This Brutal Injury Caused and Created  An NBA All-Star

NO ONE could have predicted that a brutal injury caused and created this player to become a NBA all-star and the New York Knicks all-time leader in three-pointers.

It was an injury that led him to Knicks stardom.

In every bad situation, some good will come out of it! 

John Starks received a try-out with the Knicks but wasn’t expected to make the team.

Fortune favors the bold and Starks had plenty of that intangible skill. During try-outs, his 6’3” frame attempted a dunk over 7’0” Patrick Ewing.

The hall of fame center rejected the dunk and slammed Starks to the ground causing Starks to injure his knee. NBA rules state that a player cannot be cut from a roster if they are injured, so he remained on the team.

It was after he returned that the Knicks began to value his work ethic so much that he garnered playing time. His injury became a hinge moment. The injury caused and created a future all-star. 10 

It doesn’t matter where we are on the depth chart, or how bad things seem. We need to stay ready because it only takes one! For our hinge to connect, we must have confidence. In every BAD situation, Some GOOD will come out of it. 


Dr. Rob Bell Mental Toughness

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 on Mental Toughness  

Save Your Kid When You Remember This One Mental Toughness Tip

 Remember that one player as a youth who somehow had a beard? Typically the best athletes at younger ages are the biggest and the most physically developed.

So, won’t the best 12-year-olds in the nation will be the best professionals, and major champion winners, olympic medalists and so on? It rarely happens, because of the many factors that go into long-term development! 

Let’s compare two youth athletes’ journeys because the mental toughness tip is: It’s not who gets there first, it’s who can get there and stay there.

Golf is a sport where physical development is less important and occurs much later. It’s such a mental game, so this kid had a proverbial mental beard. He played beyond his years, didn’t make mistakes, and won—a lot.

He was not only the number-one 12-year-old golfer in California, but he was so good that at one international tournament he shot 73-70 and won it by sixteen shots! 

When he finished sixth at Junior World Golf Championships that same year—the best field in the world, he was disappointed. At that time in California, future PGA champion Rickie Fowler looked up to this kid.

As a freshman in high school, every collegiate program wanted this golfer, and everyone approached him.

The expectations for this young man were tremendous, and he admitted that when he began to struggle, he thought he was letting everyone down. When his physical growth occurred, his golf swing changed, he became confused with mechanics, started enjoying other sports, and soon lost confidence. 

Remember, confidence is king. Although, that’s not the mental toughness tip. 

Luckily, his stellar grades buffered him from finding his complete identity in being only a golfer. 

He still managed to play in college, but at a much lower level. This golfer’s name, Joe Skovron, would later become Rickie Fowler’s caddy on the PGA Tour. An excellent gig, but this isn’t the mental toughness tip. 

In comparison, the other youth athlete played all different competitive sports at a younger age, including football, baseball, and basketball.

Everyone in the state of Indiana played basketball, and his dad played basketball in college, so his dad struggled somewhat when he stopped playing.

The expectation was never for this kid to play professional golf. 

He didn’t start playing competitive golf until 12 years old, which means he started playing at a much later age than others. The expectations from every round of golf were to have fun, learn something, have a positive experience and make a friend.

In an eighth grade tournament, he shot an 89 in the first round. In the car ride, they didn’t discuss the round at all—only the excellent par on the last hole. He responded by shooting a 71 the next day.

Patrick Rodgers’ development and passion for golf took off in high school.

His dad and mom always allowed golf to be their son’s thing. They didn’t push. Patrick ended up playing golf at Stanford, tied Tiger Woods’ record with eleven wins, became the number-one ranked collegiate golfer, won the Ben Hogan award, and turned professional after his junior season.

Stories about late-bloomers, two or three star athletes are numerous. The mental toughness tip is to be patient and remember kids are as only as good as their practice and passion towards it. The passion of a player translates into their dedication, work-ethic, and overall mentality. 

mental toughness tip

Dr. Rob Bell Mental Toughness

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 on Mental Toughness  

Why The Mental Game of Golf is NOT Successful

I entered a golf tournament last year. I do it because I compete in everything I do. 

