Athletes Need A Better Performance Routines…

Almost everything we do contains a routine… How we wake up in the morning, go to work, eat our food, and even shave.  We have become so routine that we are not even aware of it, hence routine. We implement these daily routines because they make us comfortable and allow us to tune-in our focus.

However, we do recognize when we get out of our performance routines because we begin to think more and may even become anxious or nervous.

These daily routines don’t really matter too much though unless we are OCD. Although, they make ALL the difference in our performance. Performances could go wrong and routines make us comfortable during these pressure situations. Presentations, Surgery, Try-outs, Auditions, Competitions, Sales, Golfing, Free-throws, Bowling, Darts, Race-car driving to rattle off a few.

Here’s 7 Awesome Ways to Crush Your Pre-Performance Routine

Unbelievably though, our performance routines have not become routine. We practice the skill way more than the execution of the routine. This is why under pressure, we don’t focus on the right things, become anxious, get nervous, or choke. Our performance routines have not become routine. There are a lot of variables in our performance, and since our routines are 100% under our control, the main variable is YOU! Routines need to be perfect in all areas of our performance.

Our research in Applied Sport Psychology showed that routines need to be individualized. The timing doesn’t matter much with an individual routine, what matters is the behaviors, the patterns, and how deliberate someone is. If people varied from their actions, performance would decline.

Here is a PERFECT Performance Routine by Jason Calliste of Oregon basketball. During two rounds of the NCAA tournament, he only shot 22/23 from the free-throw line…

performance routines 




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.  Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness. 

life lessons from sports movie

Indiana has two seasons, basketball season and waiting for basketball season. Although, This newsletter won’t make much sense if you haven’t seen the classic 1986 life lessons from sports movie, HOOSIERS.

Hoosiers is based on a true story, 1954 Milan High School with a tiny enrollment of only 161 students.  It was a true David vs. Goliath story that ended with them winning the state tournament beating much larger schools in a single class system.  If you want an entire database of leadership lessons from movies, then check out this 

Here are 7 Life Lessons From Sports Movie Hoosiers

1) Be true to your convictions…

Norman Dale had a rule for playing team basketball that Hickory needed four passes before they shot. When Rade broke this rule by shooting, Coach Dale sat him, playing only four (4) players the rest of the game. The coach was booed out of the gym.

It is tough to stay with our principles when they are contrary to the norm. However, we better have a plan in place and be true to our beliefs and mission, ready to sacrifice small wins for the larger purpose.

2) People will hate…

Coach Dale was an outsider, which people didn’t like. He even closed off practices, which was a no-no for that town. They even had a vote to try and remove him as coach. 

-If your job is to please everyone, then you’ll fail. Focus on your role and accomplishing your goals. It doesn’t mean to ignore the naysayers, but just stay focused on the real goal and not trying to make sure everyone agrees with you.

3) We must have those crucial conversations…

Hickory was missing their star player “Jimmy Chitwood.” Coach approached him while he was shooting one day and told him the truth, “I don’t care if you play or not.”

-It is a risk to speak the truth to those close to us because they can reject the message or even us. However, if we don’t learn to have these conversations, we will never know the impact and more than likely regret never discussing the topic. In the movie, if the coach hadn’t had the crucial conversation, Jimmy wouldn’t have gone to his defense.

4) We should have at least one gimmick…

When the assistant coach Shooter takes over late in the game, he runs the picket fence on them. His last message is epic, picket fence“just don’t get caught watching the paint dry. “

 I think all of us need to have something unique to ourselves or business that we keep, a trick up our sleeve. We can’t use this tactic often, because the Picket Fence was only used once. We need to save our gimmick, for when we will need it the most.

5) Don’t show up drunk…

Shooter shows up to a game drunk, gets ejected, and simply loses it after that. Some of these life lessons from sports movie are simple. Here’s my blog post on why I quit drinking…

-Um, case in point, don’t show up drunk.

6) Focus on the process…

The big speech in the movie is saved for the semi-final game. To summarize, coach says, “focus on your fundaments, if you play to the best of your ability, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book, we are going to be winners.”

-Too often, we focus on results and how the outcome will turn out, “will we win or lose?” There is fear in the outcome and it causes an ineffective type of focus. Coach reminds us to focus on the process of how we are going to perform and the steps that we need to do. This is one of the biggest life lessons from sports movie. 

7) Be confident…

The best scene of the movie, and with time for one more play, the coach calls a decoy play. Instead, Jimmy Chitwood tells him in the huddle, “I’ll make it.”

-We HAVE to be confident! It is the most important mental skill and it is also the most difficult. If we doubt our ability to recover from mistakes or to take risks, we will never be successful, period. We must believe in ourselves!!

It only takes one. The real Jimmy Chitwood, Bobby Plump, was asked during a CBS Final Four interview in 2010 in Indianapolis, “How important was that shot?” He replied, “I’m speaking to you right?”

top mental toughness coach

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness-