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the eyeball contract

The Eyeball Contract

I spoke to a group of 30-40 elite divers every week this previous summer. This session, I brought along my son and daughter, ages 6 & 4.  They enjoyed sharing the stage with daddy, (I think my daughter loves selling the books), but this time they were particularly enjoying the attention a bit too much. The divers became distracted, so I had to ask my kids to settle it down. Didn’t work… I then knelt down to say it again and my son lovingly punched me in the face.

The divers awkwardly laughed, but I didn’t.  I needed to remain calm and take control at the same time. It was also one of those moments where you could feel all of the eyes on you.


I told him “EYEBALL CONTRACT”. Then, I proceeded to instruct him what was now expected. No more distraction, issue solved. I went right along with the presentation and even told the divers what I just did. A teachable moment…

John Groce, Head Coach of Illinois Basketball, has his players form an eyeball contract. The culture is such that in the huddle before practice and games, players have an eye-ball contract. The eye-ball contract means looking in someone’s eyes and knowing that you will give your best and they will give their best! Eyeball contracts take mental toughness. 

I use it with my family and vice-versa when it is something very important. We need each other at their best. No more games~this is what were are going to do.

I’ve seen the best of intentions on signed contracts, pledges, or agreements. They sound great but  rarely work. They are more about looking good rather than actually making a difference. 

People are going to make mistakes and mess up. It happens. Those that signed an agreement or pledge however to NOT mess-up are now bound by a law. When and if they do stumble, they are now under the thumb of extreme shame for the mistake. They often can’t come clean because they are in an abyss. What happens is that they become good liars. The agreement once propped up as a show of pride turns into an awful reminder.

The strategy of an eyeball contract gets results because it addresses the moment, not the past. Eye-ball contracts can be agreed upon frequently and when core values are at stake. It puts the emphasis on our character, in that exact moment. Forget the past.

The head fake is that the best eye-ball contracts are with ourselves in the mirror. Chris Herren, as a former professional NBA player, struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. It wasn’t until he became sober that he finally looked at himself in the mirror.  He simply didn’t like himself before.

I hate messing up, it saps my confidence and I’m just not of much use to anyone during those times. But, all I have is an eyeball contract, and that is renewable every day. I’m going to answer the bell more often than not. Mental Toughness is less about not messing up and more about not giving up. However, what kills most belief is just not allowing ourselves to mess up. We are all worthy of an eyeball contract with ourselves.


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   

My high school baseball coach once praised me behind closed doors but criticized me in front of my teammates. I think he had it backward, but I wasn’t mentally tough at the time. He served as a huge external motivator to prove him wrong later in life.

My junior varsity soccer coach taught me the most. He would run us for miles and miles and throw in sprints along the way. We had a massive hill that we would run. The day before games, whoever we were playing, we had to sprint 50 yards while shouting out each letter of the team! North Hagerstown was a tough one. He taught me that it was a privilege to train.

Coaches are the most important person in today’s society. It doesn’t matter if you have a poor coach either. All coaches teach us something, either how to do things, or how not to do things.

Top 10 things I’ve learned from coaches

  1. You are paid to read-

I read about 15 books one year and felt pretty good. Except, when Tim Roberts told me that he read 93 books that year, he added why, “You are PAID to read.” The knowledge is out there, but it’s a coach’s job to sift through everything and communicate the main thing, whatever the main thing is.

  1. Create an environment that you are missed if you are not there-

Lou Holtz was a genius. He knew that the best place to work was determined by the environment that we created. I was a professor at a University and was no longer living my passion of working with teams and athletes. My work and attitude suffered. I had to leave because I couldn’t foster an environment where I wanted to be. Maybe some people missed me, but the school didn’t stop, and I didn’t get too many calls begging for me to come back.

  1. Listen-

The first time I met head coach Chuck Pagano was at the NFL combine. I introduced myself and told him my profession. What he did next was amazing. He asked me a question. “Hey, what’s the one thing you stress to your athletes?” I answered it well I thought, but what struck me as odd is why he asked me a question. Head NFL coaches usually don’t do that. But that is exactly how he got to where he is. He listens. Asking questions is the best straw to stir the drink of listening.

  1. Sit in front- 

Hall Of Fame baseball coaches Tommy Pharr and Tim Corbin seemed to race to see who got the closest seat at any conference session. That’s all the proof I needed.

  1. It doesn’t matter what you know- 

What matters more is what they learn. Can you communicate it and keep it simple? Great coaches master the simple. As Coach Herb Sendek said  “Simplicity is the room I want to live in.”

  1. Themes instead of absolutes-

They always seem to stress that what we do is not as important as how we do it. We want to trust our constituents to do what they do; take risks, play free, and utilize their strengths. The best coaches have principles in place, but allow freedom to work within a framework. They make adjustments and aren’t married to only one style.

  1. You’ll get fired-

There are two types of coaches, those that have been fired and those that will be fired. I was fired twice after two of my athletes had career changing wins. I thought I would have been fired after they lost. But after they won, they actually didn’t need me anymore. My job is to build capacity, not dependency. There is only a handful of coaches in any sport that haven’t been fired at some point.

  1. Be the coach you always wanted-

Everyone is a coach and we are always communicating. A coach is someone that takes you somewhere you want to go.

  1. Thank the coach- 

Coaches Mark James and Brian Satterfield end practice the same way, they shake each player’s hand. Simple, yet powerful. No matter the type of practice or outcome of a game, the ending is the same. It was created as a way to put a type of positive closure on a poor day, a way to END it positively.

  1. A better you makes a better us- 

And a better us makes a better you. We need to root for those around us to get better. Too often we look at others as competition and a threat, rather than an opportunity to improve. Frankly, it’s the only way to improve.

 

 

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   

everyone gets a mental toughness trophyAs a parent of an athlete, there is really only one responsibility, support your son or daughter. Problem is many parents get the tonic of support mixed up with liquor of critiquing the game or practice. Tonic is fine, Liquor, never sicker…I wonder do kids lose the passion for sports or do their parents kill that passion with all the expectations, criticisms, and post-game rants?

I watch it after every game. Parents come over and immediately start talking about how they could have done this better, should have made this play, or performed a certain skill. I have made a conscious effort after each performance to do two things with my own kids.

1. Compliment their effort and tell them I love watching them play.

Believe me it is not always easy, but after having a conversation with my daughter, I will continue to stick to two things post-game. After listening and I watched a couple families do their thing after the game was over and tell their kid about not fouling, how to pass, when to dribble, proper shooting technique, moving their feet faster on defense, etc. I thought, holy crap, this is their first real game of basketball EVER! One parent went so far as to take his daughter out on the court and give her a lesson in boxing out the opponent to get the rebound.

2. ASK your child on how they want to be coached: 

I asked my daughter if she liked it when I have critiqued her play in the past. Again, she said, “No.” It felt like a fist to my face!

So, I changed… I merely referred to a couple of loose balls she dove for on the ground and how she hustled up and down the court each time on defense.  I never once talked about something she could have done better. I will leave that up to the coaches. I did tell her if she ever wants my opinion about anything I will give it to her, but she has to ask. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

dr rob bell mental toughness article. Coach Justin Dehmer holds Back-to-Back-to-Back State Championships and 3x Coach of the Year 2010, 2011, 2012. National Record 87 Game Winning Streak in 2011 ended in 2012 at 88. Contact www.1PitchWarrior.com   Twitter @1PitchWarrior  coachd@1pitchwarrior.com

 

build mental toughness.

“The Hangover,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Stay in touch with The PAIN to Build Mental Toughness

  • I once fell off an 80-foot cliff and lay at the bottom until the EMS unit craned me out. I had a broken wrist, my head was gashed open, and my lower back was in an extreme amount of pain. I had to take a daily regiment of Hydrocodone and still could only make it through half the day.
  • At another low point, I was in a car accident and struck the windshield so hard that it broke my jaw and my collarbone. They had to wire my jaw and 8 weeks later removed the wires from my mouth. It felt like razor blades slicing through my gums.
  • As a sophomore in high school, I was the starting second baseman and made an error to lose a game. I felt like such a loser that my head was in my hands the entire bus ride home. I ended up losing my starting position.
  • As a caddy, I even dropped a golf ball during a professional event and cost my player two shots during the tournament!

