The importance of mental toughness
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate how important each of the 30 mental toughness attributes (Jones et al., 2007) are within soccer and cricket. Four male premier league cricket players aged between 20 and 21 (M=20.75, SD=0.5) and four male semi-professional soccer players aged between 21 and 23 (M=21.75, SD=1.0) were interviewed on their rating out of 10 for each attribute. The data was analysed by firstly generating mean ratings for every attribute in each sport and placing them in order of importance. Secondly, interview data was deductively analysed for the top 10 attributes using cross case causal networks. The results showed that cricket players identified attributes under the sub-component handling pressure to be the most important, as cricketers need to control anxiety in order to adapt and make the right decisions every ball. Soccer players identified attributes under the sub-components belief and regulating performance to be most vital. The players identified that in order to maintain their self belief it is important to remain focused and learn from mistakes, whilst regulating performance entails capitalising on the opposition’s mistakes to score. Consistent with previous research, both sports identified that mental toughness was most important in the competition environment. These findings enable practitioners and coaches to tailor interventions and environments to develop sport specific mental toughness that will match and buffer the stressors experienced within cricket and soccer (Fletcher et al., 2006). Future research should use super elite participants as they are likely to have a far greater insight into the makeup of mental toughness (Jones et al., 2007), and also examine the 20 components not analysed in this study to find out why they were perceived less important. Additionally, a study that looks at individual skill or endurance based sports would be a logical progression, to identify if attributes vary
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McKay, James (Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2014)Mental toughness was first integrated into the sporting context in the 1980’s. In the early stages of the literature, many studies were conducted with the objective of producing a definition, and identifying the attributes ...
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