What do you see in this picture? Seriously, take a minute to think about what you are looking at.
Do you see a super happy Olympic gold medalist jumping with joy, three Olympic medalists, or the three best athletes in the world (in their field)? What does it take to win a gold medal, versus silver, bronze or runners up?
What separates you in your field when everyone else is physically, technically and tactically matched with you?
Mental toughness is a field that is important in both general experiences and sporting environments. Being mentally tough allows an individual to gain an edge over others when physical, technical and tactical skills are evenly matched - which generally occurs at elite levels. Individuals that show mental toughness often prevail more than those who do not (Gucciardi et al., 2009).
Mental toughness is tough to measure and is generally subjective. However, it is possible to indicate markers for mental toughness as either natural or developed. Gaining a psychological edge enables you to cope better with the altering demands such as lifestyle, training and competition. More specifically being mentally tough allows you to be consistent in determination, focus, confidence and control under pressure.
What skills do you have that allow you to cope under pressure? How often do you reflect on your psychological state of mind? How do you develop mental toughness? Is mental toughness a natural trait? Mental toughness varies from individuals some are more naturally inclined and some develop toughness over time.
Foundations for mental toughness can develop from multiple sources such as coach leadership, motivational climate, parents, vicarious experiences ability of mastery skills and critical incidents (Connaughton et al., 2010).