Mental toughness in sports has been defined only by the great players that have demonstrated it. Toughness cannot always be measured by a number or value point, but rather by emotion, will, and execution. We have interviewed top soccer and volleyball club professionals on their insights into what mental toughness is to them, how they see it in their players, and how they instill it in their coaching styles. We put a small snippet of their response as well as a video of their interview below.
Ashley Kaufman: Ashley Kaufman is the Assistant Goalkeeper Director for International (Inter) Connecticut FC, located in Norwalk, CT - located in Southern Connecticut.
Joe McNab: Joe McNab is the Asst. Director of Coach at Chicago Fire Juniors - City, located in downtown Chicago. In addition to this role, Joe also is an assistant coach at North Park University, a division 3 school on the northside of Chicago.
Megan Baska: Megan is the Director of Team Performance and Recruitment for the MAVS Volleyball Club in Kansas City.
Jeff Oleck: Jeff is the Associate Director of Goalkeeping for the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club (CRYSC).
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Ashley Kaufman: Ashley discusses the importance of mental toughness and confidence, especially on the girls side. She explained how she helps her teams grow by putting them in pressure scenarios during training sessions in addition to off-field team building. **Video Below
Joe McNab: We discuss the importance of growing through adversity at a young player. Joe discusses his coaching style and how patience through failure will ultimately help a player technically, tactically, and mentally. **Video Below
Megan Baska: Megan talks about how she uses the positive coaching method with mental toughness. She also explains how asking questions and having them ‘self-discover’ their failures so they are able to develop on their own. **Video Below
Jeff Oleck: We discuss the importance and pressure of the goalkeeper position. Jeff’s philosophy on coaching his players to persevere through the toughest times. He gives some examples of how his club creates clarity through chaos during training sessions so they experience game-like stress. Jeff also mentions how it is important to coach to the positive, and not always focus on things that go wrong so players can build off their little victories. **Video Below
As we can see from the coaches, mental toughness comes in all shapes, sizes, and responses they see on and off the field/court. Mental toughness is a term used in sports to describe a player that has the focus, determination, and willingness to focus on the mental side of sports and these coaches realize directly how important that is for success.
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