Their “survive and thrive” definition of mental toughness as being RESILENCE, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures and CONFIDENCE, the ability to spot and seize opportunities, is a sound and symmetrical definition which I use all the time. A … Though the field of sport psychology is relatively new in comparison to traditional psychology, there are a few mental game strategies that have stood the test of time and brought much success to athletes before you. In most sports the next play or the next move is the same no matter if it’s at practice or in the last few minutes of the championship game. Specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, This definition has been criticized for its emphasis on being “better than opponents” and thus describing a relative rather than an absolute notion of mental toughness.  Nevertheless, it set the stage for nearly two decades of research during which,  numerous alternative definitions have been put forward, each promising to be the one that unites the field. Â, One thing that all research groups seem to agree on is that mental toughness comprises a number of interrelated psychological factors that help an individualÂ, deal effectively with challenges, stressors, and pressure”Â,  a durable conviction in one’s ability to succeed,  an ability to recover quickly following adversity, defeat, or injury, In a 2017 review of 19 quantitative studies from 2007-2016 relating mental toughness to competitive standard, performance, and achievement, Richard Cowden found that the results collectivelyÂ, “support the commonly held belief that mentally tougher athletes tend to be more successful”, “88% of relevant studies found athletes with higher levels of mental toughness tend to achieve more or perform better.”, Qualitative studies have provided additional support for the role of mental toughness in performance, particularly during critical moments.  For example, choke-prone elite golfers identified, low mental toughness as an important feature of their choking episodesÂ, mental toughness not only reduces susceptibility to choking, but also increases the odds of recovering optimal performance after a choke has occurredÂ, romanticized ideal that reinforces the pathologically macho culture of competitive sportÂ, In this article, I reviewed several attempts by researchers to bring scientific rigor to the mental toughness concept. “...at the highest level...” Whitey Bimstein, a long time boxer and trainer once said, “Show me an undefeated fighter and I'll show a guy who's never fought anybody.” His point was to show that an athlete should seek out the best competition even if that means losing once in a while. In most sports the next play or the next move is the same no matter if it’s at practice or in the last few minutes of the championship game. Being mentally tough isn’t about how smart, confident or motivated you are. The definition of grit almost perfectly describes qualities every successful person possesses, because mental toughness builds the foundations for long-term success. The 4C model also enjoys a prominent role in health psychology, where mental toughness is seen as an important moderator between stress and illness. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from and opportunities for growth. Mental Toughness describes the capacity of an individual to deal effectively with stressors, pressures and challenges, and perform to the best of their ability, irrespective of the circumstances in …  They have an “unshakeable” belief that they will ultimately succeed that is unperturbed by challenges, adversity, or even defeat.  Given that no consensus definition has been reached, the best we can do at this point is look at the overlap between the most widely used definitions. Â, In my next article, I will address this question by doing what I always do –. The Beliefs of a Mentally Tough … “Able to access their talent...” An athlete who has all the talent and strength they need through weight training and conditioning, learning the technical aspects of their sport or position, and years of experience against great competition must be able to use all of that when the time comes. People who are mentally tough develop good habits, and then they stick with them. History is rife with championships being won on the last ditch effort of some one-hit wonder that only has that one situation to their name, then fades shortly after. As a result, mentally tough people will often not be affected detrimentally by stressful circumstances in the same way that the those who are more mentally sensitive might. The following comes from a previous note found here I sent out a while back but thought it was worth sharing again. It is clear, however, that several issues regarding conceptualization, measurement, utility, and diversity need to be addressed before mental toughness research can be said to rest on a firm scientific foundation. Mental health (wellbeing) is starting to be considered an important part of sporting excellence.  