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As Good As its Gets Tri-Star Pictures

As Good As its Gets
Tri-Star Pictures

When I first heard the Beatles song, HELP  in high school I loved it, but actually thought it made little sense.

When I was younger (So much younger than) so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way! 

But as with life, songs that were just cool, Glory Days, & The Summer of 69′, actually began to change and deepen their meaning over time.

I always enjoyed listening to a coach’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech, as they thanked their partner! It made sense, rightly so, but like the songs, I couldn’t really get it until later in life! No one gets there alone, and especially without a loving, supportive partner! A coach’s husband or wives are the one’s who make the biggest sacrifice!! My wife is the best! I needed her help.

My life used to be predicated on the erroneous belief, that if it needs to be done, “Rob, you better do it.” That’s the wrong song to play in my head. The issue was that in many ways it was effective. Running a marathon, publishing 4 books, starting a business, working with elite athletes, caddying on tour, was on my own strength, right? ha, wrong! It’s only after things go bad, do we understand how much that we need others!

Mental Toughness is not doing it all by yourself, it’s actually being able to ask for help!  People want to help, but ironically no one wants to ask for help! It is best to know what type of help that we want and are we willing to take it?

Here’s five ways to ask for help!


  1. Can you watch this?

    These are a coach’s favorite words to hear! A coach is someone who helps you get somewhere that you want to go. They want to help, so be prepared to be willing to receive the feedback they offer.

  2. I’d really like your opinion on something…

    I have found that most people don’t expect you to solve their issue for them, but to just listen! However, too often we feel the need to sweep in and try and fix it. If we do this, then they may not turn to us later, or worse, expect us to always fix “it.” Either option actually build’s dependency, not capacity.

  3. Have you ever struggled with?

    Just be honest! Lay it out there and you’ll see how many people will connect with you. A true friend or coach is someone who can tell you, “Hey, I get it, it’s okay.”

  4. How do you?

    My friend Matt Tully is a good golfer, but every time we play, he starts asking me questions about swings, mechanics, strategy, tour players, etc. Then he proceeds to shoot 74 and beats me. This isn’t a game by him, (he actually is the best guy ever) so I concluded that he really wants as much information as possible just so he can get better.

  5. I look forward to hanging out with you…

    The things that people miss most are just hanging out with one another. That’s why so many    relationships are built on the golf course. Peyton Manning said it during his retirement, the thing he will miss most is the time in the locker room, just hanging out with one another. So, be sure to  tell whomever your going to hang out with that you look forward to talking.


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   

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

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- 

My high school baseball coach once praised me behind closed doors but criticized me in front of my teammates. I think he had it backward, but I wasn’t mentally tough at the time. He served as a huge external motivator to prove him wrong later in life.

My junior varsity soccer coach taught me the most. He would run us for miles and miles and throw in sprints along the way. We had a massive hill that we would run. The day before games, whoever we were playing, we had to sprint 50 yards while shouting out each letter of the team! North Hagerstown was a tough one. He taught me that it was a privilege to train.

Coaches are the most important person in today’s society. It doesn’t matter if you have a poor coach either. All coaches teach us something, either how to do things, or how not to do things.

Top 10 things I’ve learned from coaches

  1. You are paid to read-

I read about 15 books one year and felt pretty good. Except, when Tim Roberts told me that he read 93 books that year, he added why, “You are PAID to read.” The knowledge is out there, but it’s a coach’s job to sift through everything and communicate the main thing, whatever the main thing is.

  1. Create an environment that you are missed if you are not there-

Lou Holtz was a genius. He knew that the best place to work was determined by the environment that we created. I was a professor at a University and was no longer living my passion of working with teams and athletes. My work and attitude suffered. I had to leave because I couldn’t foster an environment where I wanted to be. Maybe some people missed me, but the school didn’t stop, and I didn’t get too many calls begging for me to come back.

  1. Listen-

The first time I met head coach Chuck Pagano was at the NFL combine. I introduced myself and told him my profession. What he did next was amazing. He asked me a question. “Hey, what’s the one thing you stress to your athletes?” I answered it well I thought, but what struck me as odd is why he asked me a question. Head NFL coaches usually don’t do that. But that is exactly how he got to where he is. He listens. Asking questions is the best straw to stir the drink of listening.

