Category: Psychology

(R)Evolutionary Endurance

Mental Toughness Provides the Athlete With Both a Natural and a Developed Edge

But do we really understand what mental toughness is? A better understanding of the psychological factors that elevate sporting performance will lead to improved evidence-based, practical, psychological intervention for athletes. During competition, an athletes’ behavioural responses rely on various psychological factors, including mental toughness, and its role is pivotal in supporting adaptive responses to pressure.…
Read more

There is No Magic 10,000 Hours Rule

The popular account of deliberate practice is wrong No one, no matter how gifted, is born an expert in chess, or with the ability to play the violin. And no one, no matter how much they practice, can be an expert in everything. It is widely accepted that the path to becoming an expert is a long…
Read more

You Don’t Have to Be Mentally Tough to Be an Ultra-Marathoner, but It Does Help

Or, why we all have the psychology to run very long distances It all started with a very long run…. The Mourne Mountains sit between Belfast and Dublin, nestled beside the Irish sea. They are a wild, and beautiful range, with hidden loughs, nearby forests, and trails throughout. It is a dream for any mountain trail…
Read more

Adventurers and athletes have always pushed the limits, but how do we adapt and what does it mean?

Sport and adventure in the extremes requires an optimised psychology “I can’t do another 15/16 hours.” I think having a little cry probably helped. I got back out of the van more focused, determined and positive.” – Nicky Spinks Adventurers and athletes have always pushed the limits, but how do we adapt and what does it…
Read more

Own the Challenge, Own Your Performance

Tools used in high-performance sports that deliver success in life Much of our life is found in challenging environments. All of us will find, at times, that we are losing control, or perspective, whether in work, education, or even relationships. There are however some key mental strategies, underpinned by hard science, that can be implemented to…
Read more

Can our personality impact sporting success?

Personality is a collection of psychological qualities that contribute to an individual’s lasting way of behaving, thinking, and feeling, and according to research, impacts the behaviour of competitive athletes. An improved understanding of personality traits may assist athletes to achieve their optimum performance. Breaking down personality Analysis of human language has identifed five basic personality…
Read more

Can physical training impact our mental toughness?

We are all aware of the importance of mental toughness, or resilience, in coping with stressors in sport and driving optimum physical performance. But, what if it also works the other way round – can physiological factors drive our mental state, and can we use this to our benefit? Research suggests that physiological stressors can…
Read more

What is the ‘Self-Determination Theory’?

Self Determination Theory The Self-determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of human motivation based on our inherent tendency towards growth and is rooted in the knowledge that we are evolved, complex organisms. Check out the earlier post on motivation for some background. Humans have evolved to be curious and social beings, driven to realise our…
Read more

Theories of motivation – what’s the background?

So, what is motivation? Motivation impacts an individual’s capacity to focus, and sustains, directs and channels human behaviour over an extended period of time. Indeed, a strong drive to achieve excellence is required to begin, and maintain training, and participate in ultra-marathon events. Ultra-marathoners frequently have full-time jobs and families. Increased motivation is likely to…
Read more

Critical Appraisal of Mental Toughness

Previous To summarise To summarise the last few posts, there are numerous, and varied, definitions of mental toughness, with many psychological attributes being linked or correlated to success, including the ability to handle pressure and adversity, resolve to overcome failures, or possession of superior mental skills for use during performance. Early definitions of mental toughness…
Read more