Mental Toughness from Obama to Coughlin and the NY Giants Super Bowl Champs

Mental Toughness from Obama to Coughlin and the NY Giants Super Bowl Champs

Mental Toughness was in the news again today when Tom Coughlin (Super Bowl Champion Coach) at the NY Football Giants Victory Parade said he spoke with President Obama, who praised the team for its mental toughness and its resiliency and said “to remember that all things are possible for those who believe.

Depending on how you want to look at it (from actual research) there are 3, 7 or 12 markers that describe mental toughness. Most people when they talk about Mental Toughness are referring to just a few behavioral examples. Mental Toughness begins with “PPR”- Perseverance- Persistence -Resilience

  • Perseverance: A sticking to a purpose or an aim; never giving up what one has set out to do.
  • Persistence: Not giving up, especially in the face of dislike, disapproval, or difficulties.
  • Resilience: Power of recovering quickly.

The other behavioral aspects are very important because people tend to focus on just a few of them.

Here is a list developed by a researcher under the supervision of an old friend of mine. He surveyed all the research on mental toughness and then surveyed athletes and coaches regarding their perceptions. This is much different than looking at a micro sample or voicing an opinion on what mental toughness really is.

  • Unshakable self-belief in your ability to achieve your competition goals.
  • Unshakable self-belief that you possess unique qualities and abilities that make you better than your opponents.
  • Insatiable desire and internalized motives to succeed.
  • Bouncing back from performance set-backs as a result of increased determination to succeed.
  • Thriving on the pressure of competition.
  • Accepting that competition anxiety is inevitable and knowing that you can cope with it.
  • Not being adversely affected by others’ good and bad performances.
  • Remaining fully-focused in the face of personal life distractions.
  •  Switching a sport focus on and off as required.
  •  Remaining fully focused on the task at hand in the face of competition-specific distractions.
  • Pushing back the boundaries of physical and emotional pain, while still maintaining technique and effort under distress (in training and competition).
  •  Regaining psychological control following unexpected, uncontrollable events (competition specific).

It is important to look at all of these. Many people possess the ability to have some of these as a strength, while at the same time having a few as a weakness. A good coach or sport psychology consultant can help athletes understand strengths and weakness and develop plans to effectively become mentally tougher.  Neglecting what the research indicates to make understanding mental toughness easier, does not necessarily help athletes.

I’ll talk about identifying ways of understanding an athlete’s Emotional Intelligence in Sports in the next few days.


This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar  Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; TheMental-Game.com Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author


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