9 things Tough Athletes do without even thinking

Proven Strategies for Staying in the Game

9 things Tough Athletes do without even thinking

Actions always speak louder than words and Tough Athletes take action. You can see their toughness by what they do. Here is our list of 9 actions Tough Athletes do without even thinking.

1. If it’s cold or raining, or the weather conditions aren’t quite right, they use this to build their resilience.

Tough Athletes know that building their resilience is like building any muscle. They need to work at it every day and be in an environment that challenges them. Tough Athletes know that being uncomfortable is a critical part of the process of building their toughness. As legendary Coach John Wooden said, “Nothing will work unless you do”.

2. When they suffer a setback, they think how this will add to their success story.

Tough Athletes know that when they face difficult times, the challenges are not sent to destroy them. Instead, they are sent to promote, challenge and strengthen them. They embrace the struggle and look to a future time when they can look back with pride and know they overcame the setback on their path to achieving a bigger goal. A quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender. That is strength”.

3. Given two options, they always pick the one which is most challenging.

Tough Athletes identify themselves as being tough. They see their toughness as who they are and everything they do is a reflection of this identity. Tough Athletes don’t take the easy route because it isn’t who they are. They take the option that is aligned and consistent with being tough and that’s the one which will challenge them to be even better. As Bo Hanson says, “Being uncomfortable is the life blood of toughness”.

4. They know training and practice is a bigger test than game day will ever be.

Tough Athletes know that they train hard to become technically and physically prepared for when the pressure of competition is on. They do this by practicing with focus and intensity every day and this takes discipline. As the Navy SEALS say, “When you are under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. Train well”.

5. They find it easy to say no to anything that undermines their 5on-field performance while they’re off-field.

Tough Athletes know their ‘big reasons why’ they do their sport. These reasons are crystal clear and they’re deeply connected to them. When sport gets tough, it’s the way tough athletes push through the difficult times and still gain positive results that builds careers. It’s exactly the same away from their sport and their motivations ensures they won’t do anything that will compromise their performance. In fact, Tough Athletes think about their competition in this way: “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100%… you make it that much easier for me to beat you.”

6. Any reward or treat they enjoy is always earned. They accept nothing for free.

Tough Athletes truly believe that being tough is part of who they. This is another example of the impact of their tough identity. It’s how they view themselves and conduct themselves at all times. Tough athletes never take the easy option. They never accept something for free. They value the result of earning something for themselves and know the best rewards come from their own efforts.

7. Their day starts with their goals at the forefront of their mind.

Tough Athletes wake up in the morning and immediately get up, get dressed, get out the door. They have found their ‘big reason why’ and keep it close. Quoting Michael Jordan, “I think that not making the Varsity team drove me to really work at my game, and also taught me that if you set goals and work hard to achieve them, the hard work can pay off. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again… I knew exactly where I wanted to go and I focused on getting there. As I reached those goals, they built on one another. I gained a little confidence every time I came through”.

8. When things get hard they say something to encourage their team members and themself.

Tough Athletes know that saying something positive not only encourages and inspires others, it’s a way to control your own thoughts and be disciplined, it’s all about staying in a productive mindset. Talking positively to yourself is about knowing and managing your internal dialogue.

9. Their effort and commitment is not determined by what the scoreboard says.

Tough Athletes have their own measure of performance. They don’t look to the scoreboard to gauge what they do next. The scoreboard never determines the quality of their effort, nor does the time left on the clock. Tough athletes give the same performance standard on the first play as they do on the last play. They consistently give 100%. Tough athletes want to be proud of themselves most of all and that’s the only scoreboard they care about.

It’s not by chance that you’re here and reading this list. In our experience working with top athletes and teams around the world, those who truly achieve their potential don’t leave things to chance. They are deliberate about what sets them apart. They put focus and energy into the things that have a big impact on their performance. Being ATHLETE TOUGH is one of those things, and it’s an important one.

Mental toughness is not a mythical quality possessed only by a few. It is a teachable skill that can be developed and sustained. And that’s exactly what the ATHLETE TOUGH Handbook and Video Series is all about. It’s your personal guide to proven strategies which develop your skills to be ATHLETE TOUGH.

Bo Hanson Headshot

Many of the books or programs on mental toughness are written by psychologists in a language that’s hard to understand. ATHLETE TOUGH is written by an Olympic Medalist, Bo Hanson, who has personally USED these strategies and gained success because of them. Not only that, but these strategies have helped form the successful business Bo Hanson has today – Athlete Assessments. ATHLETE TOUGH is also designed specifically for athletes so you know the information is relevant and useful to you.

The ATHLETE TOUGH Program is designed to ensure your athletes never give up, never quit on their team and never quit on themselves. It provides step-by-step processes to help athletes become and stay mentally strong.


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