In sport settings the identification and development of mentally tough athletes has become a major focus for many teams and organizations around the world. While the instruments used to determine mental toughness in sports are still faulty, there are key aspects most researchers agree on.
Perceptions of mental toughness obtained from the available research suggest that it is multifaceted; made up of multiple key components. Core group of key components that doesn’t vary significantly by sport is consisted of: self-belief, context intelligence, resilience, emotional awareness and regulation, intentional control, optimistic thinking, handling challenge and success mentality. These factor both into positive (e.g. winning streak) and negative (e.g. injury) life experiences (Gucciardi et al., 2009).
What exactly is mental toughness?
The accepted definition seems to claim being mentally tough means having the psychological edge that enables you to: cope better than your opponents with the many demands and to be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident and in control under pressure.
Another conceptualization of mental toughness is the 4Cs model. For authors of this theory mental toughness is reflected in individuals that tend to be sociable and outgoing: as they are able to remain calm and relaxed, they are competitive in many situations and have lower anxiety levels than others as well as high sense of self-belief and an unshakeable faith that they can control their own destiny. These outstanding people should also be relatively unaffected by competition or adversity. (Clough et al., 2002)
Psychological Performance Inventory (PPI; Loehr, 1986) measures seven most essential ingredients of mental toughness:
- self confidence
- attention control
- negative energy
- attitude control
- positive energy
- visual and imagery control
In this video we review the top five most mentally tough wrestlers of all time. Do you agree or disagree?
Top five most mentally tough wrestlers of all time.