can’t be forced to relax.

If imagining a magic wave of light sounds silly, here’s another bit of mental wisdom: Your subconscious mind is illogical and immature. So imagining silly images makes a stronger impression on your subconscious than using logical, sensible ones. Now that you are physically and mentally relaxed and in a dreamy state, see yourself executing an ideal drop shot from the service line. See yourself returning drop shots from all positions on the court. Each time you hit the ball, it drops in your opponent’s kitchen. See and feel your feet moving to get into the best position before you swing. Feel your leg muscles as you bend your knees to hit low balls. Picture making each shot over and over -- always perfect. See it, feel it, hear it and delight in the emotion connected with hitting precise shots. Emotion, the electro-chemical power in your subconscious, makes this process more effective. Repeat this scenario with each stroke -- serve, return, drop shot, dink, volley, lob, smash and overhead.

Athletes at all levels use guided imagery. Pitchers see themselves in their mind’s eye throwing the ball to an exact spot. Golfers see themselves making a perfect swing and picture the ball landing on the green near the pin. Skiers map the fastest way down a slalom course and imagine making perfect turns through each gate. Pickleball players envision deep serves, dazzling drop shots and blazing put-aways. Try it. And soon it will become habit!

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel.


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03 Oct 2014 12:49
Practice ... in your head! 
How do you serve deep and in the court every time? Consistently drop the ball in the kitchen from the backcourt? Routinely smash a high ball and keep it in bounds? The answer is by etching the mechanics of each pickleball stroke into your subconscious mind -- practice, practice, practice. By practice, I mean correctly repeating the same shot over and over. Some readers might be thinking that practicing pickleball shots is a good idea, but they don't have an opportunity to practice. No one conducts drills where they play and they can't get some chump to feed them balls so they can hit each shot 50 times in a row, including the serve, serve return, drop shot, dink, volley, smash, lob and overhead.

Let's face it; the majority of pickleball players would rather play games than participate in practice drills. Well, that's a dilemma: How are you going to practice technique if there is no one to practice with? Here's good news; there is a way you can keep playing games and practice at home, while waiting for an appointment, or riding to work (assuming you are not driving.) You can practice in your head!

Mental practice is as effective, and arguably more effective, than physical play. A study in Russia showed that optimum benefits in a sport were obtained with a ratio of 25 percent physical practice to 75 percent mental practice. Mental practice works because your subconscious mind does not know the difference between real and imagined. Vividly picturing and feeling yourself swinging a pickleball paddle and making a shot in your mind's eye activates the same patterns of neutrons in your brain as when you physically make the shot. Mental practice forms and reinforces the software for making a stroke.

Moreover, mental practice is perfect. Each time you make a shot in your mind's eye, the swing is correct and the stroke sends the ball to the right spot; each time you reinforce the software in your brain for a perfect shot. On the other hand, when you play for real, every shot is not perfect; in which case, you are reinforcing the software in your subconscious for poor technique. You can raise the level of your game by practicing that dink, kill shot, and volley on a daily basis -- in your mind. However, there is a key element to mental practice, which I'll share in the next article.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel.


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30 Aug 2014 14:27
One Thing at a Time, by Harry Carpenter 
I had my first pickleball "Oops" the first time I swung a paddle; I missed the ball completely. I'm not the only person to whiff his first shot. Learning a new sport takes time. The first time you execute a complex motion, you talk yourself through it with your conscious mind. And, you do it one step at a time because your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time.

Recall tying your first bow. The process was unnatural and took several attempts. After you tied a bow properly a few times, the process was delegated to your subconscious mind where it became a habit. Once it became a habit, you could tie a bow without thinking about it. Take something more complex, like a golf swing. I was taught there are 31 elements to a good golf swing. The first few times I swung a club, I thought about each step. This step-by-step motion produced a swing like a flickering old-time movie. It wasn't until each step was turned over to my subconscious, which can do a zillion things at a time, that my swing became fluid. When a complex task is performed by the subconscious, it is:

* Easy because your subconscious can handle an unlimited number of tasks at one time.
* Effortless because it's unconscious.
* Graceful because it is a unified, coordinated motion, and
* Natural because you don't have to think about it.

It's the same in pickleball; each shot has a myriad of things to think about, things like short backswing, stiff wrist, paddle face angle, feet movement, bent knees, weight on toes, push the paddle, follow through toward target, keep ball low but over the net, don't step in the kitchen you idiot, etc. That's too much to think about. To be successful each shot must be made a habit and performed at a subconscious level without that pesky conscious mind getting in the way. How do you do that? Answer in the next posting here.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources side panel.


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28 Jul 2014 12:15
Out of Your Mind Pickleball, by Harry Carpenter 
What's going on in your mind affects your pickleball game big time. Do you want to learn how to play the mental game? Want to make a quantum leap in your pickleball skills? Read on.

