What is mental toughness in sport?

Mental toughness refers to a combination of psychological skills, that when utilized in combination produce optimal performance.

The best athletes, or the so-called “elite” don’t just have one psychological skill in their training belt, no they have many. To develop mental toughness, it’s important to work on several psychological skills, whether that’s positive self-talk, visualization, goal setting, or attention control.

The better-rounded you are as an athlete, the greater well equipped you are to deal with a number of in-game and out of game scenarios, developing that mental toughness we all dream about.

This short article will discuss why mental toughness is important in sport, followed up with some quick tips on how you too, can develop this on your own, increasing your sports performance.

Why is mental toughness important in sport?

An athlete who is “mentally tough” is greater equipped to deal with intense pressure, anxiety-induced situations, and generally remaining calm while performing in sporting competition. 

However, at the heart of mental toughness is an athlete that, despite losing the game, missing numerous passes, or flogging a free-kick, they can come back from this adversity and face this head-on, un-phased by past actions during the game.

Those who possess this unique trait set often perform to the highest level consistently.

How to develop your own mental toughness

Developing mental toughness takes time, so it’s important to be patient during this process.

Essentially, to develop this toughness you want to work on and improve various psychological skills. This will allow you to cope and prosper during certain sporting, and even non-sporting situations.

Psychological skills you can work on include:

  • Visualization
  • Goal setting
  • Positive self-talk
  • Attention control
  • Communication

To conclude

The very best athletes are not only talented physically, but also mentally – these athletes are mentally tough. 

To increase mental toughness, you must test yourself in numerous ways, working on, and improving several psychological skills. Use the skills included above as a starting point, practicing these multiple times a week until they become second nature.

You’ll see progress but it will take time, so don’t give up and work on filling every slot of that mental tool belt.