Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mental Toughness

Life and sports are one in the same.  You can learn so much through sports about how to adjust, adapt and achieve high success that apply directly to life. Basic skills include communication, being competitive, working within a team, commitment, leadership, diligence, sacrifice and my favorite - mental toughness.  

To be mentally tough is much more valuable than being physically strong on the court. Anybody can be strong and muscle themselves around to achieve some success. Keep in mind, that as a player or coach someone will always be stronger, faster, taller etc. so you must find a way to overcome the adversity.

"You can be strong individually but you must develop mental toughness as a team to sustain long term success." 
-Brenita Jackson

How can one develop mental toughness?

Each and every work out should include disadvantage drills to create adversity such as 5 on 4 shell drill or 11 man break (constant 3 on 2) so that players can learn how to overcome adversity. In an individual setting, you should condition and weight train first then do skill work so you are fatigued and really focusing on fundamentals.  Conditioning and weight training themselves can create adversity especially when you get to that last set and once players over come these battles consistently they wll have more confidence and gain mental toughness.  

Each work out should be challenging mentally and physically and running a mile is a great test of mental toughness.  We all know that during that mile you hear negative thoughts that make you want to quit and give up. Once you train your body and mind to fight through something as basic as finishing the run, then you are ready for competition! If you can't compete with yourself to get better, hang it up trying to beat anyone else. 

If you train yourself to overcome the negative thoughts and push yourself beyond your limits, you will be successful!  That is the ultimate definition of mental toughness!