Does Adversity Improve Mental Toughness?

Adverstiy in Sports

How Mentally Tough Athletes Deal With Adversity

Is your mental toughness challenged when you have to perform under adverse circumstances?

If you want to perform your best, you’ll need to learn how to anticipate and cope with challenges.

Coping means having a way to respond to adversity so you can perform with a level head.

Sports has its ups and downs and there is nothing you can do to prevent occasional unforeseen circumstances, but you can control how you respond to those situations.

For example, the story of Melvin Upton is one of great success but also tremendous adversity.

Upton is an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays…

Upton was a tremendous prospect in high school with all the tools, including his ability to hit with power.

Upton was drafted second overall as a shortstop in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft by Tampa Bay Rays.

Upton was ranked as the #21 prospect in baseball even though he led the minor leagues with 56 errors.

In 2004, Upton made his major league debut becoming the youngest Ray ever and the youngest player in the major leagues that season.

Early in his career, Upton bounced around from position to position playing shortstop, third base, and outfield. Though Upton continued to produce with his bat and prove to be a dangerous base stealer, he was still plagued by errors…

Toward the end of his tenure with the Rays, Upton was disciplined several times for his lack of effort and failure to run down ground-balls.

In 2013, Upton signed a big free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves and his offensive output suffered over the next three years.

Upton changed teams two more times, continued to struggle with his bat and was riddled with a nagging foot injury…

There is no doubt that the adversity bug has hit Upton hard, affecting his performance on the field.

Now, with the 2017 season approaching, Upton is battling to beat out two other players for the starting left fielder role on the Blue Jays.

Upton believes his struggles in recent years have help him be “mentally tougher” and prepared mentally to win the starting job in left field for Toronto.

UPTON: “Having some pretty good highs and feeling the lowest of lows kind of put things into perspective and has [helped me] stay even keel. It makes you continue to work and makes you mentally stronger.”

Does adversity really make you mentally stronger?

If that was the case every single athlete that was benched, suffered an injury, slumped, was cut from a team, choked under pressure or under-performed would grow from adversity.

Actually, the reverse is often true… Adversity, many times, causes athletes to give in or give up.

One part of mental toughness–how you react to adversity–causes you to continue to work hard, which leads to two benefits: (1) better performance and (2) more mental toughness.

Mental toughness is the ability to focus forward on your goals, stay positive and find a way to overcome.

The best thing about mental toughness is that it is available to every athlete, if you are willing to work for it.

Do you want to improve your mental strength and cope better with adversity when is strikes?

Two Ways For Developing Mental Toughness

1. Turn, “Oh no,” into, “What now?”

So adversity has hit… So what?

Feeling bad about those rough times will not help you rebound successfully.

Instead of lamenting over the past, ask yourself, “What can I do now that will get me back on track and improve my game?”

2. Anticipate challenges you might face in your sport–from being benched to going into a slump to losing a tight match.

How will you respond to these challenges? When you prepare yourself mentally to deal with challenges, you have alternative options for responding.

For example, how would you respond to a unfair call from an referee during competition? Do you know how to stay composed and not let it rattle you?

Start improving your mental toughness with The Focused Athlete Audio and Workbook program.

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The Focused Athlete

It’s probably no secret that you have many opportunities to become distracted in sports. Athletes are bombarded with both internal and external distractions everyday in practice and competition. Focused athletes are able to get the most from their skills because they are more efficient with practice and more concentrated in competition. Athletes who lack focus let distractions run wild through their mind and don’t know how to adjust or refocus.

The Focused Athlete was developed for any level coach, parent, or junior to professional athlete who wants to improve performance and gain a competitive edge. It does not matter if you are a fledgling junior athlete; or a seasoned professional, plagued with distractions; or you just wanting to learn how to improve concentration…

“The Focused Athlete” is a complete system to teach you how to focus like a champion and harness the power of a zone focus every time you step on the playing field, court, track, or course in practice and games!

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