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What is This Thing Called Mental Toughness? Investigation of Elite Sport Performers

by Rachel Webb

The article, What is This Thing Called Mental Toughness? Investigation of Elite Sport Performers I think is a huge asset to the sport psychology world because of the application that can come from the results. The study consisted of using 10 international performers that were apart of either a focus group or they were asked questions one on one and requested to give opened ended answers (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002). Specifically, this study was addressing two issues that encompass mental toughness which are, the definition of mental toughness as well as what attributes contribute to being mentally tough overall. Author Graham Jones identifies a total of 12 attributes that range from self-belief and motivation to ability to focus regarding performance and lifestyle related choices.

What this literature provided us with is insight into elite performers and their common definition of what it takes to be truly mentally tough. The definition of mental toughness according to Jones (2002) research is “having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to generally cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on a performer”. Specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure” (p 209). As previously mentioned there were 12 attributes derived from his research that were than ranked as those most key roles in ebeing mentall tough so here I want to list the top three. “Having an unshakable self belief in your ability to achieve your competition goals” followed by “bouncing back from performance set-backs as a result of increased determination to succeed”, and finally “ having an unshakable self-belief that you possess unique qualities and abilities that make you better than you opponents” (Jones et al, 2002). These definitions and attributes provided seem to highlight the association of mental toughness with the general ability to cope with adversity whether this is apart of or separate from your sport performance, and this seems to be the important aspect of what we can gather from the literature to date.

Jones, G. (2002). What Is This Thing Called Mental Toughness? An Investigation of Elite Sport Performers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. 14(3), 205-218. Doi: 10.1080/10413200290103509

On May 30, 2016

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