  1. Sit in front- 

Hall Of Fame baseball coaches Tommy Pharr and Tim Corbin seemed to race to see who got the closest seat at any conference session. That’s all the proof I needed.

  1. It doesn’t matter what you know- 

What matters more is what they learn. Can you communicate it and keep it simple? Great coaches master the simple. As Coach Herb Sendek said  “Simplicity is the room I want to live in.”

  1. Themes instead of absolutes-

They always seem to stress that what we do is not as important as how we do it. We want to trust our constituents to do what they do; take risks, play free, and utilize their strengths. The best coaches have principles in place, but allow freedom to work within a framework. They make adjustments and aren’t married to only one style.

  1. You’ll get fired-

There are two types of coaches, those that have been fired and those that will be fired. I was fired twice after two of my athletes had career changing wins. I thought I would have been fired after they lost. But after they won, they actually didn’t need me anymore. My job is to build capacity, not dependency. There is only a handful of coaches in any sport that haven’t been fired at some point.

  1. Be the coach you always wanted-

Everyone is a coach and we are always communicating. A coach is someone that takes you somewhere you want to go.

  1. Thank the coach- 

Coaches Mark James and Brian Satterfield end practice the same way, they shake each player’s hand. Simple, yet powerful. No matter the type of practice or outcome of a game, the ending is the same. It was created as a way to put a type of positive closure on a poor day, a way to END it positively.

  1. A better you makes a better us- 

And a better us makes a better you. We need to root for those around us to get better. Too often we look at others as competition and a threat, rather than an opportunity to improve. Frankly, it’s the only way to improve.

 

 

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 Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

prevent the big meltdown

Max Faulkner Star-Telegram

3 ways to prevent the big meltdown

I took a few steps to my right at second base to field a simple ground ball. I dropped it… Run scored, game over! 

I then proceeded to punch the brick wall of the dugout before getting on the bus, I probably broke it (my hand, not the wall), I don’t remember. All I know is that I now wouldn’t play the next game. There’s always two types of pain…

Here’s how to prevent the big meltdown.


Mistakes happen, errors and failure are a painful part of the game. But, what happens next is still most important. The next play or the next day. Read our article on  What happens when we experience the BIG LOSS? 

The University of Northern Iowa suffered the worst meltdown I’ve ever seen. Up 12 points vs. Texas A & M with 44 seconds remaining to reach the sweet 16. They were a good team!!

The Texas Rangers had an epic meltdown in Game 5 of the series with 3 consecutive infield errors soon followed by a 3-run homer. I felt bad for Elvis Andrus.

The Bartman incident in 2003 with the Cubs, led to a meltdown by Alou, followed by a walk, followed by a base hit, then a crucial error by shortstop Gonzalez.

Boise State lost to Nevada in 2010, by missing a 26 yard FG in regulation, then missed a 29 FG in OT.

Meltdowns are like a huge wave crashing into the shore.  One mistake leads to another. There is a science behind the collection of mistakes. Catastrophe theory.

To prevent the big meltdown is that the one mistake and the adrenaline and anxiety tip past the point of return.

Then there becomes an extreme drop off in performance, hence, catastrophe. These meltdowns occur in bigger moments because of the importance of the situation increase, so does the overall anxiety level. Mistakes earlier in competition can be let go of easier because there’s still a lot of game to be played.

Here are three ways to prevent The Big Meltdown

Use the Time-Out

Once the error happens later in the game, use the time-out! Coaches can ease the tension and uptightness by making the transition from problematic to relaxed. Rallying the troops means to assemble everyone and bring order. The time-out allows this to happen. Too often, this gets overlooked.

During the time-out, reinforce the belief and poise in the players and team. Have them own the awareness that it’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback. So what? Next play.

Remove the emotion

During stressful and emotional situations, we revert to how we trained!  If we have practiced remaining calm, breathing, refocusing, then we will implement these skills when they are needed. These skills are the best at removing the emotional situation and focusing on making the next play. Mental Toughness prevents the big meltdown. To keep your head when others are losing theirs.

Listen to the cock-pit recording as Captain Sullenberger experienced the depth of emotions when his plane struck the gaggle of birds shortly after take-off in New York. He remained calm as a Hindu cow because his training allowed him to re-focus on the task at hand, successfully landing the full plane with no power in the most populated area in the entire world.

