Which mental toughness characteristics are most effective in aiding the injury rehabilitation process in cricketers?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Current mental toughness literature built on Jones et al. (2002) study by constructing definitions (Thelwell et al., 2005; Gucciardi et al., 2008) and identifying attributes essential to a mentally tough performer (Thelwell et al., 2005; Jones et al., 2007; Gucciardi et al., 2008; Coulter et al., 2010). However, research into which attributes are the most effective in injury rehabilitation has not been completed. The purpose of this study was to: a) Identify which mental toughness characteristics are most effective in aiding male cricketer’s rehabilitation and b) determine how these characteristics aided their recovery. Thirty-seven cricketer’s (33 club/4university: 23.54±8.26) completed a Ranking scale, which incorporated all mental toughness characteristics which were related to recovery allowing the most effective characteristics to emerge. With these characteristics plus relevant literature an interview guide was developed helping to establish how these specific characteristics had aided five cricketers (1 university/4 highlevel club: 20.6±0.55). Results highlighted that many of the characteristics essential to injury rehabilitation came from similar 'core' categories crucial to performance excellence; however some key differences in the order of importance were evident (for example, Jones et al., 2002 concluded 'self-belief' as the most important characteristic leading performance excellence while this study concluded 'maintaining a positive attitude' as most important when rehabilitating from injury). There were key findings in how the most effective characteristics aided all three stages (emotional response to injury, adherence to rehabilitation, returning to sport) of recovery for cricketers which should lead to tailored environments and psychological skills training being created to develop or enhance the most effective characteristics, so athlete’s acquire them before injury occurs. This provides the athlete with the skills to best overcome an injury before suffering one. Future research directions were identified in elite/super-elite participants, in other sports and in female athletes as it is identified in the literature that mental toughness characteristics can differ among these populations.
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