What Is Mental Toughness?

Lets check out a real game scenario first.  Your team had a 6 point lead with 3 minutes to go in the game.  The team you are playing scored 6 straight points off of your turnover and two missed shots.  The game is now tied, there is under a minute left in the game, and it is your ball.  How will your team respond?

Mental toughness is being able to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.  It is not backing down and saying “we can do this” even when the odds aren’t in your favor.

So how do you build mental toughness?  It is simple.  Push yourself and your team past their normal limits.  If you are trying to get in shape for your upcoming season and your workout ends with two suicide sprints, do three or four.  Push yourself beyond your “comfort zone.” If your in the weight room on the last set of your exercise, do not sell yourself short and quit the exercise early without finishing every repetition.  It takes a strong person to do these things.

How Does This Help You?

Let’s go back to the situations at the end of the game from above.  The score is tied and it is your ball with under a minute remaining.  If your team is mentally tough, you will run your offense crisply and fluently until that open shot comes.  And when that shot comes, you will knock it down to put your team in the lead with time winding down.

Being mentally tough is when you now have a one or two point lead with one possession left in the game, and making a commitment to yourself to not let the opposing team score.

It is never giving up or backing down, and believing in yourself and others.

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