Hinge Moment

Hinge Moment

The Hinge Moment of The Coronavirus Crisis 

Every door has a hinge! A door without a hinge is a wall, it just doesn’t work!

When you hear of doors opening or closing in life, it is because of the hinge. If you ever hear a rusty door, it’s not the door that’s rusty at all, it’s the hinge that’s rusty

Small hinges open big doors! 

In our own lives, the hinge connects who we are with who we are going to become!

If you look at any important game or close competition, it came down to that one play that made all of the difference. In our own lives, there was one person who made such an impact on our lives. If we reflect, one decision connected us to who we would become. 

The Importance of Mental Toughness is that no matter how bad our situation, how bleak an outcome looks, it only takes one!!

One person, moment, or decision. 

Now there will be many significant moments and they are not always evident when they occur. Sometimes we don’t know (and can’t know) the impact of that one moment or person until weeks, months or years later!

We can’t connect the dots looking forward, we can only connect the dots looking backward! 

Except, tragedies that happen in our lives become an immediate hinge moment. Most of life’s setbacks are inconveniences, but tragedies such as the death of a loved one, cancer, or serious accidents are immediate because, from that moment on, everything is different. 

The coronavirus crisis is a Hinge Moment. 

Now, we can’t know the impact of this Coronavirus situation, but what we do know is that things are, and will be, different. 

Here’s how to respond to this external crisis

Read: The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness 

There is fear, uncertainty, and a severe lack of control. The veil of control that we think we have has been lowered. We are not in control and now we are required to deal, handle, and cope with the adversity! 

This timestamp of life will reveal our level of grit, determination, resiliency, and mental toughness. 

Simple question- does this hinge moment become a time of staying bitter or getting better

Rome was not built in a day, but it was not destroyed in a day either! 

It is a slow fade that takes place.

NOW, becomes an either /or period in our lives!

We use an excuse to not work-out or train. We cop out by blaming the external for our plight. We stay angry and lash out. We criticize anybody or anything that messes with how we see the world and the Coronavirus situation. We isolate. We remain fearful and anxious. 


We set up a routine for our daily lives. We write out one area of our life that we want to focus on. We stay connected with others through texting, Facebook, or calls. We marinate our own mind with mental toughness! We double down on our training. We attack a 30-day challenge! We master the simple! We focus on others because it gets us outside of our own head. 

There is no easy way out. There is no short-cut. Most people will stop, complain, and eventually quit. 


Make the choice to prepare and get better. It will pay-off! We just don’t know when that pay off will happen. Life pays us off when IT wants to, not when WE want it to! 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 




WKUDuring the bowl season, there was the greatest single football play ever that sealed an incredible comeback. Except the comeback victory didn’t happen.

In another college football bowl game, there was also a dramatic comeback that did result in a victory. The difference was that The Hinge connected for one and it didn’t for another and there was a reason why.

Game 1: Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Read this insight from James Jimenez The greatest comeback that never happened

WKU was leading 49-14 in the fourth quarter. Central Michigan came back and was behind 49-42 with just one-second left. They then had the most remarkable pass play since The Play (see Cal vs. Stanford). From their own 20-yard line, and four laterals later, they scored a touchdown. The play made the score 49-48. It was a Hinge moment!

Coach Enos decided to go for a two-point conversion to win the game and an incomplete pass later the game was over. They lost.

Wait, what? The Hinge connects; it was supposed to provide Central Michigan with the win. What happened? Coach Dan Enos said he originally planned to kick the extra point. Someone yelled to go for it and he changed his mind, he called the extra point team back off of the field and went for the win.

Coach Enos didn’t trust his gut.

Game 2: Armed Forces Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Houston

Pitt was leading 31-6 in the fourth quarter. University of Houston was still behind 34-20 and then proceeded to get not only 1, but also 2 successful onside kicks. A Hinge moment! Houston scored on a 25-yard touchdown play to trail 34-33 with just 59 seconds remaining. Coach Gibbs went for a two-point conversion and they scored to take the lead and win the game 35-34. It became the largest 4th quarter comeback in Bowl history.

Coach Gibbs said, “We made a decision the 1st day of practice that if it came down to the end of the game, we were going for two, no matter what,” Gibbs said. “There was no decision. They knew three weeks ago.” Thus, coach Gibbs had prepared for the exact moment that occurred.

Why did Houston comeback and Central Michigan did not? Coach Gibbs trusted his gut, and when we trust our gut, the hinge connects. What we need to learn from this is that each of us needs to trust our gut, our intuition.

Our gut is our in-born GPS that we all have. We must trust it, it is extremely difficult, but it is also necessary for The Hinge to connect. We have no idea when our Hinge moment will occur, but we must prepare for it.

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   

Every one of us is getting ready for a hinge moment, event, or person that will make all the difference in our lives. However, we just don’t know when or who that will happen. In fact, we may not know the impact until weeks, months, or even years after.

We can’t connect the dots moving forward in life, we can only connect them looking backwards.- Steve Jobs 

The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness.

In order for our Hinge to connect, we need to keep giving ourselves opportunities. Hinge moments require that we stay confident in ourselves to keep connecting with others and striving to get better. However, when we isolate and lose confidence, the Hinge fails to connect.

