“Ability will get you there, being mentally tough will keep you there. ” Delice Coffey
One of the highest compliments an athlete can get is the label “mentally tough.” Basketball Mental Toughness isn’t a quality athletes are born with. Rather, it includes a set of learned attitudes and ways of viewing competitive situations in productive ways.
Coaches, parents, and sports psychologists are in an ideal position to help young athletes develop a healthy philosophy about achievement and an ability to tolerate setbacks when they occur.
By teaching mental toughness lessons to athletes, sports psychologists can give them a priceless gift that will benefit them in many areas of everyday life. Here are four primary components of mental toughness:
Control means having a sense of self-worth and describes the extent to which you feel in control of your life and circumstances. Also, importantly it describes the extent to which you can control the display of your emotions.
Mentally tough athletes will usually just “get on with it” irrespective of how they feel and their positive approach can often lift the spirits of those around them.
Commitment is about goal orientation and ‘stick ability’. It’s the extent to which someone is prepared to set goals for what they need to do and make measurable promises that, once made, they will work hard to deliver on.
Challenge describes the extent to which the individual will push back their boundaries, embrace change, and accept risk. It’s also about how they see all outcomes – good and bad.
Mentally tough athletes view challenges, change and adversity as opportunities rather than threats and will relish the chance to learn and grow in the new and hitherto unknown situation.
Confidence completes the picture and describes the self-belief an athlete has in their own abilities and the interpersonal confidence they have to influence others and deal with conflict and challenge. When faced with a challenge, mentally tough athletes score high in confidence. Their confidence enables them to represent their view boldly and be comfortable in handling tough situations.
When all of these techniques work and an athlete have mastered the above elements of basketball mental toughness, he/she is in a position to let go of conscious control, let life and thought fall away and react to what’s important during competition.
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