The Hinge connects who we are with who we become. It is the one moment, event, or person that makes the difference in our lives…

Readers-DigestAs a teenager, my grandmother used to give me the awesome gift of, wait for it, Reader’s Digest…As a fifteen year-old, Reader’s Digest really didn’t fit my needs. However, it did become great bathroom material and I would read it while on the porcelain throne. Well, within Reader’s Digest, I once read a story about the “runner’s high,” the physiological and psychological effect that runners would sometimes encounter during long runs. It was like “being in the zone.” The study looked at how the personalities of those running long distances may transfer into other areas of their lives…. Fast-forward eight years to the end of college; I had to choose a research project in my advanced Psychology class to graduate. I immediately remembered the Runner’s High story in Reader’s Digest and replicated the same study, with no further thought.

I knew early on that Sport Psychology would become my chosen path in life, so I applied to Temple University’s graduate school, although I never really applied myself in undergrad until my junior year, I was a hinge candidate at best.

The in-person interview went surprisingly well and, in fact, the Temple University professor repeatedly probed at length my little research project on the Runner’s High. I was actually accepted and even received a graduate assistantship that paid for school. Turns out, my professor, Dr. Michael Sachs, was the one who coined the phrase, Runner’s High…

The Hinge….

If it weren’t for my grandmother supplying me with Reader’s Digest subscriptions as a teenager, I would not have been accepted into Temple University’s graduate program, nor met my wife, nor continued on to Graduate work at The University of Tennessee, nor caddied on the PGA Tour, or work with so many gifted athletes. My story and this story would have been different. Things happened in my life for a reason.

Who or what have been hinges in your life?  Share your Hinge moment here. 

docAuthor: Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach and the author of his 2nd book- The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness It is on pre-order and will be out in September.

In early 2000’s, Ken Ravizza was doing one of his impromptus, yet standing room only, presentations at the national conference of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. He was working with the Anaheim Angels at the time and one of his messages was “don’t ask for gear.”

In essence, if the team and coaches enjoy your work, they will freely offer you team gear and swag. I LOVED IT! I have lived by this mantra, although I thoroughly enjoy fresh warm-ups, lids, and jackets. I have a passion for supporting and helping the various teams I work.

Here’s the deal, if you want to know your effectiveness, let the coach get your size and outfit you. I have come to associate that a coach that freely gives you “gear” means he/she wants you to be present and a part of the team. It is a small, yet important, token of appreciation and a rite of passage.

You’re receiving monetary compensation as well (you should be if you’re not), so it doesn’t necessarily mean a coach that doesn’t “outfit” you appreciate you, but it does go a long way.

What are small ways that you feel a part of the organization or team that you work with?