Mental Toughness

You always hear people talk about mental toughness. What does that actually mean? Is it any different from peak performance? If peak performance is the ability to play up to your full potential, then I define mental toughness as the ability to reach peak performance through stress, distractions, fatigue, and pain.

Any athlete can reach peak performance every once in awhile, but does that make him or her mentally strong or tough? I believe the mentally toughest athletes are the ones that can consistently get close to peak performance time and time again. They are the ones that show up and play well every game, every tournament, every year.  But even more, they can reach peak performance despite intense fatigue, pressure, or other distractions. Even when their bodies are fatigued, they come up with the motivation to keep fighting. Even when the pressure is intense, they are able to stay relaxed. Even when they have outside distractions (such as family issues), they are able to stay focused. Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Rafael Nadal are good examples of mentally tough athletes. Each one of these athletes have their own mindset, traits, training regimen, habits, rituals, support, and experiences that have contributed to their mental toughness.

Remember, the skills and attitudes that make up peak performance and mental toughness can be trained. Jordan, Brady, and Nadal did not begin their careers with such mental toughness, but with practice and experience they improved. I hope this blog will help teach you the info and skills needed to improve your mental toughness.