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build mental toughness

End Practice Early to Build Mental Toughness?


There are not many secrets to success.

However, one secret that I think holds true is the ability of one more. When we are tired and fatigued, the key is to be able to endure just one more. One more rep, writing one more page, one more sales phone call.

Just one more builds mental toughness. 

Often, it is effective. Yet, there is a prerequisite to implementing this strategy and that is we first must have the passion and will to do “one more.”

As parents, we have announced this just “one more” technique. We push, just a little bit, (some unfortunately, a lot) for our son or daughter to give more effort. Add up the number of practices and seasons of just one more and that is a lot of externally driven motivation in the form of nagging, or strong-arming our son or daughter into practice.

Sometimes, It’s tough to be driven when you’re being driven. 

Here’s what to do instead:

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Hall of Fame tennis coach Jeff Smith, used a different technique to help build the passion in his son Bryan Smith. He would end practice early…

He would first tell Bryan how long they were going to hit tennis balls on the court, say 45 minutes. So, after 20 or 25 minutes, he would then end practice early.

Bryan, having fun, didn’t want to end early.

Instead, He would ask his dad to continue and the seed of passion and internal motivation was slowly built without the nagging, pleading, or coercion of one more.


dr rob bell

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- 


(Excerpt from The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness) 

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This quarterback threw more career interceptions (220) than touchdowns (173). He completed only 50.1% of his passes and his career QB rating was 65.5. (Mark Sanchez would be the hands down starter compared to these numbers). This quarterback also lost more games in his career than he won—68-71-4. This quarterback was also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985 because it only takes one.

 The Hinge…

 There were two leagues during the late 1960s, the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). The winner of each conference played in the “Super Bowl.” The NFL, however, was vastly superior to the AFL.

In 1969, quarterback Joe Namath and his AFL team, the New York Jets, were 19-point underdogs going intoNFL Historical Imagery Super Bowl III against the NFL team, the Baltimore Colts; 19 points!

On Thursday night before the game, at the press conference, Joe Namath stated, “We’re gonna win the game, I guarantee it.”20 

He orchestrated the iconic victory, winning 16-7 and despite not even throwing a touchdown pass, was awarded the Super Bowl III MVP. The win by the Jets and the guarantee by Namath solidified his career and the NFL. The next season, the two leagues merged.

It only takes one… Our ability to believe, have confidence, and to trust is the most important mental skill we possess.

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Dr. Bell is a Sport Psychology coach who works with athletes, coaches, and teams. His 2nd book is on pre-release and will be out in September. The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness Twitter: @drrobbell