DEFINING MENTAL TOUGHNESS – Chad Longworth Velo Shop

DEFINING MENTAL TOUGHNESS

Like many other phrases in coaching we all repeat it, but do we actually know what we are saying.  today’s generation needs to know the why.  No, it’s not always been like that but it is what it is today.  if a player were to ask how he should be mentally tougher after you scold him could you answer?

Jim Loehr (1993) is a noted sport psychologist who has worked with many top athletes over the last twenty years. He suggests the following definition for toughness: “Toughness is the ability to consistently perform toward the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances”. Toughness is not about having a “killer instinct” or being mean or cold. Loehr describes the following four emotional markers of mental toughness.

– Emotional Flexibility – The ability to handle different situations in a balanced or non- defensive manner. Emotional flexibility also speaks to the skill of drawing on a wide range of positive emotions – humor, fighting spirit, pleasure.

– Emotional Responsiveness – You are emotionally engaged in the competitive situation, not withdrawn.

– Emotional Strength – The ability to handle great emotional force and sustain your fighting spirit no matter what the circumstances.

– Emotional Resiliency – Being able to handle setbacks and recovering quickly from them.  Like other aspects of mental toughness, these skills can be learned. It is not something genetic. For some players it comes more easily than for others. In general, to play at this level, you probably already have many of these skills. However, for many players, there is often room for improvement.  By being mentally tough, you can bring all your talent and skill to life consistently. Being able to use your emotional life effectively will help you perform at your prime more consistently. The use of thinking skills, imagery, confidence building and other skills described later can be powerful techniques in reaching a high level of mental toughness.  CHAPTER 2: BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE  WHAT IS IT? Self-confidence is the belief that you can handle the demands and challenges of the game. It is based, in part, on how you have performed in previous games. It is also depends on how well you manage your inner critic and the way you think and feel about baseball.  WHY BOTHER? Self-confidence comes more easily to some players than others.

Commit to the process.  Love the Grind.  Win Everyday.

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