Mental Toughness

January 6, 2009

Every coach wants his or her players to be mentally tough. As a strength coach, how do we address this though??
Is it developed via the stereotypical conditioning or weights sessions that draws the athletes to/close to puking?? Or is mental toughness created by giving athletes the tools to succeed, and they need to show some initiative in using the tools we give them??

Like I mentioned right above, the stereotype is that mental toughness is developed through a large physical demand. What I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with here is how these sessions for the most part follow a quantity over quality theme. Running or performing circuits until the athletes are gassed or on the verge of puking….sure it might help build an athlete’s mental resiliency, but are there any negatives associated with these sessions??

These sessions are obviously very taxing, so can they then be detrimental to recovery? Also form is often allowed to falter as the session continues, so are we just taking “one step forward, two steps back” regarding the development of effective movement patterns?

To close, here’s an interesting tidbit on mental toughness by strength coach James Smith:

He states that “merely doing what your coach says over and over again has little to do with mental toughness. Mental toughness manifests in what you do on your own, your recovery, your off-field activities, the life choices you make. This is the truly tough work. No one is there to make you do it.”


PS – Just bear with my infrequent posting this week. I’ve been having some internet issues here with my house.




One Response to “Mental Toughness”

  1. I spent nearly two hours on the phone getting mine fixed today. I was of course stealing wireless from my neighbor while fixing my own…

    I don’t think those go till you drop workouts are in the best interest of the client, athlete, or patient either. It is my opinion- no scientific research here- that the more wiped a person is the more likely they’re going to make a mistake and injure themself. If the same job can get done in two sessions without the person feeling like they’re going to die, then I say break it in two! Especially for training with heavy weights. Last place we need an exhausted person on the verge of a mistake is under a few hundred pounds about ready to attempt a squat.

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