mental toughness is really about

Mental Toughness Is Really About This…

I caddied an LPGA event for Maddie Sheils. She’s such a great person and golfer. It was fun! I did it while training for an IRONMAN as well. I’ve caddied over twenty mini tour events for my clients and a handful of PGA events for my players, but it was my first on the ladies tour.

I re-learned that Mental Toughness is really about this one thing.

Now, on the men’s tour, there are a few golfers who get the attention of their fellow peers because really bomb it off the tee. But, there are 109 players on tour who average over 300 yards. So, the discrepancy isn’t too significant.

However, On the LPGA, the average driving distance is about 255 yards, so there’s a handful that “send it” off the tee about 270 and 280. The difference between 255 and 280 is massive. It’s a different game altogether.

Here’s my point! 

Mental Toughness is really about how we respond to adversity.

So when a professional player who is top 10 in driving distance and can play well around the greens stumbles after playing really well, one thing becomes glaring. When they made mistakes during the tournament, they could not rebound or bounce back. They did not respond well to adversity and they finished way worse than they should have.

In our own lives, bad stuff is going to happen! We are going to have bad breaks, we are going to mess up, make mistakes, get upset, get down, frustrated. It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN these will happen.

But, this isn’t some fall down 8, get up 9 cliche’ or when life hands you lemons make lemonade cute saying. 

This type of mental toughness is not about a grand big picture of life where you can assess what’s working and what’s not, cost/benefit analysis, bring in a consultant type of adversity. There’s not a lot of reflection time when it comes to having this type of mental toughness.

Adversity is sneaky!

This type of adversity and struggle is going to happen during the course of a match, meet, game, and life. It’ll occur very quick, and there are emotions and expectations involved.

But, I believe that the better we get at overcoming adversity during the difficult times, it will also help us during the good times. 

The Importance of Mental Toughness comes down to these Hinge Moments! 

Here Are Four Ways To Respond Positively to Adversity


Some of us can witness our emotional reaction to stress and bad stuff. Many of us can not see the build up and slowly it stacks up like pancakes before toppling over. We have to understand and know our major adversity triggers. Mine is simply misplacing and losing things. I hate it and I allow it to consume me sometimes. 

Hope is NOT a Strategy  

Luke Tyburski completed one of the most amazing physical feats ever, called the ultimate triathlon. He talked about it on my podcast and you can listen to it here.  He actually prepared for this challenge by imagining everything that could go wrong and how he was going to respond to it. So, when the inevitable did occur, he already had a plan!  People think that imagining what can go wrong is bad. Yes, we should visualize the good outcomes, but we also need to know how we will respond to adversity. What will be our response? 

Have a Plan

So, here’s a true cliche’, you didn’t plan to fail, you just failed to plan. What is your strategy to overcome the minor setbacks and inconveniences? Do we need to have a mantra, or a physical refocus cue? Is gratitude in the midst of the struggle the answer? Feel free to email me how you do it!

Find A Way

The battle is me vs. me.

It’s against ourselves and the difficult part is that we know everything about our opponent. It’s why we often talk so negative to ourselves.

Sarah Piampiano developed her mental toughness by challenging herself everyday in her preparation so when she needed to dig deep, the reservoir of mental toughness was there for her. 

We have to be able to problem solve and fight, find a way, and compete, period!  The more we subject ourselves to situations where we have to be tough minded, then just like Sarah, it’ll be there when we need it.


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.