The 7 Components that have to be developed to Build Mental Strength that Sports Champions are trained for to Achieve Fame And Success



What is Mental Strength? What do people mean when they say someone is Mentally Tough?

Many Blogs & Articles have been written on the subject and all the authors strive to educate the public how Mental Toughness or Mental Fitness is a quality that everybody should have.

But the fact is that Mental Toughness or Mental Strength is not a single quality but a culmination of many Mental Skills which when put together and practiced diligently in a disciplined manner leads to a person becoming Mentally Strong.

And what are the Psychological Skills which Great Sportspersons have used to achieve the heights in their respective fields?

There are 7 Specific Traits that all champions have developed along the journey of their life. Some of these qualities were inborn in them, but many were cultivated or learned over a period of time.

I have compiled the essential features of Mental Fitness and put it together in the form of an acronym called “MOREFIZ”, where each letter stands for one aspect of Mental Toughness.

Combined together you can unleash your Mind Power (Fizz), which can give you success in whichever field you are in.

You will also learn how you can develop them in a simple manner by spending just half an hour every day.


motivation to build mental strength
The First Step is Always The Most Difficult One

No heroic deed has ever been accomplished without a person first having the motivation to take it up first.

Motivation is defined as an insatiable (unquenchable) desire to Be the Best You Can Be. It is a Strong Intention in your mind to achieve an objective.

It is also the Road (Path) you have decided to travel on and is sometimes expressed in the Mission Statement.

It is not found outside of you. It Lies Within.

Motivation is like an Inner Calling giving Meaning and Purpose to Your Life. Sometimes it stems from your Ego or at the least from your Self-Esteem.

Wanting to express your Self-Worth and Image to the rest of the world is the most common trigger for Motivation. In other words, it is your Self-Pride that drives Motivation.

The most important aspect of motivation is to Set Goals. Achieving Goals are very important but the first step in that direction is to Set Goals in a Systematic and Methodical Manner.

One of the best ways of creating goals is to use the “SMARTER” Goal-Setting Method.

This is an acronym which is expanded below:

S => Specific

M => Measurable

A => Achievable

R => Relevant

T => Time-bound

E => Evaluate

R => Reframe

Setting Goals in this manner gives a clear picture of what exactly you want to achieve and increases your Motivation to go after it.


optimism to build mental strength
Your Success In Life Depends Upon Your Attitude

One of the Key Aspects for Happiness and Success in Life is to Be Optimistic whatever the situation one finds oneself in.

Optimism is defined as “The Belief a Person has in their capability to perform a task”.

This is of course a Subjective Judgement of the person, whether they can meet the demands placed on them.

The feeling of Optimism depends largely on the Accomplishments and Experiences that the person has had in the past.

But it can also be brought about by Verbal Persuasion from Parents, Teachers, Friends, Mentors or Peers.

Sports Psychologists have for a long time now used Interventions to Increase Self-Efficacy (belief in a person that they have the ability to control their emotions and behaviour) for better performance.

Optimism is also dependent to a large extent on the Physiological State of the person at that moment in time.

Optimism is a natural consequence when one has characteristics like Self-belief, Determination and Humility. This helps them to keep a Low Profile and create a High Impact.

The First Step to increase your Optimism is to “ALWAYS THINK OF WHAT YOU WANT” and never of “What You Don’t Want”.

Always Respond To a Situation; Never React Without Conscious Awareness.

Inculcate Optimism into your lifestyle. Let it become a part of you. This does not mean that you become dreamy and unrealistic.

Being an Optimistic Realist or a Realistic Optimist, is one of the Secrets of Success among sporting greats.


resilience to build mental strength
Whatever The Situation Around You, You Can Overcome It With Your Will Power

Have you noticed that the outstanding characteristic of any great sportsperson is their Ability to Bounce Back after Failures, Injuries or Bad Form?

This is exactly what the quality of Resilience is and this attribute is inherent in some persons, but can be built up among everybody through dedicated and sustained training.

The essence of it can be described as the “Process Put into Place after Severe Adversity“, which includes Injury, Failure, Trauma and Bad Form.

It is a Positive Adaptation to the Adversity using effective Coping Skills.

Being Optimistic, having a Sturdy Temperament and   Being Persistent despite Continuous Pressure, are other facets of Resilience.

Sports Psychologists use many types of Interventions to build up Resilience and the prerequisites for it are given below:

=> Developing a Strong Social Support Network and ensuring to Care For and Communicate Well with all of them

=> Never see a situation as Negative or as a Failure; Learn to get Feedback from every setback and consider it as a Lesson Learnt

=> Be aware of any Negative Self-Talk as soon as it appears

=> Don’t always take the Easy Option during training and practice

=> Build up the qualities of Faith, Patience and Will-power

=> Think and Believe that Everything will be Alright

=> Visualize the End Result with your Preferred Outcome


excellence to build mental strength
Be The Best You Can Be With Whatever Resources You Have

Whenever people see great feats in sports, they are always struck by the feeling about how perfect it was.

But Perfection is Impossible. Because life is always evolving and performances of all kinds are also undergoing constant change.

Perfection is subjective; i.e. what one feels is perfect, may not seem the same to another.

What Champions do is Aim for Perfection but Settle for Excellence; They strive to Be the Best They Can Be under the existing circumstances.

Excellence is a trait where the person Sets High Standards for himself as well as for others.

They experience Few Doubts about Their Abilities and are Not Bothered about the Comments of others.

They are Organized and Prepared for any eventuality and have more than one plan in place to tackle all the obstacles they may face.

They are Not Overly Concerned when they make mistakes, but learn from it and come back better prepared with more practice.

Great Champions practice creating “Their Zone”, which is an area of “Total Flow” in their activity; This is the time when they are in Total Rhythm and Harmony.

To develop Excellence a person must meticulously follow some time tested techniques which have given exceptional results:

=> Learn to Funnel Your Thoughts & Actions in such a way that only the most important ones are at the top of your mind

=> Set Standards and Conditions for Peak Performance

=> Build Up Routines for every Area of Activity in Your Life

=> Ensure that you Have a Checklist for every small sub-part of the Routine

=> Maintain a Steady Flow of Positive Thoughts

=> Visualize Yourself Doing Well and Succeeding

=> Spend Time Quietly by Yourself and do some Introspection before and after every activity

=> Learn to Do Relaxation and Imagery Exercises

5.   FOCUS

focus to build mental strength
Paying Selective Attention With Intention Gives You Temendous Results

What sets apart a high achiever in any occupation or sport is the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, especially during key moments.

 Paying Attention is the greatest attribute every person should cultivate from a very young age. This is the key factor that enables a person to develop focus for a particular action.

Paying Attention to the Right Things at the Right Time leads to the Right Focus and this involves attending to selective cues, thoughts or behaviour.

Focus requires that everything else is disregarded at that particular moment.

When Focus is raised to a very High Intensity we call it Concentration. But it is not possible for the human brain to concentrate (focus intensely) for long periods of time.

So sportspersons develop the habit of Selective Concentration and practice the Switch-On / Switch-Off Method to vary the intensity of their focus over long time spans.

Focus is a Skill that can be learned with adequate and relevant training.

Focus can be divided into 4 Types:

=> Broad – External

=> Broad – Internal

=> Narrow – External

=> Narrow – Internal

Although the 4 Types of Focus can be developed with separate training procedures, the enhancement of Focus is generally done by the following common processes:

=> Critical Cues and the Critical Moments must be identified for every activity, problem and situation

=> Concentration Practice Exercises in the Form of Drills, is to be done to handle each of these Critical Moments

=> Meditations including Breath Awareness must be taught for being in the Present Moment and making sure that the person’s mind does not wander off at crucial times

=> Routines can be incorporated to Regain Focus on the Right Things

=> Training should involve elements of Surprises and Distractions, so as to ensure that the individual remains alert at every stage

Poor Focus arises due to the Mind Getting Overloaded by thinking about too many things or giving importance to the wrong priorities.It also happens due to the mind being distracted by thoughts and feelings which have no relevance at that point of time.

