How do you feel when your coach runs a long, strenuous practice? When your coach has you run 20-30 minutes of sprints after you just trained for two hours.
Many athletes have practices they dread because those sessions are physically and mentally draining.
You have been in a situation where your coach presents you with a challenge. As your coach explains what the challenge entails, you feel a wave of anxiety overtake you.
You question your ability to get through the session. You hold back effort because you just want to make it through, seeing no benefit from the difficult sessions. You are angry at your coach for all this unnecessary training.
Nonetheless, you notice that some of your teammates seem excited and ready to embrace the difficult practices. You wonder why you don’t have the same type of motivation.
The difference is your mindset. You can view difficult training sessions as opportunities to grow and become a better, tougher athlete. Or you can view difficult training sessions as punishment or purposeless.
Your mental toughness determines if you embrace difficult training or just give enough effort to make it through.
One of the greatest competitors of our time is 7-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady. Brady is a strong competitor for many reasons, one important characteristic being his mental toughness.
Brady’s mental toughness has contributed to his longevity and success in football.
BRADY: “I found that challenges bring out the best in me, today I think back on them as gifts. I fought hard to get to where I am today, which means I know what it means to fight hard. When you’re in a Super Bowl game and your team is three touchdowns down and the clock is running, mental toughness is what makes the difference at the end.”
Brady’s mental toughness comes from his effort and dedication to being prepared.
BRADY: “If you want to perform at the highest level, you have to prepare at the highest level mentally.”
Athletes are not held back by lack of physical skills, but their mentality. Top athletes can push forward through the physical challenges and make the most of their abilities.
Mindset affects your ability to prepare fully. When you choose to push through hard training sessions, you build mental toughness.
How to Build Mental Toughness
You have free will to choose your mindset when challenged by with hard training sessions. Look for opportunities to build mental toughness and grow as an athlete.
When you are given a challenge set from your coach, tell yourself, “This is my mental training set.”
Repeat the phrase throughout the session to keep you motivated. Not only will this mindset sustain your effort, but it will also build the mental toughness that you can rely on when competitions become challenging.