SPUSA 20 years
Mental Toughness

Developing Mental Toughness For Student Athletes: The 4 C’s  You Need To Master 

Gaining mental toughness is the key to thriving as a student-athlete!

Here’s How:


According to financial guru Robert Kiyosaki, “Confidence comes from discipline and training.” Having confidence means believing in yourself. It’s knowing deep down that you will reach your goals. True confidence also means not giving up when things become challenging or don’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. Being confident means having solid social skills, being able to speak in public with poise and communicating well with others.


Challenge is something that many people are afraid of or try to avoid at all costs. Yet a mentally tough person welcomes a challenge. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The idea here is that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Whether the outcome is good or bad, challenges often teach us a lesson. Mentally tough people thrive on challenges and see them as an opportunity to learn and grow.


Don’t waste your time complaining about what you can’t control. This is largely a mindset issue, which is intertwined with confidence. Mentally tough people believe they have control over their life, their attitude and their life’s outcomes. Despite curveballs and missteps, they persevere until they reach their goals.


Tough people are committed to achieving the outcomes they desire. Commitment, or “stickability,” means setting up specific goals and doing whatever it takes to achieve them, despite setbacks, critics and occasional failures. Failure doesn’t define who you are. Failing only means that you need to improve certain skills. If you are committed to overcoming this temporary situation, success is around the corner.

Keep Doing The Work

Mental toughness has been studied extensively in athletes. Clough’s work is different because it considers other professions, showing that mental toughness is an important leadership quality.

However, leaders are not born with this trait. It’s a characteristic developed over time. If you work on improving each of the four C’s in your life, one at a time, you will progressively become a compassionate yet tough professional.

DOWNLOAD a free chapter


An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates