Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mental toughness: Why reaching the top in soccer is all in the mind, not the feet

Date:
June 19, 2014
Source:
University of Lincoln
Summary:
The mental edge that drives Premier League soccer players to succeed from a young age, including dealing with criticism, confronting challenges after repeated failures, and not being intimidated by others, has been outlined by researchers. "The report found that mentally tough players demonstrated a commitment to learning, had a strong level of trust with their coach, were more compliant with instructions and were always seeking ways to improve," researchers say.

Research has revealed the mental edge that drives Premier League soccer players to succeed from a young age, including dealing with criticism, confronting challenges after repeated failures, and not being intimidated by othersm.

Related Articles


As a youthful England soccer team prepares to take on Uruguay in World Cup 2014, research has uncovered the rare mental attributes needed for talented young players to rise to the top of the English Premier League pyramid.

Sports scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) interviewed academy coaches at an unnamed Premiership club to understand the psychological qualities which marked out talented individuals for greatness.

The researchers were interested in understanding how academy coaches identified and defined 'mental toughness' -- a quality found in elite athletes across many sporting disciplines, including swimming and athletics.

Youth players at an English Premier League soccer academy who would eventually go onto success showed mental toughness from an early age. This enabled them to deal with criticism, confront challenges after repeated failures, and not be intimidated by others.

The study also revealed that discipline off the field, such as sacrificing normal teenage life to ensure the chance of success, also contributed to future triumphs.

The researchers found the mentally toughest players were more independent, taking greater personal responsibility for their development. Academy recruits are subject to tough physical training drills, high expectations and sometimes harsh criticism, coaches said.

In contrast, young players who were high maintenance, requiring a lot of supervision, support, or relying on others to solve their problems were less likely to make it to the top of their profession.

Dr Lee Crust, a sport psychologist in the School of Sport & Exercise Science at the University of Lincoln, collaborated with LJMU on the research.

He said: "The study asks the question 'what makes you mentally strong enough to take the knocks and keep going, to lead the group?' We wanted to look at what might separate a player in the Premier League from another in the lower levels, how they are able to kick things up to a level of competitiveness which drives them to succeed.

"The report found that mentally tough players demonstrated a commitment to learning, had a strong level of trust with their coach, were more compliant with instructions and were always seeking ways to improve.

"These players were not afraid to make mistakes, and actually relished challenging situations; they were committed to learning how to cope with their own limitations by working on weaknesses whilst also playing to strengths.

"We found that coaches sought to foster independence and resourcefulness in the young players to enhance mental toughness, but that attention to the psychological development of young players was reported to be inadequately addressed in comparison with other aspects of performance such as technical skill or physical conditioning."

The research saw eight coaches and a director from an unnamed Premier League soccer academy interviewed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Clive Cook, Lee Crust, Martin Littlewood, Mark Nesti, Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson. ‘What it takes’: perceptions of mental toughness and its development in an English Premier League Soccer Academy. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2013.857708

Cite This Page:

University of Lincoln. "Mental toughness: Why reaching the top in soccer is all in the mind, not the feet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619095847.htm>.
University of Lincoln. (2014, June 19). Mental toughness: Why reaching the top in soccer is all in the mind, not the feet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619095847.htm
University of Lincoln. "Mental toughness: Why reaching the top in soccer is all in the mind, not the feet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619095847.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins