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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?

A young kung fu student travels to meet a renowned sensei… The student tells the master that he wants to train under him to become a powerful samurai and asked “how long it would take”?

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The master tells him it will take 10 years of training. Unsatisfied, the student says that he will work harder than any student, to which the master replies, that it will take 20 years now. Again unsatisfied, the student says he will train harder day and night. This time the master replies, now it would take 30 years.

The confused student asks the master why it will take longer the harder he works. The sensei responds, “The answer is clear, when one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the way.”Are you framing your work ONLY in terms of the end goal? When we do this, we lose part of that focus we need to accomplish our goals.

Understanding the process and experiencing the journey it takes to reach a goal, is what helps us stay committed to our work. Don’t allow the destination to become more important than the journey.

About the Author: Will Drumright is an Associate of DRB. He works with athletes of all ages, especially good one’s. He can be reached at  wcdrumright@gmail.com or twitter  @wcdrummy15 

In the 2013 AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots held a halftime lead of 13-7. Nothing extraordinary, except that with Bill Belichick as head coach and Tom Brady as Quarterback, the Patriots were 67-0 at home. After the game they became 67-1.

This defeat unofficially marked the end of the Hinge Dynasty for the New England Patriots.

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The Hinge by itself consists of moments and people that make all of the difference. Throw enough Hinges together, with enough time, and there becomes the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots ascension to greatness had been on hinge moments and people. Some people may call it twists of fate; because both fans and non-fans of the Patriots have benefitted from watching the Patriots win and lose.

Depending on our beliefs, The Hinge in part, serves as a proof that things happen how they are supposed to. Let’s examine the Hinge Dynasty….

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In 2000, Bill Belichick was the head coach at The New York Jets for just 1 day before resigning to take the head coaching position at The New England Patriots.

In March 2001, Drew Bledsoe, already a pro-bowl quarterback for the Patriots, re-signed a deal with the team for a then record, $103 million. During the second game of that season, Drew Bledsoe was knocked out the game and replaced by, 6th round and 199th overall pick, Tom Brady.

In 2001, the AFC playoff game took place between The Patriots and The Raiders. The game was in the snow at Foxborough stadium and the Raiders led 13-10. Tom Brady and The Patriots had the ball with 1:52 left when Charles Woodson sacked Tom Brady, the ball came loose, and was recovered by The Raiders, which would have sealed the game…“When you see a guy sulk his head, like Tom did, you know he fumbled”- said Raider, Roland Williams.

The Hinge…

The play was reviewed and the infamous, now defunct, “tuck-rule” was put into play and the call was reversed. NO FUMBLE! The Patriots tied the game up, won it in overtime, and won super bowl XXVI against the heavily favored Rams.

To this day, try and find someone outside of the New England area that doesn’t think that Tom Brady fumbled the football.

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The Patriots were dubbed a “dynasty”, after winning three Super Bowls in four years; quite the feat. Then in 2007, the infamous “SpyGate” took place, which found that the Patriots illegally videotaped practices and other teams walk-throughs. The details of “SpyGate” still remain controversial about how long the videotaping actually took place. However, many people still clamor that this scandal was a turning point or hinge moment for the franchise as well.

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In 2007, the Patriots were undefeated and ready to cap off the “perfect season” by beating the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. A perfect season comes up every year but hasn’t been accomplished since the 1973 Dolphins.

It became one of the best Super Bowls in history with the most miraculous play. Eli Manning somehow escapes the grasp of Jarvis Green and makes the throw. Rodney Harrison was the defender on David Tyree, when he made “the catch.” Was there anyone else in the league better at knocking down passes? Rodney Harrison later said, “Not in a million years does he make that catch again.” He also later commented how David Tyree must have been meant to make that catch.

The Hinge…

One play before “the helmet catch” was even more significant, yet most outside of Boston and New York don’t even remember it. Eli throws an awful pass to David Tyree that All-Pro corner back, Asante Samuel of the Patriots jumps and intercepts… Except Asante Samuel didn’t catch it, as it went right through his fingers. Asante Samuel, (the same corner back who has seven post-season interceptions and four interceptions returned for touchdowns.)

During the rematch, Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots were leading 17-15. It was 2nd and 11 at the Giants 44 yard line, four minutes left in the game, and the Patriots were driving…

The Hinge…

Tom Brady threw a pass to the best receiver on the field, Wes Welker. If there is one person in the entire NFL that catches the ball, it’s Wes Welker. Oddly enough, a wide-open Wes Welker dropped the pass, which would have given them a first down. Chris Collingsworth stated at the time “[he] catches that pass 100 out of 100 times.”

