chapter  2
Mental toughness development in football
WithTristan J. Coulter, Richard C. Thelwell
Pages 15

This chapter examines the concept of mental toughness in football and provides comprehensive coverage of the extant literature in this area. Attention is specifically dedicated to a review of the mental toughness research to have been conducted in the game, to date. These studies include a focus on understanding the conceptual foundations of mental toughness in football across several populations, including academy and professional players, elite coaches and referees, and the parents of elite players. Building on these foundations, an overview of the existing interventions used to develop mental toughness are provided. These interventions range from the creation of challenging learning contexts to the implementation of traditional psychological skills training programmes. The chapter concludes by proposing a systematic and wider organisational strategy to develop mental toughness in the game, with particular attention given to the different stages of players’ psycho-social development. It also calls for continued attention to be given to referees and an instigation of mental toughness development programmes for coaches, given the inherent stressors this group experiences. Lastly, based on the current state of research, several options for future mental toughness studies in football are proposed.