Mental Toughness in Sports
The sports world provided one of the two main origins for the development of mental toughness and in many ways mental toughness and how it can impact is reasonably well understood by most coaches and trainers, the key areas are:
- Performance – especially in competition and training work effectively and to a high standard
- Positive Behaviour – developing a “can do” approach. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you won’t.
- Wellbeing – feeling satisfied and motivated even when the going has been tough and there have been setbacks
- Aspirations – being more ambitious.
AQR have developed a version of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire specifically for the Sports sector using language applicable in the sporting world. The measure enables coaches, trainers and athletes to make better assessments and identify why they do or don’t perform under the pressure of completion when they know they can perform well away from that pressure.
Mental toughness can also explain why some athletes are better suited to contact sports and why some perform belter in team sports than in solitary sports.Or why an athlete of lesser ability can often beat (and often will beat) an athlete of greater ability. Described as winning mentality, mind-set, learned optimism, etc, these all describe the same or similar notions. Winner in in their mind. That’s also where losers lose too.
AQR have also developed a mental toughness development programme targeted at athletes and their coaches and trainers, called UCanWin.
This programme, which has its own accompanying workbook, aids sportspeople at all levels and includes interventions quotes and analogies relevant to the sporting world.
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