Thesis: Mental toughness development in Australian Football players
Mental toughness is often identified as a pre-requisite for success at the highest level of any sport by coaches, administrators, athletes and the media. Mental toughness has only been the subject of significant empirical research since 2002, and there remains a lack of clarity regarding exactly what mental toughness is. Furthermore, debate as to whether it is genetic or learned continues, and the effectiveness of applied intervention or development programs on sporting performance remains under-explored.
This general aim of this project is to explore what constitutes observable and objective mentally tough behaviours, evaluate the effects these mentally tough behaviours have on performance, and develop an education program that seeks to increase the frequency of occurrence of the more performance critical mentally tough behaviours during competition.
Why my research is important
The purpose of the research is to extend the empirical evidence in the under-explored area of mental toughness development and intervention programs, specifically in the context of Australian Football. Furthermore, this research aims to address some of the regular criticisms of sport psychology research by creating objective performance psychology questionnaires and identifying what effect a psychological intervention has on performance in a competitive environment. It is expected that this research will result in an education program that will be beneficial for the attainment and sustainment of mental toughness and high performance in athletes, subsequently leading to increased general functioning and psychological well-being.