I was introduced to the concept of Toughness Training when I was studying music, specifically performance, in college. One of my professors was a huge sports fan and despite his admittedly nerdy love of opera, he would often compare training for sport to training for music. This is where I had my first real understanding of the implications of perfecting muscle memory.
In opera and classical performance, the slightest deviation from the intended shape, intensity, and emotion of a given syllable or note would derail the entire piece and in turn, the performer. As one can imagine, this tedious attention to detail was accompanied by inevitable failures. As explained by my professor via sports psychology, these failures were not unlike the setbacks seen by even the most adept athletes. Coming from a competitive sports background I could appreciate the valid parallels between on stage performance and on field performance.
The question then becomes "How do we equip competitors with the mental tools to succeed?"
In analyzing the talents, skills, and abilities of some of the top athletes there is ubiquitous factor that separates the good from the great. How and why do the best athletes maintain their mental toughness even after making mistakes? We can physically practice to create the best movement patters, athletic defaults, and agile bodies, but the beauty of sport is that the opposition presents variables to test those limitations. What are we left with when perfect movement fails us?
In this article we'll discuss the components of mental toughness as well as how to create and maintain it's power while under the stress of competition.
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