An Exploratory Case Study of Mental Toughness Variability and Potential Influencers over 30 Days
2.1. Exploratory Case Study Design
2.2. The Case
2.3. Procedure (During 30 Days)
Mental Toughness Index (MTI)
2.4. Procedure (Post 30 Days)
2.4.1. Group One Interviews
2.4.2. Group Two Questionnaires
2.5. Data Analysis
“External things—this was December, so I was thinking about races I have coming up in April, and all the planning is going on in December and thinking through that. I think it was wearing on me a little bit and probably some family stress coming into the holidays. Just what are we getting the kids and family stuff. Nothing revolutionary or ground-breaking or heart-breaking but just a different level of heightened anxiety through that month”.
“If I am not adequately fueled—and that includes hydration—then I just can’t suffer. I know going into that workout that is an issue, and that is a tough one to overcome. There are certain things you can sometimes put behind you, but those are areas—my sleep and nutrition that are tough to overcome. If I am significantly dehydrated or significantly under-rested, I do not care. It is so much harder to push through that pain level. And in turn, going into it, it is harder to focus because it is always in the back of your head”.
“When I was in college, there was that type of stress. When I was married to my ex-wife, there was that stress. I am married now, and there’s mostly less stress. But yeah—we only have so much mental energy. If I go in at a much happier, stress-free baseline, then I think there’s more to tap into. I think that reservoir is far deeper than if you’re sort of running on an emotional drought. Then all of a sudden you just need something (and) then it is just not there”.
“The other thing that was a limiter or caused me some issues is I just didn’t have that specific race or specific goal. I did not have something six weeks out of ‘this is what I am going to do. So, it was trying to maintain motivation when I did not have that set goal other than to be in shape”.
“If my heart is in a goal that I have set for myself, then I can be very mentally tough. There have been times that I do not have a goal set in front of me or one that my heart is not in, and I find that my mental toughness decreases”.
“By simply thinking about being “mentally tougher,” I think I was tougher during the hard efforts when I needed to be… Recording/reporting or at very least mentally checking in with myself before each harder effort day will be something I use to focus my efforts”.(GR—questionnaire)
“In training, I try to put myself in a tough position, specifically to create the opportunity to push through it. This gives me mental toughness for the actual event. I may not gain the desired result in training, but I can reflect to know what alteration needs to be made to achieve the success I want”.(NO—questionnaire)
“One of the big limiting factors is the thought ‘oh man—I do not know if I want to hurt that bad.’ It is eliminating those kinds of negative thoughts. Those thoughts defeat the purpose. Pain is part of the game, and sometimes I know I allow that to limit how far I push it. So, the approach that I would take would be just kind of saying ‘Hey—this is just fine.’ It is better than being in the dirt. Push as hard as you can because the pain makes you more alive”.
“I think on the days where the voice is louder, and it is harder to silence, it is because there are so many other things going on in my life. You are more worn down whether it is physically worn down or mentally worn down going into a workout or a race. It gets harder and harder just to quiet the voice (saying) ‘I am going to push myself really hard.’ Because the brain is also going ‘well yeah—but you are also dealing with this and this and this and this and this.’ It is very easy when you’re just dealing with only the race, but when other things are going on around you, it is harder to quiet that voice that’s telling you to slow down”.
“During my breast cancer thing, I had the phrase ‘Be brave. Be strong. Be badass.’ And it stuck with me, and when things get really hard in a race, I am just repeating that mantra again and again until things settle back in”.
“If I am not sure, I can make it… then I will tell myself ‘go another 15 s.’ So rather than just saying ‘ok—it is over,’ I will say ‘no—just 15 s, and then I will reassess.’ And normally I can say ‘well that was not that bad… give me another 15…’ Once I get down to a minute then I start telling myself ‘I can do anything for a minute.’ So, what feels like forever—2:45—if I can chop it down and talk myself into just doing little sections and then get myself down to a minute”.
“If I am doing a tempo and I start at 6:20’s (pace/mile) and (plan to) go down to 5:30’s, but I cannot even get to 5:50, that starts to play in the mental game. ‘Oh, I should be running 20 s faster, but I cannot do that.’ So that is where the mental thing came in, and if it is not working for me, then I am throwing in the towel”.
“Remember that feeling you had afterward—there’s no greater feeling than that. I think that is why we keep going back and keep pushing. We crave that kind of feeling. If I can hone in on that feeling before I go out the door for that workout—(knowing) I am going to feel so much better afterward. I think that is what helped pull me into mentally a good place to be able to get out the door and do it on the days when it is not ideal”.
4.1. Application for Practitioners
4.3. Future Directions
Conflicts of Interest
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|Pseudonym||Ranking Score||Age (years)||Gender (M/F)|
|RM Factor 1||Mean||SE||95% Confidence Interval|
|Participant||Sleep Quantity||Sleep Quality||Stress||Significant Other|
|(In Hours)||(1–10 Scale)||(1–5 Scale)||(1–5 Scale)|
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Cooper, K.B.; Wilson, M.; Jones, M.I. An Exploratory Case Study of Mental Toughness Variability and Potential Influencers over 30 Days. Sports 2019, 7, 156. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070156
Cooper KB, Wilson M, Jones MI. An Exploratory Case Study of Mental Toughness Variability and Potential Influencers over 30 Days. Sports. 2019; 7(7):156. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070156Chicago/Turabian Style
Cooper, Ken Bradford, Mark Wilson, and Martin Ian Jones. 2019. "An Exploratory Case Study of Mental Toughness Variability and Potential Influencers over 30 Days" Sports 7, no. 7: 156. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070156