ATHLETE MENTAL TOUGHNESS, SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY

Champions have a competitive advantage. How does an athlete develop a competitive advantage rather than the weakness of a mental Achilles’ Heel? Mental Athlete Toughness is the competitive advantage.

Mental Athlete Toughness is derived from the love, passion, soul and spirit for the game. MAT is inspired by a mentor, credible, truthful, and trustworthy coach who coaches by the 4 R’s of Coaching. Trust is the Core of Coaching.

The mentor doesn’t have to be an employed athletic coach but a parent, friend, minister or another confidant. Naturally it is better if the mentor is the designated athletic coach.

The 4 R’s of Coaching are the backbone of Trust because they are the key of Positive Motivation.

Not all athletes have Mental Toughness. Authentic, genuine Mental Athlete Toughness is multidimensional. First the athlete is gifted with athletic intelligence and ability. The athlete also has a “5 star Will To Win.”

At the same time, the athlete has passion for the game. This passion is an extreme emotional feeling for the game. The athlete plays for the love of the game and enjoys the aggressive play and self-denying physicality of the game. The athlete studies the game and is focused with his or her destination in sight without distracting obstacles while playing the game. Nothing impedes that focus.

The athlete is dedicated, self-sacrificing, determined, plays aggressively, maintains strict conditioning and stays in excellent shape year round. They never dissipate and seize every moment to stay in top condition. The athlete desires to be a player in something bigger than self, part of a successful team. The athlete places the team victory first before personal achievement.

The nucleus of Mental Toughness is a Mentor Coach of the athlete and his or her Coaching Philosophy. The Coach must cultivate respect in themselves and then EARN respect from the athletes and others around them. Trust must be established and earned by the coach over time. A coach cannot lead without enthusiastic followers.

Athletes trust, respect and follow the coach who Coaches with the 4 R’s of Coaching i.e. Respect, Responsibility, coach-player Relationship, Recognition.

The Coach must have the best interest of the athlete at heart to prevail in the mind of the athlete and their mental state, “toughness”.

Some coaches, who are not in step with the prevailing concept of Mental Athletic Toughness, and, conversely, practice physical and psychological athlete maltreatment, give Mental Athletic Toughness lip service and profess the awareness of its importance. These negatively motivating coaches are convinced that Mental Athletic Toughness is achieved by over working, over practicing and physically and psychologically abusing their athletes.

They often cross the line and push and punish their Athletes beyond their physical and mental limits. More is not better and is extremely counter productive.

Out of step, that coach will demand and command respect and mistreat their athletes in the process. They will play head games verbally, physically and emotionally for admiration, approval, esteem, prominence, success and winning. But, pushing athletes too far will waste some athletes physically and emotionally and, at the same time, waste their careers. That coach will loose many games, because they lack athletes accepting their misdirection, which negates teamwork. Teamwork is the key to success; not brainwashing brutality that emphasizes tearing down and remolding elite athletes.

The athlete develops a belief based on absolute certainty that he or she is better than their opponent. The mentally tough athlete “really wants it” more than their opponent and is not distracted by their own or their teammates mistakes. The mentally tough athlete wants the pressure and never is critically negative about themselves. A negative mind set is not in them. They always want the ball or the challenge and are confident when they are the center of the action.

The negative, mental Achilles heel will impair the proper movement coordination and restrict athletic performance. Mental Athlete Toughness allows the fluidity of muscle synergy during practice and during competitions, because the muscle agonists and antagonists are moving the extremities and athletic body parts as they should be moved in sink together for successful athletic coordination and performance.

The mentally tough athlete always comes with their game, every game, because their mind set is developed supported by a trustworthy mentor coach.

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