mental toughness at the mountai

is mental toughness at the mountaintop

Is Mental Toughness Really at The Mountaintop

When I lived in Colorado, I met Russ, who was half-way to hiking all of the 14ers.

A 14er is any mountain top above 14,000 feet. There are 54 of them in Colorado. Some of these hikes are difficult, while others are fairly simple.

The mountaintop experience in Colorado is the best! We all want the mountaintop experience. The feeling of success, the reward of the journey, security, peace, serenity, and the view! Russ would eventually have 54 of these.

The tree line in Colorado is about 12,000 feet. Close to the tree line lives the oldest known species of tree, the Bristlecone Pine Tree. Some of these trees are over 5,000 years old, which means they were around when Julius Caesar was alive.

This tree is indeed tough because it survives in the worst type of environment.  However, the mountaintop is not where growth takes place.  To illustrate, this specific bristlecone pine tree is decades old. Due to it’s environment, it’s growth takes centuries to full maturity.

Growth and Mental Toughness is not born at the mountaintop, it’s born out of the valleys.

The mountain top experience is temporary and we will spend more time hiking the actual mountain rather then taking pictures at the top.  Such is life. We will lose way more than we will ever win.

Only during the valleys in life, the tough times, the struggle, and the journey is where real growth happens.  It is no fun at all going through the hardships, just as hanging out in the valley the entire hike isn’t much fun either. But it is necessary. So, Is Mental Toughness Born elsewhere? 

No Valley = No Mountaintop.

An experiment in the 1980’s created a bio-dome in the desert where humans could live. Everything actually went great, except when the trees inside the controlled climate bio-dome reached a certain height, they toppled over. What scientists could not account for was the lack of wind. The wind is what creates the strong roots, so that trees can continue to grow.

No wind =  No growth.

If you want to live on the mountaintop, your growth will be small.

If you relish in the valleys,  you’ll grow, and still enjoy the mountaintop when you arrive.


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

Top 10 Lessons from Coaches

These 10 lessons from coaches are important to try and implement daily. Coaches are the most important people in today’s society. Everyone needs a coach!!

Truth be told, it is difficult if not impossible to coach ourselves, because great coaches point out the blind spots that we can’t see. We need more balcony people rather than basement dwellers. Pick your coach appropriately!

lessons from coaches


 


dr rob bell

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- 

 

How Athletes Can Re-Focus


How athletes can re-focus is a good question. The reason it’s a good question because when were athletes, or ourselves, taught this skill? 

Athletes can be taught to re-focus through specific cues, and these cues are best utilized when they are merged with one’s specific learning style, auditory, visual, or kinesthetic. 

Re-focus is the second most difficult mental skill because it is the second most important. However, when it comes down to the actual how athletes can re-focus tools:

A strategy is more important than technique. So, here are three. 

how athletes can re-focus

 


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.  

change in mental toughness

The Difference Between Arriving & Starting Practice


Head coaches Jim Mora & Tom Coughlin have had success at the collegiate and NFL ranks respectively. They are also well known for their policies on meetings. Players arrive 15-minutes early for meetings, because the meetings actually start 10 minutes early.

Tom Coughlin has even fined players for showing up just 2 minutes early. These coaches stressed the importance of arriving at practice…

Head coach, Mike Lingenfelter, of the country’s best volleyball program, Munciana, bases his philosophy around starting practice instead.

Think about it, if it’s a bad start, then the next ten minutes are usually a coach getting upset, followed by another 10 minutes of having to re-start and re-focus. That’s 30 minutes! This coach stresses the importance of starting practice.

A simple way to instill trust, discipline, and excitement is to address the difference between arriving and starting.

Arriving to practice should involve an emotional and team-oriented approach. Dynamic stretching, warming-up, and bonding between the players and the coaches are all part of arriving both mentally and physically. The arrival period of practice is also the best time for a coach to re-connect with players and get a sense of “what’s going on.”

Arriving early and establishing that expectation helps tremendously with the starting of practice.

Next, how do you emphasis the starting practice. This is the time that you expect your team to be focused and dialed in. If the arrival has been taken care of, chances are the start will be effective as well. Once the start of practices becomes commonplace and energetic, the start of games, matches, and meets will also become more consistent.


 

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- 

3 Ways to Build Mental Toughness for Golfers

Preparation is key to success, period.

We need to work on the correct things and practice the correct way! The mental toughness for golfers is DIRECTLY connected with the short game! If we three-putt, miss a putt inside of five feet, or do not get up and down, then, it can sap out all of the momentum we’ve built up.

mental toughness for golfers

These 3 drills will test and improve focus, emotional sobriety, resiliency, and competitiveness. Partners will help a ton with these competitive drills.  Wow- 100 3-footers in a row.


dr rob bell

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 book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness

 Hierarchy of Mental Toughness

hierarchy of mental toughness

Here are the essential key skills of mental toughness needed for success. The synonyms inside of the pyramid are words all used to describe the core component of the mental skill.

It’s a hierarchy of mental toughness because we need to have one skill in order to progress to another. These levels are not static either, they can fluctuate often!

The basis of all mental health and strength is Motivation. It cannot come from outside, it must come within, because it’s tough to be driven, when you’re being driven. Without the proper internal motivation and “why”, then long-term development and success just cannot sustain. 

Confidence is next. Every single athlete tells me that confidence is the most important mental skill, and I agree with them. So, why would confidence be at the very top? The reasoning is that confidence is not an all or nothing concept. Either I have it OR I don’t. It is a matter of “how much” confidence do I have? In order for us to try anything in life, there has to be some belief that we can do it, or else we wouldn’t ever try. That’s why it’s a hierarchy of mental toughness. 

