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Mental toughness and athlete level in Olympic weightlifting

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Summary of research comparing mental toughness in elite and non-elite Olympic weightlifters.

Who

18 female (9 elite, 9 non-elite) and 28 male (14 elite, 14 non-elite) weightlifters (Egypt).

Design

Analysis of survey data and weightlifting performance data.

Outcome measures/tests

  • Mental Toughness Questionnaire (MTQ) - assessing competitive desire, focus, self-confidence, resiliency

Main results

Mental toughness and athlete level in Olympic weightlifting - infographic

  • Mental toughness was correlated with achievement level (r =0.974, p<0.01).

  • Elite female weightlifters scored high on resilience and focus.

  • Elite male weightlifters scored high on focus and competitive desire.

  • Mental toughness component scores in elite versus non-elite female Olympic weightlifters:

Mental toughness
Competitive desire
Focus
Resiliency
Self-confidence
Total
Elite females
Mental toughness
Competitive desire
17.56±0.88
Focus
21.56±1.33
Resiliency
20.89±1.45
Self-confidence
17.44±1.51
Total
77.44±2.96
Non-elite females
Mental toughness
Competitive desire
9.89±2.03
Focus
11.11±1.54
Resiliency
9.67±1.58
Self-confidence
9.67±2.12
Total
40.33±5.27
  • Mental toughness component scores in elite versus non-elite male Olympic weightlifters:
Mental toughness
Competitive desire
Focus
Resiliency
Self-confidence
Total
Elite males
Mental toughness
Competitive desire
18.86±1.17
Focus
22.50±2.31
Resiliency
20.71±2.09
Self-confidence
17.93±1.59
Total
80.00±5.84
Non-elite males
Mental toughness
Competitive desire
10.86±1.70
Focus
11.00±1.75
Resiliency
10.71±1.82
Self-confidence
10.50±1.79
Total
43.07±4.62

Take home message

For a clinician & coach
Mental toughness is correlated with the achievement level of Olympic weightlifters, both females and males. Elite females are excellent at resilience and focus. Elite males are great at focus and competitive desire.
For a parent
Elite weightlifters are twice as mentally tough as non-elite weightlifters. The ability to focus is extremely important.
For an athlete
Elite weightlifters are twice as mentally tough as non-elite weightlifters. The ability to focus is extremely important.

Original article

Elemiri A, Ahmet AL. Mental toughness and its relationship to the achievement level of the weightlifters in Egypt. Turkish Journal of Sport and Exercise. 2014;16(2):63-9.

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