An Analysis of the Size and Direction of the Association between Mental Toughness and Olympic Distance Personal Best Triathlon Times
Journal of Sport and Health Science
© 2017 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Shanghai University of Sport. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Athletes, coaches, sport psychology practitioners, and researchers suggest that mental toughness represents an important construct that is associated with athletic performance. Unfortunately, the absence of real-world performance as a dependent variable has limited our ability to substantiate this claim. The concern of a lack of ecologically valid measures of sports performance might be addressed by examining the relationship between mental toughness and sports performance using a standardized measure of personal best (PB) triathlon time and a validated unidimensional measure of mental toughness. Methods Three hundred and sixteen triathletes completed the 8-item mental toughness index (MTI), reported their age, and provided a PB Olympic distance triathlon time and the total number of triathlons they had completed to date. Given that males are typically quicker than females, a standardized time was calculated by dividing the PB by the current Olympic record for gender; we also hypothesized that more experienced triathletes would report quicker PBtimes because of greater frequency and duration of training. Once we had controlled for gender and experience, we predicted that mental toughness would be negatively associated with triathlon time and the size of the relationship would be of a moderate magnitude. Results Results revealed small to moderate sized negative relationships between both completed number of triathlons and mental toughness with standardized PB time. Conclusion The hierarchical regression analysis showed that mental toughness provided a unique contribution to the variability in standardized Olympic triathlon PB after controlling for the total number of triathlons completed.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is freely available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Available online 12 May 2017