Mental Toughness is not always about playing your best. It is often more about playing consistent, because- it matters how bad are the bad days. Most coaches will tell you that they thirst for the consistent performer over the streaky athlete. So, if you are not achieving consistent results, here are three aspects to examine.
1) You are not hustling:
Nothing can replace hustle. Look at the very best in your sport at the highest level and I guarantee that they put forth the most preparation. It is the first step toward building consistency because we must know that we have put forth in the effort necessary. Ghandi once stated “the harder we work, the tougher it is to surrender.” A rule to follow is to look at who works the hardest on your team and outwork them.
2) You are not preparing the right way:
It pains me when I see the hardest workers not seeing results. Often enough though, it is because they are not addressing the correct things. Remember, we play like we train! In order to play consistent, we simply must compete and create pressure in practice. These are the skills that transfer.
3) You are putting too much pressure on yourself:
Trying harder works in preparation, but rarely works in competition. When we feel like we are not getting anything out of our game, we are often “getting in our own way.” Focusing on results as opposed to the execution can cause us to play careful, tight, and trying NOT to mess up. Pressure stems from a variety of places (expectations mostly) and it slowly creeps into our mentality and game. Thus, we must completely devote ourselves to the task at hand and staying aggressive. Peyton Manning summed it up perfectly, “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness