Any successful NFL kicker is the epitome of mental toughness, and Adam Vinatieri is the most clutch kicker of all-time. This is evident in his record four Super bowl victories; three of those as a result of his game winning

My intention from the beginning of the book was to interview Adam Vinatieri about his mental toughness, but also about his Hinge moment. The Hinge is that one moment, event, or person that connects who we are with who we become.

One of Adam Vinatieri’s Hinge moments occurred while he was a freshman at West Point. Now, I can’t go in depth here, that’s what the book is for, but the mental toughness he displayed during his time at West Point transferred into his kicking and wanting the game on the line.

Okay, so how did I get the interview? For starters, after re-reading Think and Grow Rich, I set my intention to interview him. When any of us set our intention on a target, we find a way to achieve that goal. It’s that simple. It’s never easy, but it is simple.

So, I contacted everyone I knew who might have access to him. I wrote several letters telling him about the book and its premise. I even showed up at the Colts camp. Every single function I was at, I even brought up the topic and inquired if he or she might have an “in.” No luck.

Until, my Hinge came along. The premise of the Hinge includes that one person who makes the difference in our lives. We may know hundreds of people, but it will result in just that one person, who gives us a break, or an opportunity, or introduces us to that right person.

Phil Richards, the awesome columnist of the Indianapolis Star was that Hinge. He made the connection and while at the Outer Banks on vacation with my family, Adam Vinatieri called me up.

Let me be honest, I hope this isn’t the end of the story, because I am still seeking a testimonial from Adam Vinatieri for the back cover of the book. He hasn’t (yet). A lot of it is out of my control now; if it is meant to be, it will happen. In the least, he provided an awesome story in The Hinge: The  Importance of Mental Toughness.


Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach based in Indianapolis. DRB works with athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness will be released soon. Twitter: @drrobbell 

collin altamirano and dr. rob bellCollin Altamirano won the 2013 USTA Nationals—the most competitive junior tournament in the United States and an invite into the coveted U.S. Open. In doing so, he became the first unseeded player ever to win the event.

One of Collin’s strengths evident at the USTA Nationals was his ability to hit the best ball. His years of training and thousands of hits were evident. At every match, he moved opponents back, grinded out points, and took advantage of short balls by hitting clean winners.

They don’t give these championships away…

Collin, his family, and his coach Joe Gilbert, owner of JMG Tennis Academy have all had years of sacrifice and dedication to achieve this prestigious victory. While his family lived hours away in Santa Barbara, he trained with his coach in Sacramento living under his roof and his tutelage.

The environment created was one of discipline and hard work. You can imagine there have been many pats on the back as well as some kicks in the ass. Coach Gilbert stated, “I put a child that was not my own as a top priority in my life. We gained a relationship that was worth all the sacrifice. No matter where this journey ends we will always look back on the hardest times as the times we learned the most.”

Altamirano’s schedule also prepared him for Nationals. His training included a mix of ATP challenger events, USTA Junior events, & ITF pro circuit draws. Having qualified for 6 professional main draws during the season, these various types of matches and play brought forth both difficulty and success. He played many different opponents and improved at encountering several styles of play. In that, he learned more about himself and his game at each tournament along the way. In fact, he won a local pro event immediately before coming to the USTA Nationals, which help cement his belief in his game.

The Hinge…

Due to his unseeded draw, he encountered two top players in the opening rounds. In both of these matches, Collin faced adversity and actually dropped the first set both times. In fact, during his second round match against the 16th seed, Deiton Baughman, he had never beaten him until that day.  However, he competed, made the adjustments, battled back and found a way to win. Collin showed his grit and confidence early on in the tournament and it carried over to each match, not losing another set the rest of the tournament.

In every match, and every tournament, there are hinge moments…The one point, game, or match that makes all the difference. Since none of us know when these moments will come, our role is to be mentally tough. Being able to bounce back and win early on provided Collin the confidence moving forward in the tournament and beyond.

Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

hinge quarterback

hinge quarterback

This hinge quarterback threw more career interceptions (220) than touchdowns (173).

He completed only 50.1% of his passes and his career QB rating was 65.5. This quarterback also lost more games in his career than he won—68-71-4. (Mark Sanchez would be the hands-down starter compared to these numbers).

However, this quarterback was also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985 because it only takes one.

The Hinge…

 There were two leagues during the late 1960s, the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). The winner of each conference played in the “Super Bowl.”

The NFL, however, was vastly superior to the AFL.

In 1969, quarterback Joe Namath and his AFL team, the New York Jets, were 19-point underdogs going into Super Bowl III against the NFL team, the Baltimore Colts; 19 points!

On Thursday night before the game, at the press conference, Joe Namath stated, “We’re gonna win the game, I guarantee it.”

He orchestrated the iconic victory, winning 16-7 and despite not even throwing a touchdown pass, was awarded the Super Bowl III MVP. The win by the Jets and the guarantee by Namath solidified his career and the NFL.

The next season, the two leagues merged.

Joe Namath’s  ONE hinge moment became one of the biggest in the history of the game because of the impact he made. I like Joe Namath and injuries led to much of his later demise as a QB, but his status was cemented because it only takes one! 

It only takes one… Our ability to believe, have confidence, and to trust is the most important mental skill we possess.

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

The Hinge connects who we are with who we become. It is the one moment, event, or person that makes the difference in our lives…

Readers-DigestAs a teenager, my grandmother used to give me the awesome gift of, wait for it, Reader’s Digest…As a fifteen year-old, Reader’s Digest really didn’t fit my needs. However, it did become great bathroom material and I would read it while on the porcelain throne. Well, within Reader’s Digest, I once read a story about the “runner’s high,” the physiological and psychological effect that runners would sometimes encounter during long runs. It was like “being in the zone.” The study looked at how the personalities of those running long distances may transfer into other areas of their lives…. Fast-forward eight years to the end of college; I had to choose a research project in my advanced Psychology class to graduate. I immediately remembered the Runner’s High story in Reader’s Digest and replicated the same study, with no further thought.

I knew early on that Sport Psychology would become my chosen path in life, so I applied to Temple University’s graduate school, although I never really applied myself in undergrad until my junior year, I was a hinge candidate at best.

The in-person interview went surprisingly well and, in fact, the Temple University professor repeatedly probed at length my little research project on the Runner’s High. I was actually accepted and even received a graduate assistantship that paid for school. Turns out, my professor, Dr. Michael Sachs, was the one who coined the phrase, Runner’s High…

The Hinge….

If it weren’t for my grandmother supplying me with Reader’s Digest subscriptions as a teenager, I would not have been accepted into Temple University’s graduate program, nor met my wife, nor continued on to Graduate work at The University of Tennessee, nor caddied on the PGA Tour, or work with so many gifted athletes. My story and this story would have been different. Things happened in my life for a reason.

Who or what have been hinges in your life?  Share your Hinge moment here. 

docAuthor: Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach and the author of his 2nd book- The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness It is on pre-order and will be out in September.