Once a person is made aware of these diversions of the mind and is trained to take care of it in the right manner, it ceases to be a source of disruption resulting in improved Focus & Concentration.


intelligence to build mental strength
Addding New Neural Paths Aid Continous Improvement

Simply put, Intelligence can be Defined as “The Ability to Learn, Understand or Deal With New or Difficult Challenges”.

It also proposes that an Intelligent Person can Analyze and Exploit Opportunities by understanding the Nature of the Situation and Environment, and deal with it accordingly.

You may have seen any number of times, how great sportspersons take advantage of the smallest opening given by the opponent and go on to win in a convincing manner.

This is entirely due to what is known as Intelligence and also means that it can be developed in such a way so as to improve the intellect, cleverness and shrewdness of the person.

There are 9 Types of Intelligence that have been discovered by Research Scientists and while each of them have their own Methodology for boosting it, some of the ways in which each one of us can improve our Overall Intelligence is given below:

=> Become a Constant Student of Life; Keep your eyes and ears open to all the knowledge that you can pick up from the world around you

=> In every activity that you perform, Focus on the Process, not the Outcome

=> Regularly Upgrade the Skills needed in your Profession or Occupation; Try to become proficient in New Skills

=> Observe Your Social Circle of Family, Friends and Colleagues to pick up anything useful that you can use to benefit your progress; Don’t hesitate to take Support and Encouragement from them

=> Model Successful People in your field; Learn to Become More Creative in your sphere of activity

=> Make use of Positive Empowering Self-Talk

=> Establish Trust in people around you and you will learn a lot from them

=> Do a Honest Self-Appraisal on a regular basis to Identify Your Strengths and Areas You Have to Improve In; Work Persistently to overcome your shortcomings

=> Practice to Become a Quick Learner

=> Monitor all the people you deal with and examine their actions to find out who are your well wishers and who are your detractors

Development of intelligence does not happen overnight. It is a streamlined process which happens with formation of new neural paths in the brain, which ultimately leads to better understanding and grasp of what best to do in a particular circumstance.


overcoming pressure to build mental strength
Never Allow Anything In Life To Trouble You

I have used the term “Zapping” because it goes well with my acronym “MOREFIZ” meaning More Energy.

But Zapping just means Coping With Pressure, Stress, Anxiety, Loss, Trauma, Fears and Doubts.

Great sportspersons have become great only because they know how to face the pressure situations, not be overwhelmed by it and find ways to come out on top.

In technical terms you can say that it is the Ability to Keep the Physical and Mental Arousal Levels Within Manageable Limits under Adversity and Pressure.

What it means is that if you want to become Mentally Tough you have to keep your Thoughts and Emotions Under Control, especially when there is a very stressful situation.

Anxiety arises in everyone when they assess or interpret a situation as stressful; What is perceived as stressful by one person may not be the case for others.

It is fundamentally a Question of Perception. If one has very high clarity of mind, the perceived situation might not be interpreted as exceedingly worrisome or stressful.

Pressure has 2 Components to it; A Mental Component (Anxiety, Stress etc.) and a Physical Component (Heart Rate, Respiration, Muscular Tension etc.)

It can be manifested in many different ways in different people. This feeling of nervousness or excited behaviour is good if it is in small amounts, as it helps in the secretion of adrenaline which controls the fight or flight response of human beings.

But if it goes beyond optimal levels, it can bring about harm and damage to the individual.

From years of research and observation it has been determined that the following Interventions have proved to be the most successful in calming down a person under pressure, and assisting them to prevail over the stressful situation.

As the Body and Mind are connected, working with one aspect of it produces simultaneous results in the other and thus many Stress Reduction Techniques use this principle. Some of them are:

=> Muscle Relaxation Techniques which work in the realm of the body and support reduction of muscular tension

=> Meditation for Soothing the Mind and producing a feeling of calmness

=> Breathing Techniques to regulate the respiration and bring about a more steady heart rate

=> Visualizations Techniques to set goals pertaining to the desired outcome

=> Self-Talk to counter the Negative Thoughts on the Psychological Level

=> Mental Work-outs for Specific Situations

=> “Thought Stoppage” Techniques

=> Biofeedback Processes can be used wherever they are available

=> Autogenic Training to empower yourself to bring the vital parameters of the body under control


So, as we as seen in the above description of the Mental Skills to be built-up, it is clear that Mental Toughness is not a single trait that can be developed independently.

Sports Psychologists have designed comprehensive Psychological Skills Training (PST) Frameworks that address the issues concerning the Mental Make-up of individual sportspersons, depending on their Age, Experience and Sport they are in.

The “MOREFIZ” framework has been designed on similar lines for the majority of the public who are not sportspersons, but for whom life’s trials and tribulations are no less challenging.

The Techniques of Goal Setting, Self-Talk, Visualization, Relaxation and Meditation help create a steadfast and strong mind-set, whatever pressure and setbacks an individual has to face in their lives.

A Calm Mind has more Clarity and consequently the decisions made by such a mind will be driven by the best of Mental Fitness Skills, and brings out the finest in a person.


What is one word for Mental Strength?

Ans: Mental Strength can be described in one word as Fortitude. This is derived from the Latin Word “Fortis” meaning “Strong”. This is the word generally used in English to denote Mental Strength. It is the characteristic of having the Mental and Emotional Strength to courageously face difficulty, adversity, danger or temptation.

How can I train my mind to be strong?

Ans: Mental Strength Training is a systematic, methodical process where all the 7 Components of mental Fitness are built up in a steady manner. At first a Questionnaire will be administered to discover the person’s present mind-set and Mental Fitness Quotient. Then interventions are chalked out to address all the areas where improvement is needed. Finally action oriented activities are implemented where the participant is able to test out the new mind-set in actual situations. Over aperioid of time after regular monitoring and Feedback the individual becomes Mentally Strong.

What is the difference between Mental Strength and Mental Toughness?

Ans: Mental Strength is just one aspect of Mental Fitness. Just like Physical Fitness is made up of Endurance, Speed, Strength, Flexibility and Agility, the same parameters are also there in the case of Mental Fitness, in which Mental Strength is just one aspect. Mental Toughness on the other hand is the end result of practising and implementing all the factors that go into Mental Fitness. Mental Strength and Mental Toughness are used interchangeably by many, but strictly speaking Mental Strength is just a part of the totality of becoming Mentally Tough.

Can a weak-minded person become mentally strong?

Ans: There is a common misconception that people are either mentally weak, mentally strong or somewhere in between. The fact is that everybody possesses some amount of Mental Strength just like everybody has physical strength to a certain extent. It is just that it may be strong in some areas and less in other aspects
Just as you have to adopt a regular fitness regimen to ensure that you are physically fit, it is also necessary to build up the mental muscle in a systematic disciplined way, so that the development of all the mental characteristics are taken care of. An initial assessment of where a person is lacking in Mental FItness can be done just like Physical FItness Tests, and a program drawn up for addressing all the areas that have to be improved.

Why is having Mental Strength important?

Ans: When you develop mental strength you get a certain clarity in the mind which helps you in taking the right decisions in any situation. This clear thinking will assist you in knowing what advice to take, and not bother about the loose comments of other people.
No failure or setback will ever trouble a mentally strong person, as they remain committed to their goals and will not let any obstacle deter them from reaching it. They gain control over their feelings and remain emotionally balanced in all situations.
Mental Strength makes you courageous and does not allow fears and doubts to override your thoughts. It builds up Self-Pride and Self-Esteem, which ultimately powers up your Self-Efficacy.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top