focus like pete samprasOn Januray, 24, 1995, during the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open, two heavyweights, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier faced off.

Courier won the first two sets and Pete battled back to win the next two sets. During the fifth set, Sampras became obviously emotional, crying during a serve. Later, we learned that Tim Gullikson, Pete Sampras’ coach and friend, had a brain tumor.

Jim Courier saw what was going on and offered an olive branch that turned into a weapon. He asked Pete during his serve, “You okay, Pete, we can do this tomorrow, you know?” 47

Pete Sampras took the remark as sarcasm by Courier and used it to his advantage. He said, “It kind of woke me up to be like, ‘OK, let’s focus’.”  Pete Sampras ended up winning the match.


Mental toughness is a focus only on the task at hand. This shot, this point, this day…The more we can center only on one shot at a time, the better we will accomplish it. Can you achieve a relentless type of focus? Sometimes we will be called into this type of focus with a light switch moment, embrace it.    Excerpt from The Hinge: Audio-book is now available…


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

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

keys of confidence

Three Simple Keys of Confidence

Show me a successful athlete, or person and I’ll show you someone who is confident. It is without a doubt, the most important mental skill. You gotta believe in yourself! Here are three simple keys of confidence.

  • Confidence is a feeling:

When we are confident, we feel at ease, relaxed, and focused. It is something that we just know. However, confidence is NOT thoughts! We usually only recognize when we are not confident. When we are not confident, we just have more thoughts, doubt, and are not as comfortable. It does not mean the thoughts are even negative, it’s just that we are thinking more… We can act our way into right thinking easier than trying to think our way into right acting.

  • Confidence is knowing that you’re ready:

The keys of confidence is knowing, not hoping that you are ready.

A question to assess our own level of confidence is: how would you play if you couldn’t fail?

This mind-set is important, because I have yet to meet a successful athlete that plays awesome when they play timid or scared. Confidence = aggressive.

  • Confidence is patience:

Confident athletes never seem to panic or press when results aren’t going their way.

Look, we are ALL going to have bouts of struggle and adversity and we need to remain patient. We must trust our preparation, our coaches, our game plan, our emotional management, our routine, and process of execution. If we have confidence in the aspects we can control, then we will eventually have good outcomes. These are the keys of confidence!

 “They know, that I know, that they know that I know, I will win”

Watch this clip on Larry Bird & confidence!

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