Two years ago, on April 27th, 2011, I faced a very real and dangerous storm. That day EF4 tornados ripped through the state of Alabama and my home of Tuscaloosa. The immense amount of devastation Tuscaloosa and the surrounding cities experienced that day is hard to put into words.

In the wake of immense devastation and tragedy, the spirit and pride of the Tuscaloosa community shined brightly. Immediately after the storm, the entire community united together to help everyone who had been affected. It didn’t matter what the job was, who it was for, or what it took because people were willing to do anything they could to help clean up and rebuild the city. In the days that followed the storm, the Tuscaloosa community taught me that it’s not the storms you experience in your life, but rather how you respond to them that defines you.

Do Your Worst!

My favorite scene in The Count of Monte Cristo is the Birthday Toast. In this scene, the Count of Monte Cristo remarks, “The boy’s reply to all of this was do your worst” as he toasts Albert for his display of courage when he was attacked and threatened by criminals. He then finishes the toast with this statement: “You must look into that storm, just as you did in Rome and say do your worst, for I shall do mine.”

This type of resiliency by a community is not an isolated example. Nearly two weeks ago, a different type of storm took place in Boston when the bombs exploded. This strength shown by the people in Boston made them a stronger city and now more people than ever will try to qualify for next years race. People have seen the worst a storm can do, and now they want to show it what their ‘worst’ looks like.

Life is full of storms and they come at the most unexpected times… We aren’t in control of the storms, but we are in control of our response. Whatever type of storm you may be experiencing, I hope that you respond with the strength and resolve that I witnessed in Tuscaloosa. Look at that storm and say ‘Do your worst’ because you know you can get through it and will be stronger because of it.

This article is dedicated to the victims of the April 27, 2011 storms. 4/27/11 Never Forget

Will DrumrightAbout 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 or twitter  @wcdrummy15

Hinge (definition): Noun–A movable joint or mechanism…that connects linked objects. (v): A circumstance upon which other events depend.

The Greenbrier resort in White Sulpher Springs, WV, housed a secretive bunker that was built in the early 1960s. Located about five hours from Washington D.C., this

The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier

underground bunker actually became a part of U.S. defense. It was built to survive an indirect bomb strike, relying on the secrecy of its location and the West Virginia mountains for protection. If needed, it would have housed the entire Congress as a fallout shelter. This secret bunker lasted for 30 some years, only to be revealed in 1992.

The Bunker possessed three massive, blast-proof doors, each weighing over 20 tons. The doors were about fifteen feet high, thirteen feet wide, and 20 inches thick. Despite the enormity of these doors, it only took about fifty pounds of pressure to open and close them.

The reason one person could easily close these enormous doors was the hinge. The stronger the door, the more important the hinge, and the hinge used for the blast doors weighed 1.5 tons. Without the hinge, the massive doors would have been unmovable.


How often have we felt like that door? We felt confident, in control, at ease, and self-assured of what we are doing. We were as strong as the 29-ton door with amazing hinges. Other times, we have felt the opposite. We have been discouraged; lacked confidence, focus, or burnout from our passion. The door has not changed, it has remained strong. What has changed is the hinge…

The hinge is so integral to any door, cabinet, table, or bridge that, without it, these items become useless. The hinge is also crucial to our anatomy: hips, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles. No matter how strong our legs are, if we have a torn ACL, our legs are useless.

The hinge connects. We need the hinge. Connection is why we are here…

The hinge is real. The hinge connects. And it only takes one.  The hinge is moments or opportunities that make all the difference. We are the door, but a door without a hinge is a wall. Since we can’t know when a hinge will connect, it is our role to have mental toughness.


simple technique to get my athletes relaxed

Simple Technique To Get Your Athletes Relaxed

The question surfaces often by coaches and parents:

“How can I help some of my athletes relax before big (games, meets, races, etc.)”

Tom Petty said it best, “the waiting is the hardest part.”  It’s the amount of time to actually “think” before a competition that causes the most stress.

Since, the moment itself provides enough excitement, NOT nervousness, it is a matter of athletes NOT getting “over-hyped” rather than being “under-hyped.”

Here’s How To Get Your Athletes Relaxed

Aside from actual mental training and mental toughness that focuses on pre-competition strategies, there actually is a super-fun way to help ease the tension of an entire team and get em’ relaxed. 

When I am with teams at ALL levels, I’ll use any break or transition to play the old reliable “rock, paper, scissors.”




It is easy, fun, fast, and best of all, competitive.

All athletes hate to lose, so they can switch their focus to winning a game of RPS rather easily.

These moments have scored big points with getting their mind away from the upcoming competition. But more importantly, I also use the quick game to help them with their focus, confidence, and to ease the tension. This is a simple technique to get your athletes relaxed! 


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. 

You may know the feeling… Cold water and lack of oxygen jolts you: you realize that you jumped in way over your head.  Limbs are flailing, lungs are gasping, and your mind can’t focus on anything but the struggle between fighting to breathe, and giving up completely…Maybe it’s just your morning shower or perhaps as I thought and did, “Hey, triathlons would be a good idea!”

This was my situation as I attempted the longest open water swim course I had ever swum.

The “swim-for-dear-life” technique is not very effective. When you are under the influence of Fear, most of your energy is wasted. I wasn’t swimming hard enough that day to really raise my heart rate.  But the most powerful tool fear uses is the endless cycle of “what-ifs” and “negative thinking”.

I was not just exerting myself physically.  I was also mentally spiraling back and forth between belief in myself and doubt. There was a distinct moment halfway through when I recognized that my doubts and fear had a cold grip on me.

