Mental Toughness In Sport: Michelle Steele's Story

1114 words - 5 pages

Based on the Article outlining Michelle Steele’s story of pushing through a challenging scenario, it is clear that this young athlete has a very strong will and great determination. She shows considerable mental toughness in the response to the Vancouver team selections, which as a young athlete was hard to comprehend. The Skeleton event is a very dangerous but is a thrilling event that gives the competitor an adrenaline rush. A group of characteristics have been associated with an athlete’s ability to show the optimal level mental toughness (Jones, 2007). Risk taking is divided into two subcategories; physical and psychological, both of which are vital in acquiring mental toughness for an event such as Skeleton racing. Current measures have been checked in a study to validate the use of questionnaires for determining the mental toughness of an athlete (Crust & Swann, 2011). The story of Michelle is an excellent example of a young athlete showing great mental toughness.

Physical and mental attributes of the athletes are vital in achieving the media hyped idea of being the mentally tougher competitor. The concept of “Mental Toughness” is tossed around without full awareness of what that term means. Mental toughness is one of the most used but least understood terms in applied sport psychology (Jones et al., 2002), Many athletes get asked to show toughness but don’t fully understand exactly what this means in terms of their performance. The study completed developed a ‘framework’ for mental toughness outlining four major components including: mindset, training, competition and post-competition (Jones, 2007). This is related to Michelle Steele and her story of development from a youngster climbing the ranks of the international stage only to be denied her goal. But she reassessed her mental stability and focus as well as her training methods. After a year off she came back to the sport claiming she found a new confidence that she had not experienced in the past.

Michelle Steele is a young athlete in comparison to most of her competitors; this gives her both positive and negative influences during performing her sport. The advantages are shown, as there is a significant positive correlation between mental toughness and risk-taking (Crust & Keegan, 2010). Considering the Skeleton event in the Winter Olympics is an extreme sport, the risks involved in the sport are even more extreme. Physical risks could pose catastrophic consequences but those who compete show the nerves of steel to throw themselves down an icy track at unbelievable speeds headfirst. The psychological side of this sport is having the mental toughness and confidence of a lion to consider doing something most would consider insanity. According to the study undertaken, the impact of risk taking is less significant within the athletes mind unless it is shown to alter the interpersonal confidence levels of the individual. Michelle’ s confidence levels took a major hit after the...

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