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to build Mental Toughness

30 Seconds to Build Mental Toughness


Playing baseball in high school, all I wanted for Christmas was to go to a baseball camp in Sarasota Florida. As a pitcher, we learned these strengthening exercises that are now the norm. The Major League instructor told us all that when we returned home, we wouldn’t do these exercises.

I balked at the notion, bought the 5 lb weights and performed these rotational movements. He was correct however, this lasted just a few weeks…

Mental Toughness is often difficult to evaluate because it involves our response to difficult and/or stressful situations. It means doing those things that we simply don’t want to do, getting out of our comfort zone, and taking care of the little things that it takes to be a champion.

Most of you will dismiss this mental strength exercise, won’t see any value, and scoff at the notion that 30 seconds to build mental toughness. Here it is:

At the end of your shower, turn the water on cold for 30 seconds….

It’s like doing the ice-bucket challenge, but in your shower and for longer, and no-one will film it.

We must not fear 30-seconds of a cold shower to build mental toughness.

If you do a tough mudder, it’ll be much worse. The 30-seconds is no different than pushing yourself in a race or workout or having a pressure situation in a game. You have to push through it and focus. More importantly, you must recognize the type of thoughts that arise and how to control these thoughts.

What’s amazing though is the fear and apprehension to the build up. Trust me, you will not die! Yes, it will be uncomfortable, most likely take your breath away, and involve some physical reactions to the cold water.

The cold water causes you to narrow your focus and it’ll be near impossible to distract yourself from the sensation. You’ll notice immediately what your thoughts attend to and you’ll instantly develop a strategy to build mental toughness. 

You can count to thirty, sing yourself, spin around, or tell yourself motivating statements.

Either way, you’ll find very quickly what type of thoughts enter your mind and what you do with them. At the end, bask in the thought that you just did what most aren’t willing to do.

Carry that motivation into your day.

Of course, you can refuse this 30-second test, no-one will know… except for you.

“Do something everyday for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test.”-William James

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 

I was told early on in life to use “I” statements. I was also instructed to use feeling words like frustrated, upset, and agitated. Yep, those seem accurate descriptors when I am pissed. The key is to train and remember this linguistic skill during stressful times especially when having arguments (growth moments) with my wife.

However, I was never properly instructed on how I should talk to myself.

We rarely talk negative to ourselves when we are thriving and doing well; frankly that’s not mental toughness! When we are on track, we can basically say anything to ourselves that will help us focus.

Mental Toughness however occurs when we are struggling, when things are not going well. The inner chatter, inner voice, and dialogue that we have can take a dramatically different tone.

We are also poor at diagnosing our own self-talk. So, check this out and let me know if you agree.

YOU idiot, YOU suck today, YOU should know better…You, You, You…

These dominate the negative thoughts. I think the YOU statements occupy about 80% of the negativity.

The YOU voice can also ask rhetorical, outcome-based questions. “Are you sure you should be here?” ” You think that is correct?” “Suppose you fail?”

It doesn’t mean we don’t use negative I statements, but if we had a negative parent, or a negative coach, chances are, the YOU negativity, are the statements we will hear. I’ve even heard pro’s at the end of a season just berate themselves, and say things like “you’ve never had it.” Who told him that?

When we hear that inner voice utter YOU, it’s a red flag. The YOU voice is accusatory, its judgmental, and it saps our confidence and focus. It is the same reason why we don’t use it in discussions with our spouse.

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   

Recently, a collegiate basketball game displayed that the starting forwards scored 41 of the team’s 66 points, 62% of the total points. Without seeing the game, one might imagine that these individuals were either dominating post players or excellent shooters.

Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either. 

It is often the actions that cannot be quantified that lead a team to success. Team success is a direct result of superior execution of its members. The most cohesive teams consist of individuals who have a strong understanding of their roles in order to make the entire team better. What this collegiate team successfully did, was execute the “Pick & Roll.” 

Every offensive possession by this team was centered on the Pick & Roll. As their point guard approached the 3-point arc, a pick was set on the defender to provide the ball carrier with space. This triggered the motion offense where the defenders struggled to maintain their man-to-man defensive coverage. Several crisp passes, or a back-screen later, and the forward who set the pick usually found the ball in his hands with a simple lay-up.

Each player must “buy in” to the game plan for the Pick & Roll to work.

(check out here 8 negatives of the pick & roll). Players must make the efforts necessary to execute the critical actions of success that may even go individually unnoticed in the box score.  If the play breaks down enough, it can cause a lack of trust in the system or the teammates, which is why complete “buy-in” is paramount! Remember though, that the best number that doesn’t lie is the “w.”

 Brain FosterAuthor: Brian Foster is a graduate student in Sport Psychology. His thesis is focused on Optimism and Psychological Momentum in Sport. He can be reached at bfoster@bsu.edu

 

 

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 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 .

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