Mental toughness and coping skills in male sprinters

Tanielle S. Beckford, Melanie Poudevigne, Rachael Irving, Kerith Golden

Abstract

The predictive quality of psychological skills in relation to sports and more specifically track and field athletes continues to be explored. Purpose: To profile psychological adaptations in Jamaican male sprinters and to assess the differences between elite and sub-elite athletes. Medthods: A cross-sectional study of (N = 30) male participants (Mage = 17.2, SD = .20) who were grouped based on previous athletic achievement into the elite group (n = 15) and sub-elite group (n = 15). Following a simulated competitive run; the athletes completed the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 and the Mental Toughness Questionnaire-48. Results: The elite athletes exhibited greater mental toughness than the sub-elite group (p = .05) and coping skills were a significant predictor of mental toughness (p < .01). Conclusion: Assessment of psychological skills may distinguish elite from sub-elite athletes.

Keywords

Elite athletes; Psychological skills; Sprinters; Early development; Coping; Mental toughness; Challenge

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2016.113.01