You want to be a legit tough guy?
“A legitimate tough guy is a fierce competitor, an athlete who looks at pressure as a challenge, who refuses to lose, and never, ever quits” (Mack, 2001). Nothing should stand in between you and success but your will to win.
Like physical skills mental toughness can be learned. Just as most things in life, it’s through quality instruction and practice.
These are 7 characteristics that define mental toughness:
1) Competitive – A competitor will find a way to win; competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves even harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up.
Believe me, you will never regret failure, but you will regret not trying. Micheal Jordan is a perfect example for this; he is the only professional athlete who tried another sport. He simply refused “not trying”, even though the result was kind of a failure.
A bit of history, Jordan tried his hand with baseball in 1993-1994 and the result wasn’t pretty. But it was something he had to do. Then he came back with a fresh perspective on his basketball career and took the Bulls for a second three-peat
2) Confident - “Every time I play, in my own mind I’m the favourite” (Tiger Woods). Jordan said he went into every game believing he was the best player on the court until someone proved otherwise; clearly no one did. They say when you practice, train as if you are in second place and play as if you are the best!
3) Control - The hallmark of mentally tough athletes is the ability to maintain poise, concentration, and emotional control under pressure.
When the clock is ticking down, a player like Kobe is composed and doesn’t get carried away by emotions. He is focused on the target and the win, not the pressure.
4) Committed - The difference between you and the person better than you is commitment.
Mentally tough athletes focus their time and energy on their goals and dreams. They are go-getters! Are you?
5) Composure- How do you react when someone sets that illegal screen on you? Or plays dirty?
Childs v. Bryant
Are you ready to throw that punch?
If you retaliate, most likely you will be the one thrown out of the game, and the other player is laughing at you. Keep your cool when the heat is on!
6) Courage - Are you satisfied with where you are?
Greater the risk, the higher the potential reward. Keep in mind, it takes courage to grow up and to achieve your full potential.
7) Consistency – Mentally tough players possess an inner strength. They have the ability to consistently play the same way regardless of how they are feeling.
Hakeem Olajuwon played when he was fasting, and still put up some of his best numbers.
Hakeen “The Dream” Olajuwon
“At the beginning of my career, when my teammates heard I was fasting during the season they thought it would affect my game and were concerned,” explains the 12-time All-Star. “But when they saw that it actually made me better, there was a lot of admiration and intrigue: ‘How can you play at this level without drinking water, they would ask.”
Olajuwon was the NBA player of the month for the month of February in 1995 when he was observing Ramadan. He is the “only player in NBA history to be named MVP, Defensive MVP, and Finals MVP in the same season, two NBA titles, Olympic Gold Medalist, multiple All-Star and All-NBA seasons (regular and defensive), most blocked shots ever, and so many others”.
We really don’t have an excuse now…
What do you think; you have what it takes to be mentally tough?