Many in the game will tell you that mental toughness is a determining factor that that can separate the average from the good and the good from the great.
I was recently contacted by a coach of a 12U baseball team who wanted to know what he could do to increase mental toughness among the players on his team. The following response was prepared after consulting with specialists involved in sports psychology at the university level, MLB level and those in private practice.
Mental toughness is something that every coach and scout is looking for, every parent is proud of and every player could use more of. While there is no consensus among sports psychologists as to exactly what it is and how to develop or improve it, coaches, teammates and parents know it when they see it. It’s Bob Gibson and Randy Johnson staring down a hitter, Nolan Ryan showing Robin Ventura why you don’t mess with Texas. It’s Pete Rose sliding head first into third base and sacrificing his body by crashing into Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game.