What does “mentally tough” mean? What do mentally tough athletes think about or do when competing? Coaches and athletes refer to mental toughness as a person who can perform well under pressure. Mental toughness is basically a state of mind. You either accept the challenge, do whatever it takes to conquer the task or you lay back and allow yourself to be defeated. Mental toughness is something that we all need to discover within. It does not come to us all naturally and requires repetitive practice. Even professionals have to practice this on a daily basis. This continual practice is what has guided them to the professional level. Consistency is what keeps professional athletes at the top of their game. They are consistently training as hard as they can in practices, games, and in the weight room.
Hopefully your coach has had the chance to conduct or is in the process of conducting a mid-season review of your individual performance so far. Your review should have stated your strengths and weaknesses as well as what you need to focus on for the remainder of the season in order to improve as an individual or to help the team excel. This is the time where you can practice on being mentally tough. Here are some points that you can use to help you stay focused on being mentally prepared for the future.
- Do I play my hardest at defense and offense?
- Do I win the little battles?
- Am I willing to block a shot to prevent the other team from scoring?
- Do I try my hardest in every drill and every shift?
- Do I attack to score all of the time?
- Do I make excuses or am I willing to “look in the mirror” and accept blame, sometimes even blame I don’t deserve.
- Am I coachable? When being criticized do I feel sorry for myself or am I able to handle it and correct my behavior with a good attitude?
- Do I let negative comments and input from others pull me down, or do I stay positive and try to pull others up?
- Do I get bored with something quickly, or am I tough enough to keep my enthusiasm, knowing that repetition breeds success?
- Do I want what’s best for me or do I put all my effort into what’s good for the team, trusting that an unselfish attitude will come back to reward me.
- Am I motivated by immediate gratification, or do I have the ability to see the long-term consequence of my actions?
“Everyday missed is a day lost!”