I haven’t talked much about the psychology side of sports and training at this point, but with so many great examples of mental toughness from this weekend’s NFL playoff games, it seems like a perfect time.
If you watched, the games this weekend you witnessed many feats of high caliber play making and big time mental toughness. One example of this is Tom Brady and the
Patriots. Love him or hate him, you have to respect the things that Tom Brady has done. This man named Brady has won 3 Super Bowls already in his very young career and has a very good chance to win his fourth. He will go down as one of the greats when history looks back on his time. I am not a
Patriots fan what so ever, but I have tremendous respect for people and teams that thrive in pressure situations. Tom Brady is one of those people and the
Patriots are on of those teams. As was demonstrated AGAIN by him this weekend, Brady came through in a high pressure situation, when his team needed a touchdown to win and he delivered. The story is almost always the same with this guy in those pressure situations. The man has tremendous mental toughness. As the game and situation gets tough, he just gets tougher. Here is a quick list of some of the greatest mentally tough pro athletes, (which by the way, is by no means complete, so save the e-mails on who I left off)
Joe MontanaTiger WoodsMichael JordonPete Sampras
Some recent examples:
Jeff GarciaJeremy ShockeyDavid AckersAdam
The list could go on and on. This point of this article isn’t to point out all of the mentally tough athletes of the last century but rather to give real life examples to hopefully inspire you to be more mentally tough too. The truth is, you are not born with mental toughness, I believe that it is trained just as strength and speed are trained. It takes practice and takes a lot of time being in tough situations.
Here are some ways to improve your mental toughness:
- The next time you are nearing the end of your reps and you think you cannot possibly do anymore, squeeze out one or two more. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation, but most people always have a little more left in the tank and stop short of what they could really do. If someone had a gun to your head and told you to crank out another rep, most would. Its mental. Add another set to your training program that day, even if you are wiped out.
- After your next weight training session, when you would normally throw in the towel and call it quits, put another 15 minutes in doing some HIIT training. If you already do that anyway, do 5 more minutes at a higher rate. Trust me…it will make you tougher.
- Try training in the early morning once a week. Get up before the sun comes up. I know…this is the part where you close out this article and tell me that I am crazy, but seriously, try it. Getting up early, when every ounce of your being tells you not to…only to train, when you know you could do it at another more comfortable time, really pushes your toughness meter up a little higher. People that learn to rise early and get work done before most people are up, usually are some of the toughest people I know. Don’t think about it, just get up and do it.
These are just some of the ways that you can train your mind to be tougher. Mental toughness isn’t just for football games and training sessions, it’s for daily life. You would be surprised how much athletics and training helps you handle tough situations in your daily life. Use your training sessions to build more than just your muscles. Use your time in the gym to train your mind. You will be a better person for it and a much tougher one too.