These four instances surfaced as either physical or mental pain. However, no physical pain is without mental pain. In all of these, I had messed up, and although the physical pain soon passed, what remained were the beliefs and feelings about myself. The residue of not feeling good enough weighed more heavily than any trophy and that does not build mental toughness. 

If you have broken a bone or failed, then you understand how bad it hurt at the moment.

However, the most interesting part about pain is that it fades… that pain becomes generalized. One cannot go back and recreate just how bad or painful it precisely was, we just remember that it hurt. That is why they say, “time heals…”

Now, time does not heal completely. Pain leaves scars. But, we have a choice in how we move forward; we can choose either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

Hold onto that pain until it builds mental toughness.

Yes, we must move on, but try to never forget that pain completely. Addicts call this remembering their rock bottom! Mental Toughness means being able to stay in touch with the pain and still not be consumed by it.  Pain can help us with our gratitude, because we realize we are no longer in that state. It also assists with our focus and motivation. We are now driven toward another goal and way of being.

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter..


build mental toughness

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport psychology coach based in Indianapolis. He works with Indy Eleven Soccer and University of Notre Dame. He has five books on mental Toughness. Check out how to build mental toughness. 

redskins

Kenya’s long-distance runner & two-time Olympic Champion, Kip Keino uttered these words so athletes would consider performance enhancing drugs. “When you stand on the podium, you must ask yourself, did I win this medal?”

I heard Hall of Fame coach, Joe Gibbs, speak recently. (He is in both the NFL and Nascar Hall of Fame.)  He told stories and talked about his faith and gave everyone a copy of his new book, Game Plan for Life.

He had his 1st Superbowl ring with him and announced that everyone could put on the ring and take their picture with him. I was about 10th in line and sure enough, everyone was putting on the illustrious ring and posing with coach.

When I shook his hand, I told him I grew up in Maryland and was a life-long Redskins fan. He proceeded to give me the ring and ask if I wanted my picture with it.

I told him, “Coach, I know what that ring represents and I didn’t earn it, I can’t put it on.” Joe Gibbs, said “ I appreciate that or respect that” and I had my picture with him while the ring lay on the table. Joe Gibbs & Dr. Rob Bell

Anything worth getting in life, we have to work for. Last time I checked, they don’t give championships, scholarships, high-paying jobs, or Super Bowl rings away!

Maybe that is the issue with motivation in general?  We are given too much, feel we deserve it, and don’t really appreciate it. Or worse, we expect it to be easy to earn.

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

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 .

 

 

 

 

Confident people can do this

Confident people can do this skill…


A boat is off-course 99% of the time. A sailboat finds its destination is by tacking. Confident people can do this skill as well.  A series of zigzagging maneuvers, adjusting the sail back and forth and using the wind. Adjusting is how sailboats reach their final destination.

 The best view tacking as the way to sail, while the stubborn view tacking as stressful.

Last year during a tournament round of golf, I actually 3-putted three times….Yeah, brutal. Only after doing an autopsy, I realized something. I lost confidence because I lacked this skill. I never made an adjustment coming down the stretch. Confident people can do this skill!

Confident people can make adjustments!

In the classroom, boardroom, or field of play. Those that can make adjustments will be successful. Stubborn people on the other hand make no adjustments (insert definition of insanity here) and sometimes refuse to make adjustments.

Adjustments can be physical or mental.

It may be a change in attitude or to our routine. Most importantly, however, these adjustments are usually small. The reason why adjustments are small is because

Fundamentals Never Change!

If our foundation and process is solid, then all we need to do is make small adjustments. It may require asking outside people for their help, but the adjustment is usually small.

Confident people can do this skill and make these adjustments because they believe an alteration will make them successful. On the other hand, those that struggle are firmly planted in the belief that a change won’t work. They believe they are only one mistake away from failure. (um, see my putting example from above). 

Mental Toughness is being able to deal with the struggle, setbacks, and adversity. How we make adjustments will determine our success.


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 books on Mental Toughness-