I was playing pretty well for me heading into the tournament. I committed to lessons, and didn’t have to rely on my athleticism to find a way to make par. I shot 77 the week before, but I was finally striking the ball well for once in my life. 

It was pretty solid.  I was excited to play.

My short game is my strength and I’m a fantastic putter. If I manage to keep the ball in front of me, then I can play okay. 

Well, the second hole of the tourney, I hit it high right. And high right again on holes four and five. I made the turn at plus 2  and hit it high right on 10 & 11, bogey and double-bogey. 

I was struggling. 

In running, it’s called bonking. In golf, it’s called limping in. Awful feeling. 

Not much changed during the second day of the tournament. 

Champions can adjust. I could not. 

Where did the mental game of golf come into play? 

It was secondary. It was not important. 

The mental game was not a focus because of how bad I was hitting the ball. 

How could I focus on having fun, staying in the moment, playing it one shot at a time, and letting it go, when I was striking the ball so poorly? 

That is why the mental game does NOT work! 

The mental game of golf can NOT be secondary! 

When the mental game fails, it’s because of this reason. It was secondary.

We approach the mental game and mental toughness as an ancillary benefit. We treat it like a stocking stuffer instead of a gift under the tree. 

We all act like the mental game of golf is a nap we take when tired instead of the number of hours we actually need to sleep. 

We do not hold the mental game as a primary goal and that’s why it fails. 

We try to make deals with our mental game and we do not focus on it. 

We treat it as an if/then statement. For example, IF I’m playing okay, THEN I’ll move on and focus on the next shot. 

Let’s say, we had a simple goal of 1) committing to the shot. That’s it! One goal. 

That’s fantastic, but then we plugged in the bunker on a hole and sailed the green on the next. We committed to the shot, and it didn’t work, so then, we bagged it! We focused on hitting it better, which means tons of different things, and we floated into the abyss of results thinking. 

We got away from our goal of 1) committing to the shot. 

It was a stocking stuffer. We didn’t value it enough to put it under the tree. 

The only way the mental game of golf works is if it is the PRIMARY Goal.

If the ONLY goal was to commit to the shot, even when we hit it bad, we committed to the goal and what that process looked like for us. It’s not easy of course, but it allowed us to compete and stay focused. We can accept those results. 

Now, here’s the rub: IF we committed to our goal, IF we stayed with it and did not stray, then we know we gave ourselves the best chance for success. Plus, our mental game goal is 100% in our control. It’s part of the process, independent of  results.  

Players and coaches, we must remember that we are in the process business, NOT the results business. 

Let’s say we set a goal to “have fun.” It’s our goal because we know if we can simply focus on that, then we usually play better and do not get stuck inside of our own head. If our ONLY goal is to have fun and enjoy it, then it is 100% in our control. We can do that! However, If “have fun” is just an ancillary benefit or a secondary goal, then once we start to not play well, we bag it. POOF! 

The mental game becomes an If/Then statement.

IF I play well, THEN I’ll have fun.  Sorry, that doesn’t work. That’s making deals with ourselves, not goals. 

That’s what I see and hear from players and sadly, experience it myself. 

The mental game is the same across all other sports. If it isn’t held up as the standard and the only goal, then it is dependent upon results and outcome. 

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 on Mental Toughness 

(INFOGRAPHIC) 8 Deadly Ways to Build Persistence

Every morning, I tweet out the same phase:

Patience & Persistence…

It’s a mantra. A belief system.

Persistence, Mental Toughness, and Grit are all muscles. We can build persistence and we can build patience. 

Theses skills are muscles that we build like creativity, speed, and strength.  You increase the perseverance muscle by exercising the very traits detailed within this infographic. 

The simple reason why this title has “deadly” in it, is that in order to build persistence, we must fail, fail, and fail some more. Losing and failure sure feels deadly, but just remember failure is NOT fatal. 

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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 on Mental Toughness 

What I Learned Speaking to the NFL Strength Coaches

I delivered the keynote to the NFL Strength Coaches banquet this week to basically kick off the NFL scouting combine. 

It was really cool. I love coaches and it was humbling to have these giants talk with me about their own Hinge moments and mental toughness. 

