Two Attributes of Mentally Tough Athletes

Mental Toughness

How Do You or Your Team Deal With Losses?

Do you have the mental toughness to re-focus on the next game or do you allow the last game to permeate your thoughts and keep you from playing to your potential?

Every competitive season has its ups and downs.

When you are winning, things are great… You are enjoying the competition, training sessions and practices are relaxed and enjoyable. Confidence is high and you are feeling positive.

Successful seasons are those where you learn from losses and move forward.

First, mentally tough athletes have the ability to push the reset button and focus on the next game.

Second, mentally tough athletes have some of the best practices after a loss as they focus on producing better results the next time.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, has been instilling this brand of mental toughness in his football players since the beginning of training camp.

Quinn understands the value of mental toughness and how mental toughness can provide players with that advantage to overcome adversity that is inherent during every season.

QUINN: “That’s kind of where a lot of your character is tested, when it’s under duress. We’ve really spent a lot of time developing this mental toughness that we have. We spent a good bit of our off-season demonstrating our language for it. Knowing this game, there’s going to be difficult moments, difficult times, and how do you reset?”

Now is the time the Falcons’ mental toughness will be tested.

Following four straight wins, including back-to-back wins over last year’s Super Bowl teams (Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos), the Falcons suffered two heart-breaking losses by a mere five combined points.

This next game for the Falcons is against their conference rivals, the 4-2 Green Bay Packers. It is this type of situation that the Falcons have been mentally preparing for through the season.

QUINN: “Knowing at times, bad things happen, and you’re going to be in a dark spot. How do you get through? It takes a lot of mental toughness. One of the things that I love about our team right now is how hard they want to play for one another. Knowing that the guy next to you can be counted on, and the guy next to you you’re counting on, those are really important topics. Although they’re difficult processes to go through, we don’t like it but we are ready to take on the challenge and onto the next.”

Mentally tough athletes feel challenged not defeated by adversity.

The amazing thing about mental toughness is that it gives you the mental fortitude to face challenges head on…

When you can face each challenge with a resilient mindset, you further develop the habit of mental toughness.

How to Develop the Habit of Mental Toughness:

Step 1: Understand that habits require repetition over time. The more you respond to adversity as a challenge to overcome, the more you strengthen your mental toughness muscle.

Step 2: When adversity hits, press the reset button. In other words, get over it and focus on the next challenge.

Step 3: Determine the positive mental and physical steps you will take to meet the next challenge head on.

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