How to Develop Mental Toughness in Athletes

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One of the biggest if not the biggest problems coaches and athletic trainers face these days with regards to dealing with the players under their tutelage is developing mental toughness especially for those budding and young athletes. Mental toughness is the ability, often exhibited by veteran athletes, to remain calm and not be rattled even under duress and critical moments of a game.

In the current sports landscape we have today, talent and skill are quite obvious and many young and promising athletes have voyaged the field of sports. However, it was proven time and time again that talent alone cannot guarantee victory.

Renowned sports psychologist Jim Loehr first introduced the concept of mental toughness and energy management during the 1980s. Working with wolrd-class tennis players, Loehr found out that a great portion of a player or a team’s victory depends on their mindset and how they prepare their minds to achieve success.

Nevertheless in developing mental toughness such concepts should be undermind.


In order to be mentally tough, an athlete must have a well-conditioned physical body. Similarly, stamina and terms like fatigue and stress are somehow, products of one’s own mind. More so, to be energetic an athlete must feel energetic. Simple exercises will enhance and maintain the natural flow of energy in the body so it’s important for athletes to perform simple routine exercise before starting heavy training sessions.


It’s a common scene in sports to see a player, an athlete or a team with so much talent to cruise on easy victories only to lose on games which count the most. There are lots of examples of such scenarios such as the LeBron James-Cleveland Cavalier era, the Cavs cruise on smoothly throughout the course of the regular season.

A point that should be noted is that they easily won games after games without being tested in precarious moments. They simply don’t know what to do when the chips are down and the tides are against them. They just folded.

Adversities and struggles in sports or in life in general are the things that show us what we are made of. They are essential for us to develop mental toughness and to achieve a thicker skin for criticisms.


Having optimistic view of things plays a huge part in developing mental toughness. Displaying an aura of confidence even in the midst of pressures and difficulties is a great aptitude that works wonders not just for one’s own self but as well as inspire others to perform at par.

Similarly, an old adage says that “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going” that same saying should be adopted by coaches and trainers for them to develop mental toughness in athletes.


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