As athletes we are told to stay mentally tough, but we come to find out mental toughness is like a muscle. It needs to be worked to grow and develop.
"What you think affects how you feel and perform. Training your brain is as important as training your body." - Mind Gym
What does mentally tough mean? Well there isn’t a clear-cut definition, coaches would say that mental toughness is a perfectly disciplined state of mind that refuses to give in. Whereas a researcher would define it as a psychological edge that allows you to cope better than your competition with the demands that are placed on you, as well as the ability to perform consistently better than your competition.
Whatever you believe mental toughness is, believe it and work hard to develop it!
Mentally tough athletes respond in varying ways which enable them to remain feeling relaxed, calm, and energized because they have learned to develop two skills; first, the ability to increase their flow of positive energy in crisis and adversity, and, second, to think in specific ways so that they have the right attitudes regarding problems, pressure, mistakes, and competition.
This graph above shows you what mental toughness is and what you can do depending on where you are at in your training.
Make sure your attitude and mindset are in the right place before going into training, competition or post-competition. You have to start somewhere and if you don’t have self-belief or focus it will be hard to be mentally tough.
Here are seven characteristics of mental toughness, also known as the seven Cs: Competitive, confident, control, committed, composure, courage and consistency.
And how are you going to go about it, well think about the four Ds: Desire, Dedication, Determination, and Discipline.
You have to work hard to achieve mental toughness, there are exercises out there that can help with that. Self-talk, mental imagery, mantas, etc. Need more guidance when it comes to mental conditioning or mindfulness? Please reach out, we are here to help you perform your best.
“It is important to look at yourself and identify your gremlins. In sports, as in life, the first step to success is getting out of your own way.” – Mind Gym
Some of my favorite books on mindfulness, mental conditioning and sports:
Head in the Gam
The Champions Mind