“Mental Toughness”

According to Wikipedia, “Mental Toughtness” is “A measure of individual resilience and confidence that may predict success in sport, education and the workplace. As a broad concept, it emerged in the context of sports training, in the context of a set of attributes that allow a person to become a better athlete and able to cope difficult training and difficult competitive situations and emerge without losing confidence.

In recent decades, the term has been commonly used by coaches, sport psychologists, sports commentators, and business leaders.
There are several factors as to why a positive mentality or mental toughness is a huge benefactor to success. An elite athlete must be able to handle pressure, have self-belief and avoid any lifestyle distractions. They must have that urge to win and know that they have all the capabilities to do anything they desire. This separates the good athletes from the elite athletes” (Jones et al.,2002).

What Bothers You?

There are certain mishaps or inconveniences that typically cause athletes to get flustered. Recognize that you will face challenging moments. Your performances may not go exactly how you want them to all of the time.

React or Respond?

There will be times that you feel annoyed or angry. However, if you can respond quickly, these moments will be not be issues for you. Frustration can be the beginning of the end. It can get the best of you. As a result, you can get discouraged, become negative in your attitude and thinking or even give up.

What do you mean?

Picture yourself in a competition, trying to hit a 1 rep max. There is a crowd around you and a judge scoring your reps. Do you react or do you RESPOND? Would you get annoyed?
Now you’re on to the next event and your jump rope breaks mid workout. React or RESPOND? Would that bother you?
How about if you think you have 45 minutes to warm-up. Then someone tells you that you are in the next heat — in 10 minutes. React or RESPOND? Would you begin to freak out?

In these situations, losing your cool is not helpful. When you let the unexpected impact your workout or overall experience, the result can be devastating. When in the face of challenge, how do you see yourself? How you respond can give you a feeling of accomplishment and achievement. Or a feeling of defeat and a blow to your confidence. Every single obstacle is an opportunity to get better. As well, every single obstacle is an opportunity to practice. Therefore, turn your reactions into responses both on AND off the mat.


Think of a few scenarios that you’ve been bothered by before, on or off the mat. Basically, think “what if?” What could go “wrong.”

Then, next to each scenario, write down a strong response. A plan. Know how you want to handle that situation and what reminders will be helpful for you. *Consider what thoughts would help you, as well as what actions would help you.

Practice Makes Better

*Most of your responses to adversity, challenge or obstacles will be similar. You’ll want to calm your body language down, smile or say something positive that will help you keep going. The quicker you can respond effectively, the better. Practice this in your training, so that you’re ready to act calmly when the time comes.

Key Takeaway

Athletes who can adapt to many different situations, whether challenging, frustrating or unfortunate, are the athletes that come out on top when it matters.

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