Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants had a mantra to his mental toughness which was “Firm, Fair, Honest, & Demanding.” He was all business! Or as Hall of Famer Michael Strahan said “He was a tyrant.”
Tom Coughlin had a rule for all of his professional athletes. If you show up to a meeting five minutes early, you’re late.
Michael Strahan was fined $500 for showing up to an 8:30 meeting at 8:27. He didn’t even show up to the 2007 training camp because he hated his coach.
Tom Coughlin knew that 2007 was going to be his last year, and he said ” I’m going to enjoy it.”
So, he changed….
He added “caring” to his mantra and mental toughness. He allowed his players to see the real him. The first day of pre-season, he even took his team bowling…
Michael Strahan said in his wildest dreams he never thought he’d last one season with Tom Coughlin as coach, never-mind win a SuperBowl. The New York Giants won it all in 2007.
Dick Vermeil became head coach of the St. Louis Rams in 1997 after a fifteen year absence from all of coaching.
He was infamous for 3 to 4 hour practices in full pads every day of the week.
He worked his players so hard that before one game in 1998 against the Bears, the entire team had a meeting about whether they should even play!
They had 9 wins in 2 years.
So, he changed…
He cut down practices to 1.5 hours no matter the situation and made sure his players were fresh heading into Sunday.
They won the Super Bowl in 1999.
A mental toughness change won two Super Bowls.
Change isn’t easy, but it is necessary. It’s too easy to get complacent and become stuck with the mindset that “this is how we do things.” Change is scary because it means getting out of our comfort zone. These Hall of Fame coaches realized that what had got them there wasn’t going to keep them there, so they made the commitment to change.
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