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NO Deals

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At the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Billy Mills would make history with his iconic sprint to win the gold medal in the 10,000 meters. He was so unknown, that a Japanese reporter asked him after his win “who are you?” He is still the last American to win the Gold medal in the 10,000 meters.

However, he was going to quit.

Before the last lap, he knew he had third place locked up, so he was going to pull up and let the battle be decided by the other two runners, Ron Clarke and Mohammed Gammoudi. He knew it was “safe” to pull up, but as he looked into the stands, he saw his wife crying… He couldn’t give up. NO DEAL!

A runner/cyclist friend of mine was an athlete who admitted that he could just “show up.” He was skilled enough to compete in basically anything he did.

However, he told me that his game changed once he quit making deals with himself.

During a race or competition, he used to say to himself, “Keep up with [that guy] until this point and then let him go.” He admitted he wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be mentally. Now, during a race or practice, he’ll set goals, he’ll just say, “Catch that guy.”

How often do we make deals instead of goals? 

With our children, “Honey, if you pick up your toys, you can get a snack.” With God, “lord, if you get me through this, I will never…” With ourselves, “If you [do this] then you can [do this].”

Making deals is just like a coach who uses sprints as the only means of discipline. It works, but only for a short while, the athletes soon grow to tolerate it, and not learn from it. Making deals is effective, but only for the short-term. It gets the job done, but it is not sustainable and it causes really bad habits.

When we make deals, we are limiting how good we can become. Deals do not build mental toughness. Our motivation and focus has changed. We are doing something to gain an immediate result, not long-term success. Making deals also gives us an “out”, a reason not to push further when it gets really tough…

Setting goals means having a plan of action without a fallback. It’s stating, “I will do this”, instead of  “do this, so you can.” It means keeping the focus on the immediate task at hand instead of focusing on the outcome.

Athletes don’t train for the trophy; they train for the feeling of holding the trophy. The only way to do that is to make goals, not deals.

“Good athletes practice until they get it right, great one’s practice until they can’t get it wrong.”

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   

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  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   

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.   Elyssa@runnertainment.com

Runnertainment.com

technique for goals

Use This Top-Gun Technique For Goals…


In the movie Top Gun, Tom Skerritt, tells the fighter pilots, “You are the best of the best, the elite,” and “we’ll make you even better.”

Top Gun made them better fighter pilots, by flying, not by trying to make them fisherman or painters.

Stay with me here, because too often, we set goals addressing an area where we really struggle. This rarely works. Over 50% of New Year’s resolutions fail within the first six weeks. Typically, most people set goals to change, which are usually on areas we already feel bad about ourselves, the worse part, and we start from a point of  “I am no good.”

Use this top gun technique for goals. The purpose of setting goals is to improve and this occurs through gaining confidence and momentum. If you want to beat the odds, try this technique instead… Improve upon your greatest strength.

For instance, my weakness is multi-tasking. I would “like” to get better at stopping it, but come on’, I do it too much already. So, instead, my technique for goals is based upon my strengths of discipline, sport psychology, mental toughness, and creativity. The goals I set are based upon “I rock at this stuff.”

If we try to address our biggest weakness, even if we succeed, then we’ve really only improved to the level of “kind of bad.” But, more than likely, half way through the six-week process, we’ll stumble, begin to make excuses, and feel bad as a result.

We do much better in life, using our existing strengths to improve. Confidence is a powerful tool in sports and in life, because when things are going well, we are more energized, positive, and relaxed. When we have momentum, we “keep doing what we’re doing.”

The purpose of setting goals is progress, not perfection. Thus, the technique for goals is to improve on your greatest strength. Make your greatest strength your greatest strength. Find small ways to improve by doing what you already do, but “making it even better.”


 

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-

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 

With 2 little one’s, there is a major replay button on the movies in que, thus for will be parents, prepare to watch Shrek, Madagascar, and Monsters Inc., over 1000 times each…

Mistake #1-Trying to stop doing something…

One movie in the rotation is The Bee Movie. A funny scene is when “Barry” keeps flying into the window, and he keeps saying “this time, this time, this time, this time, this time.” These mistakes are common and are called the insane mistakes: “thinking what we are doing will produce different results.” 

First, we make this type of mistake because change is tough! We have also had some success and because we’ve had some success, it helps justify why we aren’t willing to or need to change. We don’t recognize that our successes are in spite of not because of our behaviors.

When it comes to these types of mistakes, we must become “sick and tired of being sick and tired” before we are willing to make any change. If we are still having limited success, we won’t make any adjustments to our behavior.

Mistake #2- Trying to do something…

Three frogs are on a lily pad, and two decide to jump to shore, how many are left? Three— merely deciding to do something doesn’t make it happen, it takes action along with commitment.

These types of mistakes are often why New Years Resolutions and typical goal setting fail. These are the getting ready to get ready mistakes, we have good intentions, but our hesitation and fear make it difficult to move forward.

In the book, Good to Great, the researchers found something called the flywheel effect. Great companies understood that big claims did not need to made at the onset of change, they just changed, spun the flywheel, and after momentum was built up, they’d look up and say “hey, if we just keep pushing on this thing, there’s no reason, we can’t accomplish X.” p. 177.

Whether we are trying to do something or stop doing something, they solution begins the same: do something…anything, and keep at it….

Author: Dr. Rob Bell

There are no guarantees in life. All we have are opportunities.

Vince Frank at the Cru Golf outing at Stonewall Orchards took advantage of his opportunity.  The par-3 9th hole, held the hole-in one contest for $10,000. However, one had to pay $10 to be eligible.  He was the only one in his group to donate the money, because he said “it was for a good cause.”

Vince being the seventy year old golfer did not even see the ball roll in the hole on the 168 yard shot, but his partners sure did and they let him hear it. The odds of Vince making the hole in one were not very good, but we all can learn from this event.

We should focus on what’s possible, not what’s probable.  If we pay attention to the probability, it can severely dampen the number of opportunities we take. In many ways, we regret what we DO NOT DO, rather than doing something and it not turning out the way we want. If we at least do something, then we are giving ourselves a shot. Go ahead, pay the $10.

Imagine for a second that Vince DID NOT pay his $10. He would have had a more difficult time moving on from NOT winning, than making his hole in one.

Read How to make a hole-in-one. 

Lastly, he even gave a bit of credit to me because he said my talk at the beginning of the event made him NOT  think about the shot, even if it was the only one he did it for all day…Maybe I should send him an invoice? Nah, that’s why they brought me to speak…

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   

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