Given that no consensus definition has been reached, the best we can do at this point is look at the overlap between the most widely used definitions. When speaking of mental toughness people utter words like dominant, stoic, unaffected, or robotic. Routines help us to trust the process and not focus on the outcome. Challenge: Willingness to push boundaries, accept risks, and learn from mistakes and failures. My definition of mental toughness is the ability to remain calm, cool and collected no matter what the situation. It's called “Jeet Kune Do” and it states: “Adapt what is useful, reject what is not, and add what is specifically your own.”.  In my next article, I will address this question by doing what I always do – looking at the evidence, if any exists, for training techniques designed to enhance mental toughness. In most sports the next play or the next move is the same no matter if it’s at practice or in the last few minutes of the championship game. The only difference is the audience. In this article, I reviewed several attempts by researchers to bring scientific rigor to the mental toughness concept. Fletcher (Fletcher & Fletcher, 2005; Fletcher, 2005) provides an alternative way of viewing mental toughness. If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a “why” for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback. But what exactly are they talking about? According to Clough’s model, mental toughness is made up of four components that psychologists call the “4Cs:” challenge, control, commitment, and confidence. Although the different research groups cannot see eye to eye on a definitive collection of factors, there is substantial overlap on at least a couple of factors.  These are: robust self-confidence: a durable conviction in one’s ability to succeed, resilience: an ability to recover quickly following adversity, defeat, or injury. Strong internal drive to succeed and relentless pursuit of goals. And it's a lot harder than it sounds. Specifically, let’s take a look at core beliefs, habits and the mindset that mentally tough people cultivate that helps them get through life’s toughest challenges. Differences have been hypothesized between male and female athletes, as well as between "team sport" and "individual sport" athletes, but to date, little empirical evidence has shown what these differences are. You can become mentally stronger--and as a result more successful! One thing that all research groups seem to agree on is that mental toughness comprises a number of interrelated psychological factors that help an individual “deal effectively with challenges, stressors, and pressure” (Clough & Strycharczyk, 2012). Mentally tough people view obstacles as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. The DNA of Mentally Tough People. The researchers take care to note that just because ambition is … mentally definition: 1. connected with or related to the mind: 2. connected with or related to the mind: . Â. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. Mentally tough people love to be challenged. What is this Thing Called Mental Toughness? For example do mentally tough athletes exhibit more positive self-talk in comparison to less mentally tough athletes. What Is This Thing Called Mental Toughness? The only difference is the audience. By having a well developed pre-, during and post-performance routine you steer clear of one of the most dangerous activities a performer can engage in: thinking! Many of these traits are highly sought after, however, they are often showcased to hide underlying feelings of fear, anxiety, or uncertainty. How do you know how mentally tough you are? Here within this final section, let’s break down the DNA of mentally tough people. The widespread use of the 4C model is due in large part to the efforts of its developers in extending its scope of application beyond sports and into the domains of education, business, and the military. Â. It is defined differently depending on who you ask. In other words, you can go about your business no matter what happens. This definition considers mental toughness as a constituent of the stress process, whereby the word “propensity” considers that mental toughness resid… Here are a few of them in chronological order: Eenie meenie miney mo… Take your pick. Having become a sort of default explanation for any victory in challenging situations, mental toughness has been criticized as “one of the most used but least understood terms in applied sport psychology” (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002). This concludes that mental toughness means to have a strong and durable mind. Research shows that mentally tough children perform up to 25% better in exams. Dr. Dave shares his expertise via blogging, individual coaching, team workshops, and speaking engagements. “...regardless of the situation.” A mentally tough athlete treats practice and pre-season competitions with the same intensity as league and post-season games. For … There is an encouraging change taking place behind the scenes in elite sport around the world. As the mental toughness concept increased in popularity, researchers began questioning its scientific merit and pushing for the development of an operational definition so that mental toughness could be quantified and studied using the tools of science. Mentally tough people do not shy away from the spotlight. A mentally tough athlete treats practice and pre-season competitions with the same intensity as league and post-season games. Mentally tough individuals tend to be sociable and outgoing; as they are able to remain calm and relaxed, they are competitive in many situations and have lower anxiety levels than others. Being mentally and emotionally strong means that you can behave normally no matter how much stress is presented.  