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Sports parents

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I love my kids more than anything. So, I get it, how they perform is important to me. But their performance is not a reflection of my parenting, just a shadow. The most important elements of youth sports is passion- a love for their sport! Each of the following recommendation is related to nurturing their own passion. Remember, sport teaches whatever we want it to teach…

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Here are 6 ways that sports parents are doing it wrong.


1. Wanting it more than them- I get calls every single week from parents wanting our mental coaching for their son/daughter. I have to screen each parent, and one question I ask them, “Is this something your child wants?”  Whatever the situation they have to want it, period.  No matter the sport, the best athletes have that passion. They don’t have to be asked to work at it, because they love it. 

2. Not allowing them to fail- Losing hurts and it should hurt. The pain eventually subsides, but if we remove the failure, setbacks, and allowing them ownership of their mistakes, than we actually cheapen the joy of winning. How can we truly appreciate winning and improvement if we have never lost? The safety net for children has become dangerously close to actually touching them. They know mom or dad (sports parents) will take care of it… Example: “I forgot my glove, my gatorade, jersey, goggles, putter, etc, Mom and dad will pick it up for me.”

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3. Traveling too early- It’s the gateway drug to specialization. Anything before late middle school is too early. A few travel tournaments or matches here and there is great, its fun! But even for young kids, the trips have become every single weekend. Here’s the danger, it becomes expensive and once they start traveling, it’s too easy to buy the idea that they now have to pick a sport and stay with it. Specialization isn’t all that either because the specific movements with different sports actually transfer. Jumping, running, throwing, all transfer across sports! Playing a variety of sports achieves that goal of skill development. Plus, each sport offers a unique advantage, competitiveness. When they learn to compete in many different sports, they will eventually transfer that skill of competitiveness to their favorite!

 4. Not emphasize & reward effort- Effort is everything. But as sports parents, we forget that. If we only emphasize the outcome, athletes will learn and internalize “all that matters is winning.”  Players that are good will win early and often, until they no longer win. If parents only emphasize rankings, final scores, and talent, then taking risks, addressing weaknesses, and competing become afterthoughts. At some point, they are no longer the best, and they can become stuck in limbo between past expectations and low confidence. Question for sports parents: shouldn’t the best 12-year old in the nation almost always be one the best 18-year olds? Rarely happens because winning and outward appearance was rewarded instead.

5. Blame coach, system, or refs- I was sitting next to a parent of a future DI basketball player whose brother had made it to the NBA. This sport parent was miserable and every single play or refs call that did not go his son’s way, was heard by everyone including his son. I cried on the inside, because there is no way that this kid was happy either. A little league coach once told me when he knew parents were talking about him because the kids would no longer look him in the eye. Sad…It’s about progress not perfection. It’s not your role to call or blame coach about playing time, change coaches or schools, or get a lesson every time they play bad. 

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6. Over-communicating with themThere are good opportunities to talk about their performance and not good ones. During the game is NOT the appropriate time. However, all the time, parents are communicating with their son/daughter. Body language doesn’t talk, it screams, and they can see your negative behavior. Also, the stands can be packed with hundreds or thousands of screaming people, and the ONE voice they will recognize is yours! Why are you trying to coach them during their performance? 

I get it, no one has an ugly child, but if he/she becomes great, then they will get noticed. Really want to be a good sport parent? Just tell them, “I love watching you play.”


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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   

Everything we want in life is on the other side of our comfort zone. Building mental toughness means being comfortable getting uncomfortable.


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   

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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   

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   

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. Koala’s 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 diarehea. 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 fit through almost any 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 the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their 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- 

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

James Altucher’s podcast and book stated the three types of business that SELL themselves. If you can help others out with one of these three issues, you’ll be rich.

We need mental toughness in order to achieve our goals, and my fun 4-minute talk was given on the mental skill needed to accomplish one of these…

Check out the awesome SPARKS Talks here…


 

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- 

Dr. Rob Bell true success

Duke basketball fans have one of the most indelible student sections in all of sports: The Cameron Crazies. They epitomize passion, organization, and wittiness. They camp out in Krzyzewskiville for three months prior to games, they hand out cheat sheets for the student cheers, and were the one’s that coined the now famous “air-ball” chant.

Can you imagine that the Cameron crazies once actually cheered for an opposing player?

During one game in 1995, Joe Smith of the Maryland Terrapins was unstoppable. He scored 40 points, had 18 rebounds, and had a tip-in basket as time expired to beat Duke, 94-92.

At the end of the game, after they lost, they truly applauded Joe Smith!

True success is being able to root for everyone.

However, we often feel threatened by others having success, because somehow it means that we can’t be successful too. Inter-team conflicts are based on the belief that success is limited. Therefore, we operate on the actions that not only do I need to be the best that I can be, but remove any obstacle in that path, including anyone vying for my position or record.

We perpetuate this notion and create a culture of it. Whenever we call out someone, put down a coach, or another company, we are doing so based out of fear. I hate it when I notice that I’m rooting against someone or envious of other’s success. It’s just based out of a fear that I won’t reach my own goals.

When we root for others, it means that we are confident. It shows that we are secure enough to actually wish the best for others. That is true success!

When I post this philosophy online, I’ll get questions like ‘even the Yankees?” It doesn’t mean that we have to cheer or root for our direct competition. It just means that we should look for opportunities to cooperate, cross-promote, and learn from them.

Rooting for everyone also means wanting to beat people at their best. I hate it when people make excuses for losing, because it tries to take away the winners success. We should want them to play well, but just for us to perform a little bit better. It doesn’t take away from our own drive or hating to lose.

We actually need others to succeed so we know what we have to do in order to improve. A funny thing happens when others around us have success. It cements the belief in ourselves that it is possible to reach the next level. If everyone around us was mediocre, what models do we have to get better?


Dr. 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 . 

everyone gets a mental toughness trophyAs a parent of an athlete, there is really only one responsibility, support your son or daughter. Problem is many parents get the tonic of support mixed up with liquor of critiquing the game or practice. Tonic is fine, Liquor, never sicker…I wonder do kids lose the passion for sports or do their parents kill that passion with all the expectations, criticisms, and post-game rants?

I watch it after every game. Parents come over and immediately start talking about how they could have done this better, should have made this play, or performed a certain skill. I have made a conscious effort after each performance to do two things with my own kids.

1. Compliment their effort and tell them I love watching them play.

Believe me it is not always easy, but after having a conversation with my daughter, I will continue to stick to two things post-game. After listening and I watched a couple families do their thing after the game was over and tell their kid about not fouling, how to pass, when to dribble, proper shooting technique, moving their feet faster on defense, etc. I thought, holy crap, this is their first real game of basketball EVER! One parent went so far as to take his daughter out on the court and give her a lesson in boxing out the opponent to get the rebound.

2. ASK your child on how they want to be coached: 

I asked my daughter if she liked it when I have critiqued her play in the past. Again, she said, “No.” It felt like a fist to my face!

So, I changed… I merely referred to a couple of loose balls she dove for on the ground and how she hustled up and down the court each time on defense.  I never once talked about something she could have done better. I will leave that up to the coaches. I did tell her if she ever wants my opinion about anything I will give it to her, but she has to ask. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

dr rob bell mental toughness article. Coach Justin Dehmer holds Back-to-Back-to-Back State Championships and 3x Coach of the Year 2010, 2011, 2012. National Record 87 Game Winning Streak in 2011 ended in 2012 at 88. Contact www.1PitchWarrior.com   Twitter @1PitchWarrior  coachd@1pitchwarrior.com