Long before my pickleball life, I entered a one day, round-robin tennis tournament in Van Nuys, California. The day before the competition, my two Yamaha rackets were stolen and the only available racket was my daughter's. She had a habit of picking up the ball by scraping the tip of the racket on the court. The scraping wore a hole in the hollow graphite frame that you could stick a finger in. Since I had no chance of winning with that racket, I decided not to take the tournament seriously and just play for fun.

Players were divided into two brackets of nine players each. Because I had nothing to lose, I played out of my mind. I wasn't thinking about it but my game was on a high. I beat all eight players in my bracket. I played the winner from the other bracket in an eight-game set for the championship. He was a better player but I was still playing out of my mind. I was ahead 6 games to 2. Only two more games and I would win the trophy.

Then, I began thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to beat this guy. I'm going to win the tournament." That was the beginning of the end. When I started thinking about winning, I started losing. I didn't win another game. I played in my mind rather than out of my mind.

Reprinted on Winning Pickleball from USAPA Newsletter. Original source: Harry Carpenter's 'Pickleball: The Mental Side'; see Resources.


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28 Jul 2014 12:03
Essays from Harry Carpenter's "Pickleball: The Mental Side" book to be syndicated here! 
photoFrom time to time, we will be posting essays from Harry Carpenter's "Pickleball: The Mental Side" ebook here. Harry's essays are also syndicated on the USA Pickleball Association members-only newsletter.

Harry's emphasis on the importance of the subconscious mind and Mark's experience with teaching and modeling expert performance combine to offer our members a powerful visualization system for improving one's pickleball game.

The first essay from Harry follows this posting.

To be sure not to miss a single posting on this feed from Harry or about other pickleball news and info, register for email alerts that are issued when new items are posted. To do so, click the "Subscribe to News" button on our Blog/News page where this feed is syndicated.


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07 May 2014 13:03
"Winning Pickleball" Now Live 
photoWe're excited to announce the release of Mark Friedenberg's Winning Pickleball website to the general public. Targetted mainly to beginner through intermediate players, we think you will enjoy considerable benefits to viewing Mark's clinic videos, whether to teach and show you something new, or to reinforce something you previously knew but have been having difficulty with.

Be sure to visit the Videos page for a free viewing of one of the 20 videos in the Clinic2013 series.

Enjoy!


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09 Jan 2014 16:16
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Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

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Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.





Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

Owner/Editor/Reporter Login

Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.

Upload or Clear Photo/Image (Common to All Your NewsPages)

This photo will appear in the "About Us" section of the Nubs for all your NewsPages. You have a NewsPage for every feed in your account.

To upload a photo from your computer hard disk, click the button located below "Upload a current photo" below to select navigate to and select a file on your computer. Then click the Submit button to upload that file.

You may only upload a .jpg, .jpeg, or .gif file. Maximum file size is 500 KB and must be 72 ppi resolution. Your photo will be automatically adjusted to a width of 200 pixels, so your photo needs to be at least 200 pixels wide to prevent the system from enlarging your photo resulting in poor resolution.

To clear (remove) a previously uploaded photo, simply click the Clear button below.





Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

Owner/Editor/Reporter Login

Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.


Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

Owner/Editor/Reporter Login

Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.

Upload or Clear Photo/Image (Specific to this NewsPage)

This photo will appear in the "About This NewsPage" section of the Nub for just this NewsPage. If you have other feeds in your account and wish to add a photo to the corresponding NewsPage, navigate to that NewsPage and upload the photo there.

To upload a photo from your computer hard disk, click the button located below "Upload a current photo" below to select navigate to and select a file on your computer. Then click the Submit button to upload that file.

You may only upload a .jpg, .jpeg, or .gif file. Maximum file size is 500 KB and must be 72 ppi resolution. Your photo will be automatically adjusted to a width of 200 pixels, so your photo needs to be at least 200 pixels wide to prevent the system from enlarging your photo resulting in poor resolution.

To clear (remove) a previously uploaded photo, simply click the Clear button below.





Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

Owner/Editor/Reporter Login

Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.

Embed Videos

You can embed two videos for each NewsPage (you have a NewsPage for each news feed you publish). The "Account Video" will appear for all your NewsPages regardless of which NewsPage you used to enter the embed code. However, the "NewsPage Video" is unique to each NewsPage. In other words, you can specify a different NewsPage Video for each NewsPage, but specify only one Account Video that will be used across all of your NewsPages.

To get the code for embedding a video, open the video in YouTube, click "Share", then click "Embed". Copy all the code that appears in the box and paste it into one of the two boxes below.

Include descriptions for the videos if you wish.


Enter/Edit Account Video Description (300 char max)

Enter Embed Code for Account Video:



Enter/Edit NewsPage Video Description (300 char max)

Enter Embed Code for NewsPage Video:



Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

Owner/Editor/Reporter Login

Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.

Enter Section Title (24 char max)


Publish RSS news feeds at Enfeedia

Owner/Editor/Reporter Login

Account Owner: Log in HERE then select the "Customize WebPage" button to customize content of this NewsPage.

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