Good question. Sense of personal responsibility for life circumstances and regulation of emotions. An Investigation of Elite Sport Performers, by Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002, Developing Mental Toughness, by Clough & Strycharczyk, 2012, Mental Toughness and Success in Sport: A Review and Prospect, by R. Cowden, 2017, Mental Toughness: Progress and Prospects, by D. Gucciardi, 2017, A Qualitative Exploration of Choking in Elite Golf, by Hill, Hanton, Matthews, & Fleming, 2010, A Re-examination of Choking in Sport, by Hill, Hanton, and Fleming, 2009, Mental Toughness in Sport: Achievement Level, Gender, Age, Experience, and Sport Type Differences, by Nichols, Polman, Levy, & Backhouse, 2009, The Social Construction of Mental Toughness, by Caddick and Ryall, 2012. Mental toughness made its sports debut in the mid-1980s with the early work of Jim Loehr, who defined it rather loosely as “the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances.” Â. Yet another important unsettled debate involves the proverbial nature-nurture question: Are some people just born with more mental toughness or is it something that can be developed through training? If you are willing to suspend your (well-placed) skepticism for a moment and disregard the unstable foundation upon which mental toughness research rests, we can explore the evidence for whether it (whatever “it” is) can be considered a useful construct for predicting differences in performance.  We will discuss the quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (descriptive) evidence separately.Â, In a 2017 review of 19 quantitative studies from 2007-2016 relating mental toughness to competitive standard, performance, and achievement, Richard Cowden found that the results collectively “support the commonly held belief that mentally tougher athletes tend to be more successful” as “88% of relevant studies found athletes with higher levels of mental toughness tend to achieve more or perform better.”Â, Qualitative studies have provided additional support for the role of mental toughness in performance, particularly during critical moments.  For example, choke-prone elite golfers identified low mental toughness as an important feature of their choking episodes  (Hill et al, 2010) and four applied sport psychologists with experience at the elite level agreed that mental toughness not only reduces susceptibility to choking, but also increases the odds of recovering optimal performance after a choke has occurred (Hill et al, 2009), Although these results suggest that perhaps there is a there there when it comes to mental toughness research, the whole enterprise has come under attack as a biased social construct that reeks of elitism and stereotypical masculinity.  Several studies have indeed found significant differences across gender and competitive status – with more accomplished male athletes tending to rate higher in mental toughness .  Some critics have gone as far as to argue that mental toughness is nothing more than a romanticized ideal that reinforces the pathologically macho culture of competitive sport (see Caddick & Ryall, 2012). Â. “Mentally tough” has become the go-to phrase to describe the successful athlete or performer. It’s practice that takes work, but if … Mentally tough people have a quality called “sticktoitiveness” – a dogged perseverance in achieving the goals that they have set for themselves despite setbacks and occasional failures. Some psychologists have argued that a separate, sport-specific definitions of mental toughness should be developed. The two questions I get most often are what is mental toughness and how do you develop it? The qualities of mentally strong people include compassion, caring and patience.  But ask someone what they mean by mental toughness, and you are bound to hear a fuzzy description that might include just about any positive psychological attribute imaginable. They sleep better, show better attendance, are more engaged in the classroom and have higher aspirations. “...they are capable…” Your effort has nothing to do with the competition. … As a society we place too much emphasis on having no losses on our record. In this article, I aim to bring some conceptual clarity to this topic by reviewing the various ways that mental toughness has been defined and measured in the research literature.  I then weigh the empirical evidence on the question of whether mental toughness is useful as a predictive variable for high achievement. It’s good to practice any of these in your daily life, whenever you can. A mentally tough person is someone who is comfortable in their own skin, they take what comes in their stride and enjoy the challenge. According tough Clough and Earle, Mental Strength is first the capacity that an individual has to deal effectively with the stressors, challenges and pressure to present their best performance in spite of their circumstances (2012), and according to Clough & Strycharczyk, it is also part of the personality trait that contributes the large part of how an individual deal with stress, the pressures and challenges facing … In their article titled What is this Thing Called Mental Toughness?, Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton (2002) aggregated input from 10 international-level athletes and came up with: “Mental toughness is having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to: Generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on the performer.  Specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure.”, This definition has been criticized for its emphasis on being “better than opponents” and thus describing a relative rather than an absolute notion of mental toughness.  Nevertheless, it set the stage for nearly two decades of research during which numerous alternative definitions have been put forward, each promising to be the one that unites the field. Â. In Webster’s Dictionary, mental is defined as relating to the mind.  What emerges is a two-factor conceptualization in which mental toughness is considered a combination of robust self-confidence and resilience. Dr. Dave Schroerlucke is a mental performance expert helping individuals and teams develop the attitudes, habits, and mental skills that promote optimal performance, particularly within the context of competitive or high-stakes environments. If you think of it as a metaphor, resilience would be the mountain, while mental toughness … These are the strategies I teach.  Â, Confidence: Deeply ingrained belief in one’s ability and comfort asserting oneself interpersonally. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. A mentally tough athlete treats practice and pre-season competitions with the same intensity as league and post-season games. Having become a sort of default explanation for any victory in challenging situations, mental toughness has been criticized as, “one of the most used but least understood terms in applied sport psychology”, Mental toughness made its sports debut in the mid-1980s with the early work of Jim Loehr, who defined it rather loosely as, “the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances.”. Top-tier athletes know that mental toughness training is a part of their great athletic achievements. Laurence Gonzales, author of SURVIVING SURVIVAL: The … Many times a defeat is the seed of discontent we need to motivate us to improve our game. Mentally tough people do not externalize blame or credit. “Mental toughness is having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to:Â, better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on the performer. Â. To be mentally tough, you must have some degree of resilience, but not all resilient individuals are necessarily mentally tough. The Strycharczyk and Clough definition of mental toughness, and the MTQ 4C’s framework that supports it, focuses on resilience and confidence and their related attributes that enable you to perform at your best, whatever the circumstances. There is an old adage, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” You can only control three things as an athlete - your effort, your attitude, and your preparation. The widespread use of the 4C model is due in large part to the efforts of its developers in extending its scope of application beyond sports and into the domains of education, business, and the military.  The 4C model also enjoys a prominent role in health psychology, where mental toughness is seen as an important moderator between stress and illness. As a natural corollary to the conceptual confusion described above, measurement of the mental toughness construct has not been consistent across studies. “...on a consistent basis…” Anyone can be great in a random chance moment. Becoming mentally tough doesn’t happen overnight. Toughness is defined as strong and durable.  They are able to identify and focus on the things that are under their control and don’t waste time worrying or complaining about things outside of their control. Willingness to push boundaries, accept risks, and learn from mistakes and failures.  Although each scale often comes with a persuasive discussion of the theoretical rationale for its development, none has achieved gold-standard status and all suffer from equivocal findings with respect to their psychometric properties (validity and reliability).  Accordingly, there is no real basis upon which to recommend one measure over any other. For mos… Deeply ingrained belief in one’s ability and comfort asserting oneself interpersonally. They look for … Mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. Being Mentally Well and Mentally Tough are not the same thing. Mental toughness is a core skill to have at hand when dealing with challenge and change in the working environment. Contact Kathy A. Feinstein a certified Sports Performance Consultant in Naples, Florida. The first scientifically grounded attempt at defining and measuring mental toughness was provided by Clough, Earle, and Sewell (2002). They have highlighted that the attributes of a mentally tough athlete in one sport may differ greatly from the attributes of a mentally tough athlete in a different sport. 2. Most studies focusing around mental toughness have lacked methodological diversity and therefore longitudinal studies may benefit researchers who are trying to study mental toughness. He defines mental toughness as “an individual’s propensity to manage the demands of environmental stressors, ranging from an absolute resilience to extreme vulnerability” (Fletcher & Fletcher, 2005; p. 158; Fletcher, 2005; p. 1246).  