A Framework of Mental Toughness in the World’s Best Performers

in The Sport Psychologist

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Graham JonesLane 4 Management Group

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Sheldon HantonUniversity of Wales Institute, Cardiff

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Declan ConnaughtonUniversity of Wales Institute, Cardiff

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The authors conducted an investigation of mental toughness in a sample population of athletes who have achieved ultimate sporting success. Eight Olympic or world champions, 3 coaches, and 4 sport psychologists agreed to participate. Qualitative methods addressed 3 fundamental issues: the definition of mental toughness, the identification of its essential attributes, and the development of a framework of mental toughness. Results verified the authors’ earlier definition of mental toughness and identified 30 attributes that were essential to being mentally tough. These attributes clustered under 4 separate dimensions (attitude/mindset, training, competition, postcompetition) within an overall framework of mental toughness. Practical implications and future avenues of research involving the development of mental toughness and measurement issues are discussed.

Jones is with Lane 4 Management Group, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, UK. Hanton and Connaughton are with the Cardiff School of Sport, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Cyncoed, Cardiff CF23 6XD UK.

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