by Dr. Robert Troutwine
Mental Toughness is one of the hottest buzzwords in sports today. In fact, it is the Holy Grail, even in business, military and some government agencies. “Mental Toughness” is repeated often but shows up in different ways in athletic competition. The 2015 World Series, so far at least, is a great example.
Some coaches view mental toughness as perseverance. Perseverance was on display by both the Royals and Mets in the 14 inning Game One, the record for the longest World Series game. This would not have happened had Alex Gordon not homered in the bottom of the 9th when things looked hopeless for the Royals. Mental toughness in this case was coming through in the clutch.
In Game 2, Royals starter Johnny Cueto was coasting along until the 4th inning when he became very frustrated with the strike zone, as if the ump had taken away the corners of the strike zone. His frustration was visible as he walked towards 2nd shaking his head. But he pulled himself together and ended up throwing a two-hitter in a complete game performance. In this case, mental toughness is when the horse bucks you off, you get up and ride again. Cueto demonstrated the resilience to block out all other issues in the game and focus on the next pitch, again and again.
Game 2 also provided another facet of mental toughness: relentlessness. The Royals came hard at the Mets and never let up. Usually baseball is a game of one-on-one match-ups where you react to the opponent. The Royals turned the tables on this convention, going hard at the pitcher and never letting up. Earlier in the season Eric Hosmer, expressing this brand of mental toughness, said, “Aggressive play. That’s our motto.”
There are many aspects and examples of Mental Toughness. More of these will be on display as the World Series resumes for Game 3.
Dr. Robert Troutwine is a sports psychologist who is known for his work helping high-profile professional sports teams evaluate and develop athletic talent. Dr. Troutwine is a Co-Founder of The Right Profile, and the company’s TAP360 System is used by teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA and numerous college and amateur athletic programs to evaluate and develop athletes. He has worked with over 20,000 elite athletes. For more information, visit therightprofile.com or athletetypes.com. Dr. Troutwine can be reached at email@example.com or (773) 977-8272.