There are seemingly just as many measurement instruments floating around out there as there are definitions. Coaches and sports commentators frequently espouse the importance of mental toughness in competitive athletes. This 2-factor model can be reconciled with the 4C’s above if control and commitment are considered subfactors of resilience while confidence and challenge are subsumed under robust self-confidence, as in the graphic below: Thus, if remembering all 4 components of the 4C model exceeds your working memory capacity, you can simplify it down to only two! Today’s headlines are tomorrow’s fish wrappings, so to be great you need to be consistent. Mentally Tough individuals performance consistently under pressure and deal better with stress and challenges. Challenge: Willingness to push boundaries, accept risks, and learn from mistakes and failures. An Investigation of Elite Sport Performers, Mental Toughness and Success in Sport: A Review and Prospect, A Qualitative Exploration of Choking in Elite Golf, Mental Toughness in Sport: Achievement Level, Gender, Age, Experience, and Sport Type Differences. Not every strategy may help you, so take the Bruce Lee philosophy of learning on your search. Let’s break that down. Becoming mentally strong is not something that you can just decide to do, and it usually doesn't happen overnight.  From an empirical perspective, this “everything but the kitchen sink” notion is problematic because it does not allow for standardization and scientific analysis. What Is This Thing Called Mental Toughness? In the sports setting, several research groups have adopted a more “subjective” approach to defining mental toughness, choosing to rely on the collective wisdom of elite athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists. Thinking is an important part of strategizing before a play and, in some situations, it is important to think through a game situation during a play. Mental Toughness can be developed through training interventions, coaching and helping individuals adopting behaviour of mentally tough individuals, which ultimately maximises resilience and confidence in teams and organisations. I define mental toughness as being "able to access their talent at the highest level they are capable on a consistent basis regardless of the situation." One could write volumes and volumes of how to become mentally tough. Commitment: Strong internal drive to succeed and relentless pursuit of goals. Mentally tough people love to be challenged.  What emerges is a two-factor conceptualization in which, mental toughness is considered a combination of, Yet another important unsettled debate involves the proverbial nature-nurture question: Are some people just born with more mental toughness or is it something that can be developed through training? I believe that someone who’s mentally tough has a combination of willpower, skill and resilience. Learn more. And this, in many ways, is the central idea of mental toughness – that it facilitates an adaptive rather than a maladaptive response to challenging circumstances. Mental toughness is located between factors of the HEXACO model, but much more squarely aligned with ambition in the HPI." The result was their 4 C model of mental toughness: Control: Sense of personal responsibility for life circumstances and regulation of emotions. Piggybacking off of the already well-established concept of “hardiness” (with its 3 components of control, challenge, and commitment), Clough and colleagues added a 4th component of confidence, which they felt was essential to the notion of mental toughness. These are the things that people do to make sure that they toughen themselves up mentally. One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong “why” for all of your short and long-term goals.. Mentally tough people do not shy away from the spotlight. They have an “unshakeable” belief that they will ultimately succeed that is unperturbed by challenges, adversity, or even defeat. In a sea of athletes who may be bigger, faster, and stronger than you, always seek out ways to be able to access your talent on a moments notice.  They have an opportunity mindset, meaning that they tend to view pressure situations as exciting opportunities rather than debilitating threats. Connect With Your Purpose. Mentally tough people don’t let the thoughts and opinions of others define the way they experience situations; instead, they let themselves be the judge of how they feel and how they act. Get in the habit of always playing at the height of your ability and you will see that ability continue to grow. A mentally tough individual sees challenge and adversity as an opportunity and not a threat, and has the confidence and positive approach to take what comes in their stride (Strycharczyk, 2015). A person with mental toughness faces challenges directly and is effective in solving them. However, overall, thinking prevents us from being in the moment and trusting our innate talent and highly practiced skills. Following comes from a previous note found here I sent out a while back thought! Responsibility for life circumstances and regulation of emotions, thinking prevents us from being in the working environment a with... 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