A strengths-based approach to coaching mental toughness

Sandy Gordon, Daniel F. Gucciardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Developing mental toughness has become a major focus for athletes, coaches, sport teams and organizations. Emerging research has supported a variety of influences (e.g., coaches, parents, self) and mechanisms (e.g., reflecting on our experiences, coach motivational climate) by which mental toughness development likely occurs. In this article we focus on a strengths-based approach to mental toughness development, which has received scant attention within the sport psychology literature. A brief history of strengths approaches to the development of human potential is presented and contrasted with assumptions of traditional psychological skills training. We then describe how a strengths-based approach was translated into practice using an example from professional cricket. The guidelines have been shown to be effective in elite sport settings, but we believe they may also prove effective in youth sport settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-155
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sport Psychology in Action
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Applied positive psychology
  • Strengths-based coaching


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