As Gandhi said , “you may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result.” You must be ready because when your opportunity hits, it’s too late to prepare.

Since each of us will have opportunities, here are three (3) people who took advantage of their Hinge moment! 

1. John Brooks-  

hinge moment

His goal beat Ghana in the 1st round of the World Cup. He became the 1st ever substitute to ever score in a World Cup Match for the United States. He only entered the game at half-time because another player, Matt Besler, was injured. With only four minutes left in the game, it appeared the game was going to be a draw. John Brooks was even on the bubble for making the USA roster. However, he told his teammates, “ I actually dreamt about making a header on a corner kick in the 80th minute to win the game.”


2.  Linda Perry-

hinge moment

She was the lead singer of 90’s band, 4 Non-blondes, and they had their 15-minutes of fame with the hit, “What’s Going On.”

Often as it goes, the success did not last, and a few years later, Linda Perry was sunk….

She was completely broke for three weeks, when an unknown artist contacted her and told her how she admired Linda Perry’s earlier work. Linda Perry had just finished writing a song, titled “Get The Party Started.” You guessed it, the unknown artist was Pink and it launched her career.  Linda Perry thereafter has written tons of top songs for artists like Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, & Adam Lambert.

3. Vin Scully-

hinge momentVin Scully was the hall-of-fame announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The greatest of all-time has been announcing Dodger games for 65 straight years! He called his 19th no-hitter when Clayton Kershaw accomplished it.

His Hinge moment occurred when he returned from the Navy and was announcing games for Fordham University.  


He sent 150 letters to radio stations all along the east coast and received only 1 reply from CBS Sports Radio. He started working alongside Red Barber and called his 1st game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950.

Will Your Hinge Connect? 


top mental toughness coach

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 An Olympic Gold Medalist And I Shared A Hinge Moment

Most of my life, I have been a sport obsessed honk, not only playing but also following every sport, in every possible venue. 

For instance, as a kid, I used to watch EVERY SINGLE match of Wimbledon on HBO during the summer.

I always just assumed that the best win, end of story. As a kid, I had no idea that there was a mental component to winning or even playing consistent.

In 1992, my beliefs changed. 

Reebok had launched a campaign titled Dan or Dave, who is the best athlete in the world? Who will take home the Gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics? The competition was between Dave Johnson and Dan O’Brien, two USA decathletes.

However, even before the Olympics began, during Olympic trials, Dan O’Brien was leading after the 1st day of competition and on record-setting pace.

However, during the 8th event, the pole vault, Dan O’Brien stunningly failed in three attempts, scored zero points, and drifted to last place.  He said, “it was like a dream, I wanted to turn to somebody and say, “Do something.”

Our Mess Becomes our Message…

However, he also said something I’ll never forget. During his weakest moment, he said “I pity anyone who goes against me in the next four years.” 

I was so intrigued that anything like this had happened that I began to follow his career, even cutting out the newspaper clipping from that day!!! It was his Hinge moment because our mess becomes our message… [ I took his picture holding this framed 1992 newspaper article that hangs in my office.]

It became my Hinge as well, because Dan O’Brien began to see a sport psychologist to help with his mental preparation. He admitted that there were too many variables in his preparation and he needed to become more mentally tough.

Well, in 1996, he won the Gold medal in the Decathlon in Atlanta and set the all-time record.

I knew from that hinge moment I wanted to help athletes feel the greatest joy of performing well when it mattered the most. 

I would become a Sport Psychology coach.  And I DID. 

I’ve been blessed to be with my athletes during the most intense times. For more information on Dan O’Brien and his journey, check out his awesome book.

hinge moment

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 mental toughness books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

became the hinge moment


How A Reader’s Digest Became The Hinge Moment

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…We just don’t know when or who that person or event will be. 

I’ve had many Hinge moments, some good and some tragedies. I’ve even shared a Hinge moment with An Olympic Champion. 

This is the earliest of My Hinge Moments, that would take almost ten years before it connected me with who I became. 

As a teenager, my grandmother used to give me the awesome gift of, wait for it, Reader’s Digest magazine…Thanks, Grandma! 

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. I thought it was cool. This was long before my Marathon and Ironman days. 

Fast-forward nine years to the end of my undergraduate college; I had to choose a research project in my advanced Psychology class to graduate. We were to find a previous research study and replicate it. Well, immediately, the image that came to mind was the Runner’s High story in Reader’s Digest magazine. I tried to do the same study, did okay I guess, and presented it an undergraduate conference and thought no more about it. 

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 on-phone interview went surprisingly well and, in fact, the Temple University professor who was interviewing repeatedly probed at length my little research project on the Runner’s High.

I was accepted and even received a graduate assistantship that paid for my graduate school. 

The Hinge Moment….

As it turned out, my professor, Dr. Michael Sachs in 1984 was the one who basically coined the phrase, “Runners High” for his research. 

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. I wouldn’t have written a book titled: The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness either. 

We have no idea who or what may be The Hinge Moment. Our role is simply to be prepared. 

My story and this story would have been different. 

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

dr rob bell

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 mental toughness books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.