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Joe Kenn | Vice President of Performance Education

How do you define mental toughness? Defining the term “mental toughness” in my opinion is one of the hardest things to achieve. I consider this a “coach speak” term. If you ask ten coaches what their thoughts are you could get ten unique answers. Discussing this term with experts who study sports psychology and other areas of personality traits, the conversations lead to there may not be a single definition of mental toughness. Mental Toughness may be the summation of concepts and terms that define certain characteristics and values that a coach or person in leadership is looking for in their athletes or clients.

For example, in the book Toughness by Jay Bilas (highly recommend), each of the ten chapters in his book represent a specific action or character trait. Trust, Preparation, Courage, Communication, Persistence, Next Play, Commitment, Acceptance, Resilience, and Self-evaluation. It wasn’t until late in my career that I came to finality of the what mental toughness meant to a coach because I didn’t believe in the term. When I would speak to a coach and tell them what I thought could be developed in a weight room setting, resiliency, work ethic, mental fortitude, team work, peer leadership, commitment, etc., their reply would be well that’s part of mental toughness.

In the end, I can agree to disagree, but I now accept mental toughness as a coach speak term which sums up what I believe is important in the athlete or clients personality make up. This topic always sparks interesting discussions. I look forward to learning how you define mental toughness.

Best Success and #wordswin

Coach Kenn

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