1. It’s an Inexact Science…IMG_3058

Scouts, teams, and GM’s are measuring the measurables in a controlled environment many call the underwear Olympics. It offers evaluators a chance to see everyone in a non-game environment where coaching and schemes doesn’t factor. However, even with all of the interviews, testing, exams, physical tests, and video, draft picks often just don’t work out as expected. Namely, it is difficult to assess one’s mental toughness- how one will overcome adversity, & how one will play under pressure. It becomes an art because scouts are also trying to measure the immeasurable: leadership, work ethic, quality of teammate, character, etc.

2. The Bench Press…Bench Press

I enjoy this test the most, probably because I can still bench so there is some tiny level of comparison. I also think we can see a glimpse of a player’s desire; how much someone wants it. Even though the bench press is not the most transferrable to success on the field, it does offer a snapshot of one’s strength.

  •  I witnessed Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming, (projected 2/3 round) will himself to complete three more reps after he hit his limit at 15. After crosschecking with other scouts on his feat, the consensus was he has an “iron-will”.
  • Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley St, (projected 3 round) managed 21 reps in the bench press, but he was the only player I witnessed who actually cheered on his fellow WR’s before he lifted.

Since 0 QB’s attempted the Bench press, I think one quarterback would stand out in the future by merely attempting it.

3. Only 5 guys didn’t have this…

The initial physical testing for each position is the same; hand, arm, wingspan, height and weight. Armed only in their Under Armour briefs, these guys are all extremely built, so you notice when someone looks “soft,” not as defined or muscular.

During the Defensive Back’s weigh-in, I counted 5 players who had zero tattoos. At some point, these non-inked guys had to make a decision “not” to get it done. Interesting, because ink is such the norm these days that I merely wondered if there would be any correlation with success.

4. Confirmation bias…

Scouts have seen these guys at various points throughout the season and have all formed opinions, positive or negative. The fact is that with scouts, they are making biased opinions. It’s impossible for them to have an unbiased viewpoint. Even when the big names of each position are called, like Michael Sam, Johnny Manziel, or Jadeveon Clownley, everyone pays a tad closer attention…

Since people’s jobs and reputations are at stake with choosing the right player, how much of scouting is actually dismissing information that is contrary to their viewpoint (i.e., he had a slow 40 time), while highlighting information that confirms their belief (i.e., awesome arm)?  Or as one scout put it, “The draft is not about hitting home-runs, it is about base hits.”

5. The hardest working coaches…

There were three coaches who were the most visible during my 3 days. I saw them everywhere!! And although Rex & Rob Ryan work with two different teams, they were always together. The third coach was Jack Del Rio of the Broncos. In addition, here is one of my favorite coaches…Dr. Rob Bell & Brian Billick

The NFL Scouting Combine was incredible. I made these 5 observations because in all seriousness, I couldn’t tell one incredible athlete doing the 3-cone or shuttle drill from another. The 335 players all looked like PGA Tour pro’s on the driving range, everyone was elite!!!

 

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness was recently released. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

On October 25, 1986, The Boston Red Sox were up 5-3 in the 10th inning. They were 3 outs away from their first World Series since 1918. The Mets, however, rallied for 3 straight singles. The next play was a slow roller by Mookie Wilson up the first base line. It went through Bill Buckner’s legs and became known as the most costly error in all of sports.

The Hinge…

On October 9, three weeks before the costly error, Bill Buckner was giving an interview, wherein he said, “The dreams are that you’re gonna have a great series and win. The nightmares are that you’re gonna let the winning run score on a ground ball through your legs. Those things happen, you know. I think a lot of it is just fate.100

American social psychologist Daniel Wegner conducted an important research study in 1987.

The researchers wanted to see how people suppressed their own thoughts. Study participants were asked to verbalize their thoughts continually for five straight minutes and to ring a bell if they thought or verbalized a “white bear.” The researcher, however, gave specific instructions before the five-minute session began: “ Try NOT to think of a white bear.”101

Wegner’s research showed that most individuals became preoccupied with trying not to think about a certain object. A meaningless object, such as a white bear, became lodged in the mind, and it would surface during moments of weakness. The real world application from this experiment is more pronounced, because we, as individuals, can become preoccupied with more significant thoughts other than a white bear. Worse is that the more we try to suppress it, it can create a rebound effect of pre-occupation.

Our minds are just like our coach. We will only remember the very last thing said by the coach. So, if the coach mistakenly walks off saying, “Don’t double fault, don’t walk him, or don’t strike out.” it is stuck in the head. Unless we can replace that thought of “don’t,” we will play trying NOT to mess up.

Our mental toughness is directly connected with our thoughts. We say what we don’t want to happen, instead of telling ourselves what we do want. We notice the danger and the bad things that can happen and become pre-occupied.

The key is to be able to replace the negative thoughts with an instructional cue or a focus on what we want to do. That’s mental toughness.

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 drrobbell@drrobbell.com

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

 

 

Those of us who are paid to perform all have a countdown. The moment when we need to perform at our best because it matters the most.

Core Pilates & FitnessSean Bartram at Core Pilates & Fitness trains the Colts Cheerleaders and on the mirror, he has the number of days before the try-outs. Many coaches, athletes, and teams also have similar countdowns, such as, the 2016 Olympic Trials, or FIFA World Cup. Maybe for us, it’s a specific race or event?

In order to play our best when it matters the most, we need to develop the mentality that our best is needed today. So, how do we develop this mindset?

Coaches in all areas find tons of ways to externally motivate. They create cultures of excellence, set goals, post motivational quotes, and even bring in speakers, ex-athletes or Sport Psychologists (yes!). Companies and businesses use the seemingly biggest external motivator of all, pay and benefits (except research shows this isn’t true). Each of these motivational tools all work, up to a point.

What replaces the external motivation actually becomes more important because at some point, it will get tough. We will have setbacks, encounter adversity, and struggle. What needs to motivate us is our “why.” Our internal motivation of “why” we do what we do.

If we don’t determine our “why”, we won’t continually put forth our best effort during the countdown. Complacency can easily set in and we may say to ourselves, “this day doesn’t matter that much.” The reality is that you’re right; physically it may not make a difference. However, it matters mentally, because if our “why” is not strong enough, we will make excuses when it gets tough. When the countdown to performance gets close, we will then put forth our best, but at that point, so is everyone else.

Our “why” should make us cry, if not, then it’s probably not our why…It is tough to develop an emotional connection to what drives us. What motivated us two years ago may not motivate us now! We may discover that our internal motivation is really about pleasing others, proving others wrong, or that we are actually trying to fulfill someone else’s goals that THEY had for US.

We are who we are when we are alone…We can fool everyone in our lives that we are putting forth our best effort, or that we have it all together. Except, we just can’t fool ourselves. If we want to perform our best when it matters the most, we need to develop our internal motivation now, not later. Think about it, pray about it, and write it down, you’ll know you’ve got your real “why” when it brings a tear to your eye.

Sean BartramSean Bartram B.Sc (hons.), MBASES is owner of Core Pilates and Fitness (www.corepilatesandfitness.com) and head trainer to the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders. Follow him @corepilatesllc

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness was recently released. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com