What Is Mental Toughness?

It’s invaluable for a player to have mental toughness but the question one must ask yourself is “what is mental toughness?”

There are three types of mental toughness

  1. Endurance
  2. Pressure
  3. Concentration

While endurance is frequently thought of as a physical thing it’s also a mental thing.  Regardless of how fit a person might be there comes a point where they will be physically exhausted.  It’s at this point of physical exhaustion where the mentally tough can keep pushing themselves while others fall back.  The player who comes to my mind when talking about this type of mental toughness was Roy Keane.  He seemed to work just as hard and run just as fast in the first minute of the game as he did in the 90th minute.  There is no doubt he was extremely fit but there was the mental toughness to keep going hard when others slowed down that made him special (among other things).

Mental toughness comes into play when dealing with pressure as well.  The ultimate example in soccer would be the penalty kick.  The willingness to step up to take the penalty kick knowing a miss might result in a loss requires an ability to handle pressure and the willingness to maintain ones confidence under duress.  This requires mental toughness

The third type of mental toughness is the ability to concentrate.  It’s not about just concentrating when you want but rather to be able to concentrate throughout the entire period.  A keeper must be mentally tough enough to maintain their focus and concentration throughout the entire game.  This type of mental toughness is one of the things that separates the great keepers from the rest.

When I’m looking for players one of the things I look for are those who are mentally tough.  Ideally I want those who have all three types of mental toughness but that is very difficult to find. However, if someone doesn’t have any of the three types, it would be extremely difficult for me to look at them as someone I could count on long term

Have a great day!


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