Essay on Importance of Mental Toughness in Sport

2918 Words Dec 18th, 2012 12 Pages
Introduction to Mt in sport

Top level sport is characterized by a demand to excel at optimal levels while performing under conditions that are considered extremely demanding. The pursuit for performance excellence in sport encompasses the continuing development of four key facets of performance, namely physical, technical, tactical, and mental skills. However, when physical, technical, and tactical skills are evenly matched, which commonly occurs in competition especially at the highest level , performers who possess more of what is commonly referred to as ‘‘mental toughness’’ appear to prevail more often than those with less mental toughness (Gucciardi, Gordon, & Dimmock, 2008). Psychological attributes such as self-confidence and
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Clough et al. (2002) placed their own work on mental toughness in the theoretical foundations of hardiness, although these researchers viewed mental toughness as a related yet distinct construct. In the six factor model that emerged from their research, Clough et al. suggested that confidence in ones abilities and inter-personal confidence clearly distinguishes mental toughness from hardiness, specifically due to the unique nature of sport settings.

Importance of MT in sport

It was not until relatively recently that more rigorous scientific approaches to the study of this important construct have been evident (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002; Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2007). The surge in research interest clearly indicates the importance which sport psychologists, coaches and athletes attach to the concept of mental toughness because of the potential relationship with successful performance (cf. Crust, 2007).In the past decade, scientific evidence has ostensibly led to a greater understanding of mental toughness, although agreement concerning the conceptualisation, definition, and development of mental toughness has been slow to emerge. Bull, Shambrook, James, and Brooks (2005, p. 211)
The term mental toughness is intuitively appealing and used equally generously by players, coaches and the sports media, yet usually without adequate definition (Cashmore, 2002; Clough, Earle, & Sewell, 2002). Therefore

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