How to Create a Roadmap for Mental Toughness

How to Create a Roadmap for Mental Toughness

Is mental toughness really “a thing”?

Mental toughness is constantly mentioned in interviews after sporting events.

For example, in practically every basketball conference tournament or NCAA tournament game, a commentator, coach, or player talks about mental toughness.

But does mental toughness really exist? If so, what is it, and how can it be developed?

Simply stated, mental toughness is the “It” factor.

Mental toughness allows basketball teams to battle back when down 15 points at halftime in an elimination tournament.

Mental toughness is the strength of mind that causes a gymnast to get back on the beam after falling during a routine to finish strong.

Mental toughness is the impetus that causes a golfer to continue grinding when playing without their “A” game.

Mental toughness is the inner drive to compete and not give up, not give in, no matter the circumstances an athlete faces.

So, yeah, mental toughness is “a thing.”

The next question is, “Where does mental toughness come from?” Is mental toughness a genetic trait, or can it be developed through training?

To prove that mental toughness is not genetic, let’s look at two points.

For one, have you ever heard of an 8-year-old being described as mentally tough? Probably not!

Secondly, if mental toughness were a genetic trait, you would see it in an athlete from the moment they started competing as a youth and continue through their high school, college, and professional athletic careers.

Now that the genetic theory has been dismantled, let’s examine how an athlete can build mental toughness.

Mental toughness starts with a desire and decision to battle and then a commitment to mental training. Like any skill development, mental toughness is developed through training.

One method of building mental toughness is training with a Mental Game Coach. A mental game coach helps athletes compete confidently, perform under pressure, control their focus during competitions, improve pre-game preparation, manage competitive emotions, and rebound from setbacks.

Working with a mental game coach gives athletes the tools, strategies, and foundation to compete with mental toughness.

After you learn the basics of mental toughness, you can apply those skills in practice.

For example, the University of Alabama men’s basketball team suffered a frustrating loss in the 2024 SEC Tournament to the University of Florida, 102-88. The loss was the third time in their last eight games that the Crimson Tide has allowed an opponent to score 100-plus points.

Senior guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. feels it’s more of a mental toughness issue than a lack of physical ability for Alabama.

WRIGHTSELL: “We have to be mentally tough to not make a shot and still be able to get a stop on defense, that’s the biggest thing on defense right now. Coach Oats has been challenging us on the mental toughness. He came in here after the game [and told us] if we want to win this thing, we’ve got to be mentally tough. In March Madness, you’ll probably see a different team – mentally tough, mentally better.”

If you want to compete with mental toughness, you need to train your mental toughness. The more committed you are to its training, the greater the benefit.

Have a mental toughness training plan. What resources will you utilize? How will you implement mental toughness skills into training sessions?

Contact us if you want help with a mental toughness plan.

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