The following play was the best of the game, a sensational 45-yard pass and catch from Eli Manning to Mario Manningham. The Giants win…

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The Hinge consists of moments and people that make all the difference. The hinge certainly cannot explain all of the “what if’s” of this dynasty. It just illustrates that these moments made all of the difference. Maybe these events were just coincidences, or the way things work out, or that these were meant to happen. It depends entirely on the belief system that we possess.

The New England Patriots were a Hinge Dynasty, and the loss at home in the 2013 AFC championship marked the end. However, perhaps if we look close enough, all dynasties are formed through hinge moments.

say to a referee

The One Word to Say to a Referee?


When I worked with HOF baseball coach, Tommy Pharr. He would use this one word all of the time….It later dawned on me, It really worked! This is the thing to say to a referee.

Surprisingly, it is the same word to say to a police officer if you get pulled over….

Both police officers and referees bring out the worst emotions in us… There is usually a call we disagree with, and in the moment, we are charged up with the situation of the game.

Disagreeing with referees are emotion filled because it means a poor call was made and it may be pivotal. These moments require precision with our words…Getting too aggressive, defensive, or making a referee feel like they made a bad call rarely works to our advantage. What often happens is the coach or athlete reacts, by shouting, getting upset, or saying it was a horrible call. Since they are not going to switch the call anyways,we can only make the situation worse.  We must not react with emotion rather, respond with poise. 

The goal should be to respond to the call, and help that the next questionable call will go our way. Not to mention being a good role model and keeping our cool. Referees are human as well; so feel free to use this one word to say to a referee to help with the next call…

WOW!!!

This word is not aggressive, it assesses no blame, and it gets the point across!!!

This one word to say to a referee  puts the emotion and thoughts back onto the referee where it should be. The referee hears the word, or sees the emotion and body language of “wow”, and starts to mentally process their call and the situation. “Hmmm”“Did I make the right call”,  “He is kind of dumbfounded, was that correct?” 

When we respond with poise, we can also ask “why” a call was made, and the referee will be more likely to take the time to answer, which will, in turn, help us coach and understand “why.”

However, If we react with emotion, ref’s become closed off and less likely to respond to us OR respond with their OWN emotion.

Now, each questionable call can’t be responded with “wow”, because it may lose it luster.

Besides, there are other words that help convey the same meaning…“Unbelievable”  is akin to “wow”  and can be used interchangeably, but lets not overthink ourselves here… Feel free to begin applying this mental game technique and you’ll see the results…


Dr. Rob Bell Mental Toughness

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 books on Mental Toughness 

First, it’s not the QB, a kicker, or even a lacrosse goalie. The toughest position is not only stressful and demands thick skin, but it is completely thankless; it’s the referee. Think about it, the best officials are invisible, because they only warrant consideration when something bad has happened. Nonetheless, the best games possess a flow, fairness, and game management only available through the toughest position on the field.

In addition, we all have to be officials at certain points on our own team or career. Interviewing the toughest of toughest positions on the field (SEC football officials) has revealed three keys for all of us to follow:

1)   Get excited, not nervous-

Prior to a game, referees get the same type of feelings and thoughts as the players. The best get excited rather than nervous and the difference rests in how they perceive the situation. They must view games as “we get to call a good game,” rather than “I hope I don’t mess up a call.” It’s the same in our own lives, when we get excited; we view things as challenges (something we get to do) rather than threats (something bad can happen).

2)   Communicate-

Since the game has changed in 20 years from big guys or fast guys, to big and fast guys, there are more “gut” or “marginal” calls on the field.

The head official is only one addressing the crowd at the game, so he must administer the call not only correctly, but also timely. When you see the referees gather together, it may even come down to the head official’s decision to make the call.

3)   Re-focus-

There are approximately 170-180 plays in a game and referees never call a perfect game. The officials focus on their preparation, rely on their mantra of “ready, every play”, and the pre-snap routine. Every official has a different role on the field, so each person goes through a specific mental checklist that helps them focus.

However, mistakes still happen. Thus, some of the referees actually have a physical re-focus cue to help them on the most important play; the next play. When something goes poorly in your own life, what is your re-focus cue?

 Dr. Rob Bell is the author of Mental Toughness Training for Golf, an AASP certified Sport Psychology consultant, and caddy on tour. He consults with athletes, coaches, and teams at all levels helping build and enhance their own mental toughness. His website is www.drrobbell.com and you can find him on Twitter @drrobbell