The nature of mental toughness in sport

  • S. Fourie
  • J.R. Potgieter


This study investigated the components of mental toughness as reported by 131 expert coaches and 160 elite athletes from 31 sport codes. The written statements of coaches and athletes were analysed by means of an inductive content analysis. This resulted in the identification of 12 components of mental toughness. These are: motivation level, coping skills, confidence maintenance, cognitive skill, discipline and goal-directedness, competitiveness, possession of prerequisite physical and mental requirements, team unity, preparation skills, psychological hardiness, religious convictions and ethics. The coaches regarded concentration as the most important characteristic, while the athletes regarded perseverance as most important. The coaches rated the effectiveness of coaches and sport psychologists in strengthening the characteristics of mental toughness more highly than athletes did.

(S. African J. for Research in Sport, Physical Ed. and Recreation: 2001 23 (2): 63-72)

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069