Fear is between you and your goals and there are two things you must do.

1. Get in touch with your motivation.  What is your “why” for racing? I was in this water because I had an even bigger race goal, the following month.  I knew that I had freely chosen this event, had trained properly for it, and needed it in order to accomplish the bigger goal.  Aligning with your original motivation for the task at hand will give you the needed courage.

2. Focus. Have a “mantra” – something to repeat to yourself that would be encouraging in times of stress.  I have a favorite prayer that is short and sweet, and repeating it to myself put my strokes to a rhythm and cleared my mind.

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” – Dorothy Bernard

 About the Author: Elyssa Smith is a triathlete and distance runner. She and her husband own Runnertainment, a sportainment company that provides encouragement for runners and multisport athletes. Elyssa is now pursuing her master’s degree in counseling and sports psychology.

pain of discipline or pain of regret

Pain of Discipline OR Pain of Regret

I encountered a painful reminder on the 5k race.

I ran and pushed my daughter in the stroller. My mileage and tempo was no longer where it needs to be to set PR’s, but I figured I could still win at least the stroller division! Here’s where I encountered both the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. 

At mile 2, I was passed by a mother pushing her daughter and as bad as I wanted, I just couldn’t keep up. I had no response and she took off…It was bad; I finished almost a minute behind her and limped in at a 7:31 minute pace.

Now, I can make as many excuses I want—not training enough, or having the time, or not making running a priority— all truths, but they are just well thought out excuses.


The point is that I experienced the pain of not being able to respond and getting beat. PAIN…

Now, there is another type of pain that athletes face.

  • Getting up early,
  • pushing oneself in practice,
  • experiencing setbacks, and getting better.

The pain of discipline is all about—Being All In. 

I spoke with the winner of the race who finished in 14:59, um, pretty fast, and  he said “it hurt.” PAIN of discipline or pain of regret. 

When we are all in, we are committing ourselves to doing the things we always don’t want to do. We are going to face pain, we are going to hurt, whether it is emotional or physical pain. But do we want to face it in practice or competition?

If we face the pain and discomfort in practice, it is the pain of discipline. If we only face the pain during competition, it usually turns into the pain of regret.

Check out a past post here on pain of discipline: How to run a marathon, write a book, and make a hole in one. 

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-

things I hate about myself

5 Things I Hate About Myself

Life is not a garden. We can’t pull out the weeds and leave all the nice flowers. 

Our mentality and identity doesn’t work like that.  Instead, we have to recognize our defaults of character and make peace with them. Striving to slowly improve upon them and allowing others to help us in this process.

Growth is about progress, not perfection.

The tough part is that you can’t spell GROWTH without OW! 

  1. Perfectionism

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree and moved to Crested Butte, Colorado to be a ski-bum for one season. I skied 100 days that season! 

Well, the employment opportunities were not in high demand, so I was forced to work construction. I sucked at it.

I became the laborer of the group, because I could hardly nail two pieces of wood together. Seriously, that bad. 

To this day, I “hate” being bad at anything and can’t accept the fact that I am not GREAT at everything.

My daughter told me once, “dad, you’re great at everything!” I politely corrected her and said ” I’m good at most everything, but not great!”  

     2.  All or Nothing thinking:

My mentality: win or lose, make the shot or miss it, do a good job or a poor job.

This type of stinking thinking has gotten me into trouble.

It means the good times are good, but the bad times are bad, and there are few times of being in the middle. Mental Toughness means that there HAS to be adversity! It matters how bad are the bad days! 

The problem is that when I think in all or nothing terms; I allow no room for making mistakes or learning the lesson

However, since we all are going to lose more often than we will win, a big part of mental toughness is learning how to deal with loss and failure. It’s one of the things I hate about myself, because it means living in the middle, the gray area of life! 

 3.    Negativity:

Coach John Calipari said once that he can bring the intensity to practice 3 out of 5 days, but he needs his players and other coaches to bring the enthusiasm the other days.  

I am the same way. I need others! 

One of the things that I coach is the power of attitude and belief, and I still struggle with it. I can sometimes catch myself when driving to negative town, but it is still one place that I hate to go, since it serves little purpose. 

No one goes to a pity party, except for you! 

4.    Tunnel vision:

Everyone’s greatest strength is also his or her greatest weakness.

Mine happens to be my obsession with mental toughness, sport psychology, and improvement. 

If I set a particular goal, I will achieve it, period. It was how I turned myself around from being a loser

However, there is a level of selfishness with this pursuit. For example, I’ve written seven books on Mental Toughness, ran 2 marathons, Ironmans, and Ultras, and had a hole-in-one.  

So, other pursuits in my life have to drop off in order for me to remain steadfast on the people and things that are really important. It’s one of the things I hate about myself because I don’t like the feeling of being selfish. 

Although, the tunnel vision is productive in the short-term, balance is better.

 5.    My Unbelief:

There is a verse in the bible, Mark 9:24.

It’s the verse I sign all of my books with.

It is a man talking to Jesus, who says “lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

This sums me up. I believe in my faith and salvation and know that things happen for a reason and that things also work out.

However, when I get stressed or fearful, it means I am not practicing my belief. The most important mental skill is confidence, and faith is all about trust. 

When I don’t trust it, I don’t believe.  

I know the skills and the things to do, but I can’t coach myself, I wish I could. Maybe that is one of the things I hate about myself as well! I’m not sure I’m ready to include that into my keynote speaking events yet. 



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.