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WHAT IS MENTAL TOUGHNESS?

How many times do you hear the term mentally tough? We think we know what it means:

  • Don't let yourself be weak

  • Keep pushing

  • Don't give up

  • Try hard

  • Persevere

These all sound inspiring and positive, but are they really the answer to the question, What is mental toughness?


I am going to break down mental toughness into 4 main areas to help you learn how to become mentally tough in your sport.


1. CONTROL

2. COMMITMENT

3. CONFIDENCE

4. CHALLENGE


As athletes at any level, these are terms that get thrown around all the time. Which means this is something you already know or is it?


I can control myself. I am committed. I mean I am here. I showed up. I am confident, well as confident as my teammates. I am in competitive sports because I like a challenge.


Does this sound like the familiar self-talk you are doing at this moment? If this is what you already know, then why are you still wondering what mental toughness is?


Keep reading to find out what mental toughness is and how you can become mentally tough.


1. Control

  • Controlling your beliefs is an important step in becoming mentally tough. You have to believe in yourself. "I really believe I can do this".

  • Control your emotions. Let mistakes go quickly so you can move on to the next play. Do not let opponents, refs or your own teammates control your emotions. You CAN control your reactions to others.

  • Control the emotions of others. You can be a leader by modeling for your teammates and helping them control their emotions.

CONTROLLING YOUR EMOTIONS IS KEY


2. Commitment

  • Set Goals- "I promise to do it. I like working on my goals". This is what you need to tell yourself and back it up.

eg. I will keep the pedal on the gas at every practice for the next 3 weeks. I will not take any shortcuts on any drill or workout.

  • Achieving- I will do everything in my power to keep my promise and reach my goals.

eg. I am tired and unmotivated today. I WILL keep the pedal on the gas in practice today for every drill and workout.


BE RELIABLE AND FOCUSED


3. Confidence

  • "I believe in my ability or I believe I can gain the ability." If you doubt your ability, then you will fall short. If you see a skill as impossible, then it will be.

  • Believe you can influence others as much as they influence you. Be the positive force in your life and on your team.

I CAN ...


4. Challenge

  • Learning- Always be a student of the game. Mistakes give us feedback and we must learn from them in order to improve. Choosing to give up, get upset, or become frustrated means you are choosing not to learn.

  • Risk taking- Be willing to push yourself. Be driven to succeed, not give up. This is a scary thing to do because it is difficult and it is so much easier to say you can't and give up. Even more detrimental is to be content with your current level and then wonder why you aren't improving.

DRIVE AND ADAPTABILITY



Mental toughness is not something you either have or you don't. It is all about changing your habits. In order to gain mental toughness you have to choose to do these 4 things every time and then it just becomes what you do without hesitation.


Make the Choice to Change your Habits and you will be on your way to becoming mentally tough.


By Amenda Pedregon

Head Volleyball Coach

Certified Personal Trainer

Certified Health & wellness coach



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