Focus is the mental skill that we work on most with athletes. Besides, every one of us is an athlete.  Focus directly impacts confidence and it’s not a matter of if we focus, it’s what we focus on, and how we focus! 

Here’s why the hierarchy of mental toughness is just like chess! 


The most difficult mental skill is re-focus! It’s the most difficult because, at many points in life, it’s the most important.

When were we really taught HOW to let go of mistakes and move on? Nowadays, there are more perfectionist athletes than ever before. This creates athletes that struggle with making mistakes and as a result, they don’t go for it and they play it “safe.” 


dr rob bell

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

People will pay top-dollar to sit there while others will do everything they can to actually avoid sitting there.

When people “get-to” pay to sit there, there are often few seats available.  However, when one doesn’t “have to” pay, there is always plenty of room. MC’s at workshops or presentations will even announce “there’s plenty of room in these seats”…I know many collegiate coaches who also ensure that their athletes always sit in these seats in class.

It’s the Front Row!

Sitting here requires Mental Toughness. Mental Toughness often means doing the things that we don’t want to do.

HOF baseball coach Tommy Pharr and Collegiate World Series coach Tim Corbin both sit in the front row. I see it at every conference. They even compete to see who can sit there FIRST. That’s the only evidence I needed to sit here as well.

Looking further into the front row culture. It’s a lifestyle.

Some view sitting in the front row as a risk. They see it as stressful because something bad could happen. The presentation may not be very good and what if they have to leave? Can they check their phone up front? They also see a threat because they’ll have to be more engaged, they may get called upon, others could be looking at them, and it may not be considered cool.

Sitting up front does involve a risk, but it also offers a reward.

Those that DO sit in front row however, see it as a possibility. They look at it as something good can happen. It allows them to be more engaged, which means they will retain more information. They want to get called upon and even be a part of the show or presentation, and they think it’s the coolest place to sit.

Research revealed that students sitting in the front, middle, and back rows of class scored 80%, 71.6%, and 68.1% respectively on course exams. I don’t see that as coincidence.

Sitting further back in the audience is safe, but offers little incentive.

There is a game that I play with many of my audiences, where I hold up a $20 bill, sometimes a $100 bill. (I can’t divulge the game) but those in the front row usually win it.

No one can make you sit in the front, just like no-one can pick up the seat and move it to the back.

 

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 book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness   

When we lose mental toughness, do this…


Winning is easier to handle than losing. Losing hurts and it is painful, especially when we have The Big Loss!  However, we are going to lose in life more than we are going to win. So, let’s get better at it. We don’t want to lose mental toughness.

Those that have mental toughness actually handle losing better than those who are not as mentally tough. As Bobby Clampett once stated “It’s easier to lift a trophy than it is to lift up one’s head.” 

When we lose, we sometimes lose mental toughness and we need to do this instead…


         -Perform an Autopsy- 


Autopsies are performed by experts for medical and/or lawful purposes. An autopsy provides answers and gives us a cause of death. Autopsy=To see for oneself.

Losing is similar to death, except it is not fatal. It sucks when we feel like we lose mental toughness along our journey as well. 

Coaches watch tons of film after games. They are looking for tendencies, mistakes, and how to improve. Often they won’t even give answers to the media for a loss until after they have performed an autopsy.

We can do the same. For instance, Rickie Fowler reflects after every round and goes through it in his mind.

1) Be objective

Losing is an event, it is not a person.  If we can’t separate who we are with what happened, it’ll be more difficult to learn the cause. An autopsy requires us to be honest, which is difficult because it requires objectivity.

2) Find the cause

The toughest autopsies are the ones where the death is undetermined. Truth is, we may have performed the way we were supposed to but the outcome just didn’t work out in our favor. Those hurt!  We still need to find the cause, Did we lose or were we just beat?

3) It’s not you, it’s me

I hated that excuse because it was a way to avoid the real reason! 

Blame is simple, it’s much easier to move the mirror in front of someone else. While we are looking for reasons why we lost, we must own our own stuff! What did WE control and what could WE have done better?  Blame is simple, but it doesn’t help moving forward.

4) Don’t forget to bury the body

Coach Tom Griffin at Carson-Newman once had a bad loss heading into the post-season. He bought some meat, brought the entire team to the field at night at night, dug a hole, and buried the loss!

We need to MOVE ON, bury the loss, and hit the reset button. If we keep bringing up the loss after the autopsy, we haven’t buried it. Why would you want that dead body lying around?

It’s okay to look at the past, just don’t stare at it.

Check out this article from Brooke De Lench on advice for parents after losing. 


Don’t lose mental toughness over a loss.

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- 

Isn’t it interesting how things seem to get better when it’s going well, and worse when things are going bad?

What if we can break the cycle of negativity? I hate losing confidence, but it happens from time to time. However, too often I meet successful people that simply don’t have the inner self-belief in themselves. We can’t afford to lose confidence!  It’s NOT about motivation, it’s about belief. Nothing can stop an inspired person whose time has come! It’s about becoming something greater!

Confidence is contagious…

Watching others have success automatically builds belief in ourselves. If strengthens the belief that “Hey, if they can do it, so can I.”  CLICK ON IMAGES TO PLAY
Larry Bird~ “I make all of those shots ALL of the time.” 
Arnold Schwarzenegger~ “Who do you want to become, not what, but who?” 
Will Smith~ “You don’t set out to build a wall, You say  ‘I’m going to lay this brick.’ ” 

Billy Mills ~ Every Passion Has It’s Destiny! BEST ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME. 

Susan Boyle- “I Dreamed a Dream!” Watch to the laughter turn to tears…

Capt. Sully~ “It was the worst pit of your stomach feeling”   Miracle on The Hudson

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 book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness