The Elusive “Mental Toughness” Ability

By Dr. Jack Singer

by Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist

The Elusive Mental Toughness Ability by Dr. Jack Singer, Licensed Sport PsychologistCoaches, players, parents and the like are always asking me how to help their athletes become more “mentally tough.”

Is this an inherited trait, or a learned ability?

The answer is that “Mental Toughness” is definitely an ability that can be developed through repetitive training of some relatively simple skills.

The 4 C’s of Mental Toughness:

  • Control
  • Commitment
  • Challenge
  • Confidence

Mental toughness involves teaching athletes how to take Control of their performance (rather than feeling they have little control over it), maintaining a Commitment to their goals, embrace the Challenge of performing their best, and feel the Confidence that they can perform their best when it matters the most. Of course, there are many ways of teaching these skills, but the one I prefer involves the following 5 steps:

  1. Take a deep Centering Breath, breathing in through your nose to the count of 4, holding it for 4 and exhaling completely out of your mouth to the count of 7.
  2. Repeat a statement to yourself that focuses you on what it takes to be a success at your sport. Repeat it several times. For example, a baseball player can say to himself, “relax, breath, track the ball, smooth swing.”
  3. Visualize your best performance ever and imagine yourself repeating that performance again, taking in everything you see, hear, feel, etc. from the original performance.
  4. Repeat your personal Identity Statement, which boosts your self-confidence. Remind yourself of your greatest athletic strength and project it into the future as if you are already an all star performer, for example.
  5. Repeat the Centering Breath.

This Mental Toughness routine can be learned by any athlete and it takes only a few minutes to repeat each day and before your competition. If you are consistent, this simple routine will lead you to the winner’s edge!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

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About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years.  Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada.  He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit and or call him in the U.S. at (949) 497-9880.

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