Date of Award
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Diving, Mental toughness, High risk sport
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Research focusing on mental toughness development and high risk sport is limited to one examination of elite gymnasts' perceptions. Coaches have acknowledged that mental toughness is important to performance success, while admitting they do not know effective development strategies. The aim of the current research is to address both these concerns by employing a grounded theory approach to ascertain elite diving coaches perceptions of mental toughness development and what mental toughness is. Seven diving coaches volunteered and were interviewed for an average of 49 minutes. They all coached an athlete that participated either in the world championships or Olympic games since 2008. Participants reported that mental toughness was the ability of a diver to perform a movement in a crucial moment that requires focus, extending beyond their comfort zone, overcoming fear, and never giving up. Mentaltoughness may not be the appropriate term due to its lack of multicultural sensitivity. Participants felt that dealing with adversity was something divers would have to constantly process. Mental toughness can be developed by the coach, the environment, or individual athlete. Unique attributes specific to divers were an awareness of self and a distinct level of knowing what the athlete was going to do. More research needs to be conducted to determine if these concepts can be generalized to other high risk sports. Future research could help establish a valid quantitative measure of mental toughness development.
D'Addario, Aaron, "Expert Approaches to Mental Toughness Development in the High Risk Sport of Diving" (2014). Graduate School of Professional Psychology: Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 61.