Mental Toughness Myth or Reality?


You hear the term mental toughness used all the time. So and so is labeled mentally tough, what does that mean? What is mental toughness? Can you teach it? Can you learn it? I don’t believe in mental toughness, never have. I think mental toughness is a term without much meaning; it is a convenient label that is often used as an excuse.

I do believe in willpower, determination and perseverance. Athletes who are mentally strong achieve that because they work to strengthen their willpower muscles with consistent steady effort. They use failures as stepping-stones to success. They will take risks, but above they are consistent and steady in their approach. All the best athletes that I have been around have those qualities. I don’t believe you can teach mental toughness by doing mindless workouts that make the athletes tired. The willpower and determination that builds mental strength comes from consistent mindfull effort day in and day out, exercise-to-exercise, set-to-set throughout the workout each day. There are no magic workouts to develop this. It is a mindset; it is a willingness to put yourself in positions that test your concentration, your determination and your ability to execute in stressful situations. You are what you train to be, if you go through the motions and just do the work you are not building the mental strength necessary to excel in the competitive cauldron. Bring your mind to the workout, be fully engaged and build mental strength to parallel the physical strength, speed and endurance necessary to give yourself a chance to succeed.

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


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

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