Mentally Tough or Mindful

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For some reason lately I have been hearing a lot about mental toughness. Several times I have heard people say that the workout develops mental toughness. Frankly I am not sure what mental toughness is. It is certainly easy to talk about, but is it really something you need to emphasize? Maybe this is a reaction to my own undistinguished football career because I was labeled as not being “mentally tough.” Even back then I questioned it. The players who were supposed to be mentally tough were the same ones who missed assignments, dropped passes and could not seem to get it done under pressure, but they were always screaming and hollering. I guess I wonder why this concept persists. I know that any athlete who perseveres through our training programs is physically prepared. They will also be mentally prepared because that is an emphasis. I emphasize being mindful. I want them fully engaged and committed to the training, the practice or the game. You derive mental strength from physical preparation. Excelling in sport and in life is about handling pressure, learning from your mistakes, being willing to take risks and deal with the consequences. Mental toughness is a myth, a sports writers cliché. I want the athlete who is consistent and shows up every day ready to “win the workout.”

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta

@coachgambetta

Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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