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Mental Toughness: What Is It And How Do I Get It?


In this week’s post, No. 1 Soccer Camps Regional Director Greg Andrulis address the importance of mental toughness, pressure training, and how practice makes permanent in training sessions.

What is mental toughness for a goalkeeper or a striker? At No. 1 Soccer Camps we have long held the belief that mental toughness has a fitness component, but just as important, a psychological component. For over 38 years we have held a session the last night of every camp called “Pressure Training”. Pressure training is presented as a way to challenge yourself, to physically and mentally push yourself beyond areas that you never thought possible. The results of our pressure training sessions leaves players with feelings of euphoria and a new found confidence associated with success.

The coaches support our players efforts and demand more from them than they ever thought was possible. Can we take the skills that we worked on all week and now execute those skills under pressure?  How can we help you achieve the next level?The component that is often overlooked but stressed in our pressure training session is the need to practice with perfection – even when you think you are exhausted. Can you make the great save in the 89th minute when you’re tired? Is it the same save you made in the first minute when you were fresh? Can you find your feet and make an incredible 1v1 move in the 79th minute and finish a brilliant goal the same as you could in the 3rd minute of the game? How mentally tough are you? How have you prepared for that moment?

Mental toughness is many things. It is sacrifice, it is self-denial, it is dedication, and it is overcoming battles from within. Many athletes and coaches equate mental toughness with achieving extraordinary physical feats. An Olympic distance runner is quoted as saying “a lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run the race to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself the most.”

In order to play at the highest level, physical fitness is incredibly important. However, there are a lot of very fit players out there. What will separate you from all others has been taught at the No. 1 Soccer Camps and has been demanded by our staff coaches for over 38 years – mental toughness. Mental toughness is what you get from playing and striving for perfection EVERY time you step on the pitch. Players will play the way they practice, and that is why it’s important to strive for perfection in training. During our “pressure training sessions” not only do we push you incredible hard from the physical component, but you are challenged from the psychological component as well. Practice does not make perfect, PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT.

In order to truly be No. 1 and to be the player you want to be, you need a level of mental toughness, and No. 1 Soccer Camps’ training and methods can help you achieve it.

In next week’s post, I will share with you a story of a past No.1 participant who has gone on to achieve great things and truly become a No. 1 player. This player demanded a level of Mental Toughness from himself that is truly remarkable.

Greg Andrulis is a Regional Director at No. 1 Soccer Camps Urbana UniversitySalisbury School, and Western Connecticut locations. He is also the Head Coach of the men’s team at George Mason University and a former Coach for MLS Columbus Crew. For more information on Coach Andrulis or his No. 1 Soccer Camps sites, click on above location links or here.