Mental Toughness In Athletes

There are days when every athlete has to deal with events that weren’t expected. Among those athletes some will deal with the unexpected better than others. It is the ability to cope then excel with unforeseen events and thrive that can make a difference in performance.

Archery is not a sport where physical toughness is a major component. Granted, archery practice where hundreds of arrows are fired a day is tough. A significant element to such an endeavor is remaining mentally focused to ensure all shots are equally good having a proper advancement for a specific skill level.

Aside from any development outside of a planned practice the mental fatigue of archery is demanding. Adding any sort of adverse event that alters the conditions of the practice or competition could diminish the quality of the performance.

Nicholls, a British scientist, and his team of investigators took aim to discover what mental and psychological toughness among athletes means. They evaluated 1031 athletes for mental toughness, resilience, emotional intelligence, sport motivation, and self-efficacy.(1)

What they learned is that be the presence of constructs such as resilience, emotional intelligence, motivation, and/or self-efficacy enable mentally tough individuals to excel under stressful circumstances rather than just cope.

Something to consider the next time you find yourself in a tight spot in the line or at the stake is whether you’ll cope or excel. By making efforts to increase the intensity or stress during practice learning conditions you may acquire the ability to not simply cope but to excel.


  1. Nicholls AR1, Perry JL, Jones L, Sanctuary C, Carson F, Clough PJ. The mediating role of mental toughness in sport.J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2015 Jul-Aug;55(7-8):824-34.