Mental toughness is a term used widely in sport and no doubt there are many different definitions of it and levels of understanding of what it is. Irrespective of how people define it, there has been considerable research carried out over the past 15 years in sport settings that has identified the positive impact of mental toughness on sporting performance.
Here are 10 facts about mental toughness in sport:
Sports athletes with higher levels of mental toughness:
- Are better able to respond to the consequences of a mistake and get over it quicker – they just overcome setbacks more easily and properly learn from them.
- Have been shown to recover from injury much quicker – this is down to their better adherence to clinical and home-based procedures in their programme, higher attendance at appointments and a strong belief that they will be less susceptible to further injury.
- Are less likely to blame external factors for poor performance e.g. opponents, officials, weather conditions, unlucky venues, superstitions, bad luck, scoreboard pressure etc.
- Take a more balanced outlook when their performance fluctuates – they prefer to reflect and learn from what is happening rather than wallowing in self-pity and rueing their luck.
- Retain higher levels of self-belief if left out or after a poor performance – they use their ‘inventory’ of great achievements/performances to recall how good they really are.
- Are much better able to stand up for themselves under the challenge of an aggressive/domineering opponent – they are able to keep their eye on the prize and maintain focus and concentration.
- Can keep unhelpful emotions in check – they are more inclined to access emotional states that allow them to feel positive about a situation and then be more able to focus on the technical/tactical/physical aspects of their sport.
- Are much better at being able to imagine what success looks like for them and with that clear image in mind, stick at achieving that, no matter what.
- Love proving themselves – they never accept that good is good enough, spending as much time reflecting on good performances as they do bad performances. To them, good is the enemy of great!
- Are better able to cope with external negativity from coaches, other players, supporters, media etc. – they are aware of what they can control and they focus on exactly that, rather than getting distracting by factors that they can’t control.
(Although I have listed just 10, there are many more)
The thing about mental toughness is that we all had it when we were very young, but the programming we have received throughout our lives from a multitude of sources has meant that many of us are off this innate course.
- What if you could rediscover your mental toughness?
- What if your current levels of mental toughness could be measured?
- What if it could be developed so that you could consistently behave in ways just like the 10 facts above?
The good news is that it can be measured and it can be developed. I use the highly reliable and valid MTQPlus assessment to measure not just your overall mental toughness, but in the 8 key areas of it as well. This allows you to really hone in on the areas that will make the difference to your performance.
Get in touch for details on the mental toughness assessment, workshops and coaching. You could start getting the results you’ve always craved.
Steve Dent is a Mental Toughness Coach and Trainer, licensed to administer the MTQPlus assessment, INLPTA Master Practitioner in NLP and founder of Pro Mind Coaching & Training