Recruiting 101: Five Qualities Of A Mentally Tough Athlete

Jill Hicks

One of the most important qualities college coaches are looking for is mental toughness. Yes, they want the skill level, but when you find a mentally tough athlete, you often feel like you hit the jackpot. An athlete that works hard every day and can compete like she practices is often a winning combination.  

My past college gymnasts who had the most success in the sport were the toughest mentally. They often were not the gymnasts with the most talent but instead had internal or mental qualities that enhanced their athletics to their highest level. Sometimes they even had a more quiet personality on the outside, but when it came time to compete they knew how to do what they were capable of or even more.    

5 Qualities Of A Mentally Tough Athlete

1. Persistence: The quality of always continuing to move forward. They enjoy the challenge.

2. Positivity: Making the best of a difficult situation. They do not dwell on things they cannot change. They focus on the “good.”

3. Humility: A humble person is one who is quietly confident in his or her mindset, yet is realistic in assessing his or her strengths and weaknesses.  

4. Vulnerability: This is a person who is not afraid of failing or sharing those failures with others. They are not afraid of trying new ideas. They recognize the need to change and evolve. They are willing to seek help.

5. Honesty: An honest person is one who sees themselves as they really are and is realistic when they need to change. They have an internal dialogue with themselves that is true, and they are not satisfied if they have not given 100 percent.