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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 recommendations 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 them There 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.”


dr rob bell

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   

This 3 minute video explains the one thing that we can never do when it comes to our mental toughness…

This skill is the basis of all other psychological skills. 

Click on Picture to watch…

basis of all mental toughness

 

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 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 .

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 3.11.31 PMWe are having our annual SuperBowl party and sure enough I get a few online responses of Maybe. So, maybe eight (8) more people are coming to the party OR maybe not!

Am I rejected for a better party, or what? Either scenario I play out sounds downright negative. Maybe sounds more like NO, but it isn’t.  Maybe is cousins to I’ll think it over and let me get back to you. 

The answer is worst than NO. 

No is like a tearing off a bandaid, it stings, but we get over to it.

At an 8th grade dance, I finally got up enough nerve to ask this girl to dance. It was one of those, “I have the biggest crush on this girl” type of thing, so I devised the great plan to ask the girl at the dance! No pressure, no diamond.

I had heard up to that point in my life the cliché’ of “what’s the worst she could say?” “NO.” Now, NO would be painful and the fear of hearing that rejection is what caused all of the anxiety and stress. But I hadn’t even contemplated her response of  “Oh wow, Let me get back to you.” 

Maybe freezes us and places us in purgatory. I limped back to my side of the gym completely stuck. I wasn’t prepared for a maybe. At first I was actually excited, she didn’t reply “no,”  but, the excitement soon turned into detest.

Did she really mean maybe, or did she actually mean no? My only recourse was to ask someone else, but how could I, because she said, MAYBE.  She rejected me with a maybe and I learned early on that No isn’t the worst answer and I wouldn’t accept maybe’s or think it over’s any longer, until Evites over our Super Bowl party.

Don’t be the person who gives the answer of Maybe and certainly don’t accept the answer of Maybe.

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   

 

There’s a Huge MYTH about Trust

The best part about sports is that it is NOT like life. In athletics, A team or player won or lost, period.  Wash and wear. There is little ambiguity, because the Ball Don’t Lie.

Life on the other hand has tons of ambiguity to it. It is not as clear cut, nor clean. In fact, it’s messy.  In Life, there is a lot of gray.

Trust is the most important mental skill. (e.g., confidence) for success because it impacts all the other mental skills, but we automatically think in all or nothing terms…We have trust or we don’t. There’s the huge myth about trust. 

Trust is a continuum, It’s not ALL or NOTHING! Addicts think that way, ALL or NOTHING. I am either the best ever, or I am a horrible loser and no one is there for me.

I trust my pastor, but not for him to cut my hair. I trust myself with helping high-performers and athletes, but not for me to fix my own deck or garage door.

It’s not a question of IF I trust, it’s a question of HOW MUCH do I trust?

Trust is a process… HOW MUCH do we trust our coaches and loved one’s?  Trust affects everything because the more we trust and have confidence, the better focused, relaxed, and honest we become. Think about it, if we give a task to someone and know that it will be done, it frees us up to focus on something else.

How much do we trust our gut, and our own instincts?

Life teaches us that we are going to struggle and also be under pressure moments. When we mess up, how much of our trust and confidence is left, and how do we continue to build and work on it.

Proverbs 3:5-Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

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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   

Glenn South 40I really had little clue of the importance of details.  I’ve heard it and lived it many times, but it finally hit home. While shooting the mental toughness film titled No Fear- A Simple Guide to Mental Toughness. Did you know that if one can accurately roll the A/V cables, then you’ll have a job in the movie/video/MTV business. That’s it, and always show up 15-minutes early.

Media production classes even have rolling up AV cable as part of the final. It’s that important. The cables are 2k a piece (on the low end) and in the midst of tons of expensive equipment, the cables can’t ever be compromised. Any kink in the cable can cause the slightest volume fluctuation or disruption. It all starts and ends with how they are rolled up. In large moving sets, the cables must be thrown out so that they will roll successfully and fast.

Now, I take great pride in everything I do, but I admit, I neglected the rolling up piece. I know how my christmas lights are stored away and even my ear buds in my gym bag. I run into kinks all the time!

How we finish is important, like stretching, writing out to-do lists, cooling down, and checking over our work for errors. But when you’re finished, it doesn’t matter until you start again…Maybe that’s the key, finishing strong and going over the details helps us when we start again, because there is no finish line.  If it made a significant difference, would we actually pay attention to it or just hope for a job in the movie industry?

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. 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

Sport psychologist caddying on PGA Tour

caddying PGA Tour

I’ve been in the applied field of Sport Psychology for 10 years, 3+ years entirely as a full-time professional, leaving academia to pursue my passion and start my own business.

My major types of clients are professional golfers, and I have caddied on tour since 2006. Caddying was a natural fit because it was a way to morph into an “on the field” coach during actual competition; no better feeling in my opinion.

In 2012, I am caddying for my client during the last PGA Tour event of the year. He is playing well, 1st place after the first round, and although he moved back a bit during the other rounds, he still had a chance to post a top-10 finish.

Fifteen minutes before each round, we always had a coach-up session, where we devised our mental and course game plan. Every day we had the same simple mental game plan because simple is powerful and simple works. Thus, before the last round, he approached me and I laid it out for him (hence the big mistake).

In the past I have used the following game plan and mentality, and it has been successful, so I wasn’t freewheeling at all. However, there is a lot of intuition with coaching and sometimes coaxing. So, when he asked, “what’s our game plan,” I replied with, “It’s your day.”

He walked away immediately shaking his head in disapproval and mentioned how he didn’t really like it and asked if I had anything else? So, ten minutes before tee-time, I tried to justify, defend, and explain my mantra…. What else am I going to say at that point, “It’s NOT your day?” I said it, believing that good things were going to happen and staying with our process that had worked.

He teed off and proceeded to hit the ball in a hazard, took a drop, hit it in the middle of the green, and 3-putted for a double bogey. Walking on to the 2nd tee, he mentioned to me “yep, it’s my day all right.”

Only after a delay in the middle of the fourth fairway, did we have a chance to backtrack and re-focus. He played solid the rest of the day, but in a sport with large purses and where every shot counts, the damage had been done.

It’s Your Day!

The mistake was that I “got in the way” of my athlete. Perhaps, I inadvertently put the focus on factors outside of his control, believing that it was going to be a good day and that good things were going to happen. I also couldn’t account for the fact that he had heard this phrase a long time ago and played horribly.

Nonetheless, I made a mistake. Less is (almost) always more and I broke it. I tried to get creative and go off menu with my coaching style at the moment. It’s still a fault of mine; there are many tools in the shed and I want to use them all, when just one would do. It takes a genius to keep it simple.

Lastly, it was a costly mistake and if we are in a field of coaching and helping people, we are going to make mistakes. It is one true system of really discovering what methods work and what doesn’t in applied settings.

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   

Kenyan runnersKenyan runners dominate the world in competitive distance running. Many run barefoot, but they’ll tell you their personal best time right along with their name. With almost half of the entire population in poverty, if someone in a nearby village wins a small half-marathon and a check for $2,500 that is four times the yearly median income. In Kenya, the will to escape is channeled into running. The motivation to “make it” is a direct result from the environment.

The Olympic and world champions of the sport in Kenya train along side those merely trying to break through. These runners, regardless of skill, motivate one another to keep going, recognizing with painful clarity just how fleeting success can be.

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Since 1972, Cuba has won 32 Olympic Gold medals in boxing, more than any other country, despite the country’s boycott of the 1980 & 1984 games. However, the boxers status goes only as far as the amateur ranks. Fidel Castro banned professional boxing in the 1960s.

A Cuban boxer desiring to turn professional must defect, leaving everything and everybody behind including the motivational structure. It is a decision filled with torment, especially in the heavily family-oriented Cuban culture. Dyosbelis Hurtado, who defected in 1994, stated, “It was the toughest decision I’ve ever made because of my family. My mama, papa and seven brothers are still in Cuba. I don’t know how many more years will pass before I see them.”

“[You] can do it, so can I”

We need models to show us how they did it, coaches to teach us how to do it, and others around us trying to do it as well.

The same motivational structure exists for Brazilian soccer, running groups, AdvoCare,® CrossFit,® masters swimming clubs, Jenny Craig,® or Alcoholics Anonymous.® These groups all rely on each other as “how-to” models and coaches.

We are connected to others. We need models in our lives to show us how things are done and others to continually raise the bar for us. It is the external motivation that connects….Will your Hinge connect? Click here to subscribe to my mailing list

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   

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 

An A.D. that I met with recently discussed how one of their best basketball players always played safe. On one hand, the point guard made few mistakes and played consistent. However, the point guard also held back and never “took over a game.” They lacked mental toughness… 

At a swim meet yesterday, I spoke with a swimming coach who remarked how one of his swimmers never “went for it” and reached her potential.

The “Safe” athlete is the new normal.

From helmets used in soccer, face-masks for “fielding,” and mouth guards galore, we are overly concerned for our athletes “safety.” In some cases, this is justified. However, when it comes to playing our best, “safe” doesn’t cut it.

A “safe” athlete is afraid of messing up. They know that they can play it “safe” and not get judged too harshly, or risk defeat through their play. The motivation to put oneself “out there” simply does not outweigh the risk of defeat.

At some point, these athletes were judged too harshly on their mistakes and they were not allowed to fail! In turn, the athlete quickly discerned to just “not mess up.” The reality is that sport and life is all about failure, we are going to have setbacks more than we are going to win, and this is the process.

A huge part of the game is the unknown, the feeling of putting yourself against another of equal or more ability and seeing what happens. This feeling is nervousness, excitement, and anticipation. It is uncomfortable, but the only way to achieve success is to be comfortable, being uncomfortable.

Unless that athlete is allowed to fail and know they are “safe” OUTSIDE  of the sport, they won’t risk it, and put it on the line IN their sport.

The A.D. had a heart to heart with the athlete, and told the point guard she wasn’t reaching her potential and that she would later regret it. That one talk changed everything and now the point guard plays with a passion unafraid to fail.

“Show me an athlete who is afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you an athlete you can beat every time.” Unknown

 

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   

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