It was a fantastic dinner, listening to great stories, and just meeting such inspiring coaches. 

They gave the awards after the dinner and Jerry Palmieri received the lifetime achievement award. He wonderfully represents the NFL strength coaches. He just retired from the Giants and has been in strength coaching since 1983. 

He gave an excellent speech and talked about the three things he learned from coaching. It was after he mentioned all of his mentors and proteges in the room that it dawned on me. 

This guy has personally coached thousands of athletes and mentored hundreds of other strength coaches. You can safely estimate that the guys he deeply impacted and directly changed their lives just because of his coaching is generational. 

Then, from the people he directed impacted to the many numbers of people that they themselves impacted gets pretty mind boggling. 

When I looked around the room at the head NFL strength coaches and the assistant NFL strength coaches, the sheer number of people and families influenced, changed, and impacted in some fashion from the coaches in that room was easily in the millions! MILLIONS. 

Coaches truly are the most important hinge in people’s lives. 

The best part is that everyone is a coach!

You can’t know the number of people that you impact, but you do make a difference. 

The world is different because that you are in it. If we focus on making it better and impacting people, our lives change as well.  

Thanks to all the people who started the 30 Days to Mental Toughness Challenge. Excited that you’re taking part and creating a better YOU and US. Sorry, if you missed out on this round. Next month begins another challenge. 

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 on Mental Toughness 

How Did The Miracle on Snow Happen?

Simen Hegstad Krueger, a Norweign, was in his first ever Olympic race. In the opening 150 meters of the 30k cross-country event, he crashed, other racers piled on top of him, and he even broke his pole. His immediate first thought after the crash was “It was over.” He was in last place out of 68 of the other top athletes in the world. Then, the miracle on snow happened!

He fought back and ended up winning the Gold Medal by over 20 seconds! How does this miracle even happen? 

Could it be that the crash actually helped him?

Before and during performances, our arousal levels naturally rise.  We want to do well so there is a ton more energy and anticipation before important competitions. There is a tendency to have expectations before competitions as well.

Expectations are not always a good thing. Confidence is good of course, but expectations have to do with the outcome and the results are out of our control. 

So, when a situation like a crash occurs, it forces a major shift in attention and the expectations are literally removed. His first thought after the crash was “It was over.” So, all he could do, is simply race. No thoughts on tactics or strategy, just execute his technique and go. 

The Miracle on Snow has been experienced by many other athletes that have expectations removed. 

In 2002 at the Tampa Bay Classic, K. J. Choi had been suffering from terrible stomach pains. Many saw him grabbing his abdomen during the final round. He later stated that the pain made him say to himself, “I’ll just take it hole by hole.” He won the tournament by an amazing seven shots and had his appendix removed the next day.

In 1995, Ben Crenshaw won the Masters. What’s remarkable about this achievement is that he arrived at the tournament with his game in shambles, barely making cuts, and the Sunday prior, he had lost his teacher and friend, Harvey Penick. He flew back to Austin for the funeral on Wednesday evening, the night before the tournament. “I don’t know how I got through it,” Crenshaw replied. “I still don’t.”

Padraig Harrington hurt his wrist so badly prior to playing the 2008 Open Championship, that he only gave himself a 50 percent chance of actually finishing the tournament. In fact, he remarked that if he had not been defending his title, he probably would not have played. “It was a great distraction for me,” Harrington said. “It took a lot of pressure off me. It took a lot of stress off me. The fact that I didn’t play three practice rounds like normal for a major was a big bonus. I was very fresh going into the weekend, and [these] thirty-six holes was a real battle.”

All of these competitors basically had their own miracle on snow moment and were able to accomplish greatness in spite of their circumstances because they had no expectations on the outcome.

Having no expectations in turn forced them to focus only on what was in front of them. They got out of their own way!

It’s the same for us as well, when we get out of our own way, by focusing just on the next play, this moment, we all perform better. No expectations! 

It’s not known “what-if” he didn’t crash, would he have still won the Gold medal? Well, we don’t know because “what-if” never happened, he did crash, and he won. 

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 on Mental Toughness