Mental Toughness Development Toolkit
Mental Toughness Development Toolkit: Primary Education
Mental Toughness Development Toolkit: Secondary Education
Contact us for a copy sample coaching MT toolkit exercises.
The Mental Toughness Development Toolkit is an array of experiential exercises which can be run with individuals and/or small and large groups. It also works well in conjunction with outdoor experiential exercises. The toolkit comes in a digital form of cue cards that can be printed.
How does the toolkit work?
There are two approaches to organising the exercises. One is to focus on the desired outcome – “I wish to improve my Mental Toughness in terms of the 4 Cs”. The other is to approach it from the perspective of “enablers”. These fall into six broad headings:
- Positive Thinking – affirmations, thought stopping, self talk, etc.
- Visualisation – guided imaging, etc.
- Anxiety Control – controlled breathing, relaxation, distraction, etc.
- Attentional Control – dealing with interruptions, attention span, etc.
- Goal Setting – SMART goals, “eating the elephant”, balancing goals, etc.
- The MTQ48 test – good feedback and reflection often provokes a positive response.
These all help to develop the capability to deal with stress, pressure and challenge and, where appropriate, to cope with these.
The exercises in this toolkit are organised by the 4 Cs. Many of these can impact on more than one of the 4 Cs.
The tools have been written so that they can be delivered to a group or coaching tools to be used in a one-to-one situation.
Using the exercises
The start point should be an accurate and realistic assessment of the individual’s Mental Toughness and their potential development needs ideally based on the use of the MTQ48 measure. This enables the user to direct interventions appropriately.
One useful indicator to examine is an individual’s challenge scores. Individuals who are mentally sensitive on this scale (typically scores of 1 – 3 perhaps 4) are less open to learning than individuals with higher levels of Mental Toughness. They may require more attention.
Mental Toughness is developed as a result of experiential learning
- Mental Toughness is learned – it is not easily taught. It is about developing a mindset. One can’t learn this just because you follow a process.
- For the Individual– they may need to be supported to persevere until they “get it”. Practice is important.
- For the Coach/Tutor – facilitation and coaching skills are important. Trialling and practising these skills is important.
There is nevertheless an underlying process:
Stage one – Experience
Introduce the exercise to the individual and explain its purpose
Students carry out the exercise and assesses what difference it made to their thinking
Stage two – Reflection
The absolute key to success. Get individuals to consider:
- What occurred? – What difference was made? – Did they improve performance in some way – was this beneficial?
- How did they feel? Was mood improved, did it boost confidence? Was it enjoyable? Did it make them want to do more? The key is to enable the individual to associate this feeling with their participation in the exercise.
- What did they learn? Can doing things differently be effective? Does approaching things differently work? Does being positive produces surprising results? What could they now do that they didn’t think they could before? Where could they now apply this learning to other areas which are important?
Stage three – Purposeful Practice
Now the hard bit. Practice what you have learned until it becomes a habit. Then it becomes easier and the benefits will flow.
The toolkit is designed to be a flexible toolkit of exercises which can be adapted or applied in a variety of ways. The exercises fall into 3 main groups:
- Short, typically 10 -15 minute, exercises which are easily integrated into a lesson or tutor group activity.
- Whole lesson (40 – 60 minute) exercises which will engage all students in a class and will focus on a particular learning point.
- Multi-Lesson Exercises (two or three lessons) which require some element of coursework. These are capable of integration with the main curriculum.
- Many of the exercises can be run several times in slightly different ways enabling the content to focus on a specific outcome.
Each exercise is supported with a cue card which provides full instructions for use, equipment required and guidance for managing reflection and learning.