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Mental Toughness Training in Sports: Failure is a Prerequisite to Success

Mental Toughness Training in Sports and Failure

Mental toughness training in sports is something most coaches, parents and athletes are interested in understanding and knowing how to develop. There are many components to mental toughness. It is not just one thing that makes someone mentally tough or not. Think of it like a puzzle, there are many pieces and each piece might be a different size for each person, but ultimately in order to have mental toughness all the pieces of the puzzle need to be there and come together. One of these things is how one deals with failure.


Failure is an interesting term, as people through it around a lot, and often use it to describe a mistake. So first it is really maybe reframing the term, and seeing it more as something that exists if you quit and walk away. Mistakes are not failure. They are mistakes. You learn from them and then make another mistake. The key is making sure you have a process in place to learn from your mistakes, so that you don’t make the same mistake, but a new mistake. If you don’t learn from a mistake and repeat a mistake then almost it is a choice at that point, because you didn’t chose to learn from it.


How you learn from mistakes and move on comes from self reflection, and really trying to understand a situation and what really caused the mistake. Then it is about creating actionable steps to help in learning or correcting what caused the mistake. It is okay to have an emotional reaction around a mistake, but then you need to learn from it, and create steps to work on it. This will help you feel like you are more in control and are actually doing something rather than just having negative self talk.


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Kate Allgood Masters Sport Psychology (with distinction) Masters General Psychology (with distinction) Sports Hypnosis Certification Muscle Activation Techniques Certification

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