We just finished our final workout of the trip – a 30-minute conditioner in the hotel pool. At the conclusion of the workout we had a contest to see who could hold their breath the longest. We started immediately following some squat jumps and then tried again and again and again. As we got further from the squat jumps, each athlete was able to hold their breath longer and longer. We talked about controlling our breathing in a wrestling match and slowing our heart rate in order to stay focused and in control. It was an exercise on mental toughness. The pool was a great place to drive that point home. On the long bus ride home, we’ll watch a video with David Blaine (magician) explaining how he held his breath for over 17 minutes.
Mental toughness is the ability to stay focused on the task at hand no matter what occurs. It’s not physical toughness or emotional toughness. The 10-year old on the playground who falls off the monkey bars and breaks his arm and doesn’t cry is not demonstrating mental toughness. He might be physically tough. Both are important, however, mental toughness is something we can develop and leads to sustainable success, consistency and discipline.
Terry touched on this at the end of practice yesterday, too. He used the illustration of understanding the one thing we all have in common is time. How we use it is up to each individual. Being mentally strong will lead to getting the most out of the time we do have. It was a good lesson for our student-athletes.
This trip was time well spent and I’m confident that everyone in our group will look at the time they’re given and be a little more intentional about using it well.