Have a Plan

Short-term, process goals create focus.

Long-range, outcome-based goals create stress.  

Prevent the big meltdown by applying this…After a mistake, using the time out, and removing the emotion: what’s our plan? Short-term goals like make a stop, get an out, knock it down, throw a good pass, aggressive serve, etc. What’s the immediate goal?

Larry Bird stealing the in-bound pass or Reggie Miller scoring 8 points in nine seconds both had an immediate focus on the goal, make a play! 


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- 

hate koala bears


Why I Hate Koala Bears


I hate things that aren’t what they appear to be. It’s why I can’t stand politics. Nothing is what they make it out to be.  

I am a wash and wear kind of guy.

I’ve had a few famous idols in my life and was unlucky enough to meet them all. They never lived up to my expectations.

I still get caught up in appearances as much as anyone. It bothers me when I encounter athletes that look like a demigod, but don’t have mental toughness. They may be the fastest on the field, but lack that all important “it” factor.  George Foreman once stated, “ Big guys have everything, except motivation.”

Koala bears fit the mold of not what they appear to be.  I thought they were cute until I pulled back the curtain and exposed the wizard.

  1. First of all, they aren’t even bears, they are marsupials.
  2. Koala’s sleep over 20 hours in the day. They are lazy! Anyone actually see them moving around in a zoo?
  3. Over 90% of Koala’s have chlamydia! Gross to even think about, but it’s also the biggest control to their population.
  4. Koalas are incontinent, they are constantly peeing all over themselves, probably while they sleep too.  Can’t be a pleasant smell.
  5. As if you need one more reason,  baby’s feed on their mother’s “pap,” that’s short for poop I think. The babies actually eat their mother’s diarrhea. (Sorry I had to mention it.)

Rats, on the other hand, are NOT cute, but they are tough. Sure, they spread the plague, but you know what you’ll get with a rat. I’ll take a rat any day of the week. Rats also get a bad rap as snitches. Odd moniker, but it stuck. If I had a college mascot, I would actually name them the Rats.

  1. Rats are an animal that can tread water for over 24 hours.
  2. They can chew through lead pipes and cinder blocks and run on telephone wires.
  3. They carry around a tail the length of their body and can still fit through almost any size hole.
  4. They can run up to 24 mph. That’s fast!
  5. 95% of the animals tested in laboratories are rats and the one mammal that could survive a nuclear explosion.

Rats even have one of the best kids movies of all-time, Ratatouille.  Koala bears don’t have that.

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 our most recent books on Mental Toughness- 

                                      How to End Practice


I would never said goodbye at any party or wedding. I always left exactly the same way.  I hated giving the formal goodbye, because people never let you leave  without some sort of guilt play.

So, I would duck out the door.  No goodbye. Like ripping off a band-aid.

It’s probably how most people do it today in real life. No two-weeks notice, no official break-up, and especially not face to face. Just a text. Here’s how to end practice.

My daughter hates that I’ve implemented the principle of how we end everything. We Thank the Coach! She is six and gets it.

Coaches and mentors are the most important person in our lives. Everyone needs a coach!

Coaches Mark James and Brain Satterfield end practice the same way, they shake each player’s hand. Simple, yet powerful. NO matter the type of practice or outcome of game, the ending is the same. It was created as a way to put any type of closure to a good or poor day, a way to END it positive. 

Players even started looking forward to it. The worst punishment coach could ever deliver is telling one of their players, “I don’t want to see you after practice.” They got it together pretty quick.

A positive ending is essential because we can’t know the last time we are ever going to see someone. Travis Smith played golf at Ball State and I distinctly remember seeing him at practice before I left for Nashville. I don’t recall saying goodbye… He died in a car accident in 2007. There’s no amount of money his parents wouldn’t have given to spend just a few more moments with him.

Money isn’t the most precious resource, its time. Make sure you end everything with a handshake and a thank you.

 

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- 

I asked Archie Manning and Andre Agassi to read my next book and provide testimonials, because they would be perfect for its message to parents. I got through to their agents, they said, “no.” Andre Agassi  denied my request three times. I hate rejection, check that, my ego hates rejection.

Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times, his ego must not have got in the way. What takes place in my mind after losing, or getting rejected is that feeling that I’m not good enough. The setback just affirms that belief, “see, here’s the proof.”

Gym owner and coach, Tyler Miller, of Force Barbell knows when someone isn’t going to make a certain lift, because their approach to the lift is different. Feeling helpless is learned, so is mental toughness. Having limiting beliefs are learned. We set up our own mental barriers about how good we will be.

PIKE syndrome A study was done with Pike fish in a tank, where they released minnows and watched as the Pike gobbled them up. Then , they placed the minnows inside of a jar so the Pike could not get to it. It still went after it, nailing the glass jar time and time again. After a period of time, the jar was removed and the minnows swam freely, meaning the Pike fish could once again feast…This time, the Pike fish did nothing! It stayed there, and eventually starved to death!  The power of nature didn’t allow the fish to survive. The Pike syndrome has to be at least 10x stronger for us humans.

How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man? – Bob Dylan

Self-imposed limiting beliefs are everywhere. For example, “you’re good, but not that good?”  “she’s pretty, but you’re just okay?” If we are unaware of our identity and our mission, then the limiting beliefs will still arise and keep us from reaching our full potential. It’s a mental tether.

Baby Elephants As a means of training an elephant, when they are very small, they are tethered by a thick rope to a stake in the ground. As a baby, it lacks the strength to break free, so eventually, it stops trying. Even when the elephant is large enough and could easily break the rope around its leg, it refuses to do so. The massive size of an elephant learned to be helpless.

Dogs & Electric Shocks Seligman was the first to coin the phrase learned helplessness. I highly recommend his book Authentic Happiness:  His experiment with dogs exposed them to electric shocks, in which they could not escape. After the dogs actually had an out and could escape the shocks, just like the elephant and the Pike fish, they did nothing. The dogs had to be physically removed, no amount of rewards, or praise would get them to leave the shocks. They learned helplessness.

If you want it bad enough, you have to BELIEVE. More importantly, we’ll have to go through our own  shocks, mental tethers, and glass jars. These are the times of non-belief that determine if we will remain steadfast and eventually break free.

 

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 Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

Herschel Walker Mental Toughness

Herschel Walker was made fun at school and never went out to recess because he was afraid of getting beat up. His teacher used to put him in the corner of the room because he had a speech impediment, and called him “special.” His father used to give him a quarter to buy a snack at school. Herschel would give it to another kid, so they could buy a snack as long as they would talk to him. After the kid had finished his snack, he would go back to making fun of him.

The last day of school in 8th grade, he went out to recess and got beat up, bad. He said to himself “never again….When your name is called, you have to stand up.”

Mental Toughness is often caught rather than taught. From that Hinge moment in school, he didn’t train to become a great athlete, he trained to become a super hero. How did he do it?

He did 5,000 sit-ups & 5,000 push-ups every day! Herschel also ran on a dirt track every day, with a rope tied to his waist dragging a tire.

He transformed himself from one of the slowest guys in the school, to one of the fastest in the state of Georgia by the 9th grade.

During an interview with Jim Rome, Herschel was asked when was the last day he missed a workout? He replied “NEVER.”

Sometimes, our mess becomes our message. Mental Toughness means doing what others aren’t willing to do.
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 .

don’t question your mental toughness


 

There is “no question” about it. Did this cliche’ emerge in sports? I’m not sure, it’s just where I hear it most often.

What I’ll hear from competitors is how often they question themselves. “how did I do that?” “what are you doing?” “why am I out here today?” ” What are YOU DOING!?” 

Mental toughness doesn’t ask questions. I don’t hear an athlete playing well, ask themselves “how are you playing so well?”  “How are you so awesome?!” 

Questions during competition emerge after mistakes and they make sense, but they are rhetorical, and they aren’t answered. All they do is lead to more questions or merely go unanswered.

If you want to become more mentally strong then do this instead!

Don’t question your own mental toughness!

Things will go bad, and we aren’t going to always play our best, so we will need to make adjustments. But, questions don’t lead to many positive adjustments, just more questions.

So, we need to give ourselves instructions about what to do NEXT.

Try statements instead.

We are either listening to ourselves or telling ourselves.

“Okay, next play,” “wow, that wasn’t the best,” “stay aggressive,” “find a way.” 

These statements can even be motivational, but I’ve found that the best make slight instructional adjustments.   We don’t need questions about ourselves or our play, we just need to develop a habit of telling  ourselves what to do next.


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