Defining and understanding mental toughness within soccer

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Despite the widespread use of the term “mental toughness” by performers, coaches and sport psychology consultant’s alike, it is only recently that researchers (e.g., Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002) have attempted to provide some conceptual clarity to reduce the confusion surrounding the understanding and operationalization of the concept. As reported by Jones et al. (2002), mental toughness has been construed to represent a variety of positive responses to situations which have included the ability to persist and refuse to give in (Gould, Hodge, Peterson, & Petlichkoff, 1987), overcome setbacks and poor performances (Goldberg, 1998), cope with excessive pressure (Goldberg, 1998) and to not let adverse situations affect performance (Gould et al., 1987). In reviewing the literature, Jones et al. (2002) suggested mentally tough performers to hold several key attributes, which enable them to experience positive psychological states. Examples of these include commitment and determination (Bull, Albinson, & Shambrook, 1996), motivation and control (Gould et al., 1987), excellent concentration and focusing abilities (Goldberg, 1998) and, confidence and self-belief (Goldberg, 1998).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-332
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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