Skip to main content

4 Essential Skills of Mental Toughness Needed for Success


Mental toughness will not necessarily win you a championship, but not having mental toughness will lose it for you.

Let's dive into the 4 skills in the hierarchy of mental toughness, and why it's important to develop one skill in order to progress to another.


An athlete needs to find a "why." Why do I want to improve? Why do I want to succeed at volleyball? Without the proper internal motivation and "why", then long-term development and success just cannot sustain. Sometimes in the middle of a long season, a coach will observe that their athletes' motivation may start to subside, and it's important to lead them back to this first pillar in the hierarchy of mental toughness.


Confidence is not an all or nothing concept where an athlete has it or doesn't. It is a matter of "how much" confidence does an athlete have? It is an essential skill for athlete's to develop, grow and sustain confidence, but oftentimes this is the hardest skill to train. It is proven to be much easier to lose confidence than to gain it.


Focus is the mental skill that coaches work on most with athletes. Besides, every one of us is an athlete. Focus directly impacts confidence and it's not a matter of if we focus, it's what we focus on, and how we focus.


The most difficult mental skill is re-focus! Learning HOW to let go of mistakes and move on is not an easy feat. Ever come across a perfectionist athlete? Or maybe you are one? Perfectionist athletes oftentimes struggle with making mistakes and as a result, they don't go for it and they play it "safe."

Athletes can be taught to re-focus through specific cues, and these cues are best utilized when they are merged with one's specific learning style, auditory, visual, or kinesthetic.

Dr. Rob Bell will focus on the 4 skills in the mental toughness hierarchy in the next  Always Play On Mental Toughness series for Athletes, Parents and Coaches. Always Play On powered by the JVA is a weekly series featured in the JVA Dig It App that includes a mental training video from Dr. Rob Bell every Tuesday to foster a learning environment to develop positive sports habits and improve the mental game.

Sports in this article


Tags in this article

Sportsmanship Beginner