Mental Toughness is one of the key Psychological Determinants of Elite Athletes. It is very different from Physical Toughness and requires working with a different part of the body.
It is a quality of mind or intellect characterised by, among other things, a refusal to be intimidated, a determination to finish a contest even when things are going badly, and an ability to control emotions and remain highly focused when under the pressure of intense competition.
World records are being broken each year by elite athletes who keep improving on their personal bests and the personal bests of competitors. Improving on one’s personal best is the goal of all Psychological Skills Training.
World record holders repeatedly point to the part played by Psychological Components in their successes. Mental Toughness is one such component that is acknowledged as vital to improved performance.
Mental Toughness can be described as:
- The ability to persistently and consistently perform at the upper range of ones talent regardless of competitive circumstances.
- The ability to be more consistent and better than opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, resilient, and in control under pressure.
- Having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables an athlete to generally cope better than opponents with the many demands (e.g. competition, training, lifestyle, etc) that are placed on them as high performers.
- A refusal to be intimidated, an ability to stay focused in high pressure situations, a capacity for retaining an optimum level of arousal throughout a competition, an unflagging eagerness to compete when injured and an inflexible, perhaps obstinate, insistence in finishing a contest rather than conceding defeat.
- The ability to cope with pressure and rebound from failure.
- The determination to persist in the face of adversity.
In essence it is having complete control over ones emotions and controlling all situations that the individual can control. Mental Toughness is readily perceived to be the most important determinant of success in sport.