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Mental Toughness: Bored to Banshee in 15 Seconds or Less

speed training log Apr 21, 2011

I did my typical sprint workout on Tuesday as follows:  linear plyos, sprinters starts, 40 yard sprints with complete recovery.  My workout was done on grass in cleats.  Sprints were on a slight incline.

Unlike previous speed days, I wasn't doing pulling practice between sprints due to a forearm injury given to me by a sweater and a doorknob. (don't ask)

This left me with 4 minutes between sprints with not much to do other than walk around and enjoy the cool evening air.

I hadn't bothered to try to find a training partner for today.  Not because it was rainy, but because it's difficult to get people to buy into this type of workout. They get antsy and impatient waiting between sprints and I sense they think this type of training session is too easy.  Some people are addicted to the need to feel tired during or after a workout. It's fun to brag about how hard a workout was.  It's kind of fun to be sore the next day.

Sprints with complete recovery don't make you feel much of anything.   They only make you run faster.

I'll admit I was getting antsy too.  No talking, no throwing, just meandering around the field.  Yes, this type of workout can be boring. Difficult workouts are usually more interesting.  Teams love giving their athletes insanely hard workouts because they bring players together through shared struggle.  The mental toughness developed in these workouts is key to winning the long points, to solidifying desire, to...

I stopped staring into space and glanced at my watch.  Time for the next sprint!

I flared my nostrils, tossed my head, and snorted like a racehorse.  Eyes wide open, I stared down the cone 40 yards away.

I coiled myself into my sprinters stance: front foot under and slightly behind the hip... forward lean... about to fall over.   Pause.


Coordinated, good angle, up at the right time, flawless form.

(Ok, my sprinting form is far from perfect, but it was as good as it gets.)


How long does it take you to get your mind and body ready for 100% intensity effort? Can your team come off a second round bye to match your toughest opponent?  Can you toast your defender after having sat the last five points?  Can you go from contemplating the moon to dominating a max effort sprint in 15 seconds or less?

Hard workouts can prepare you to tough it out the long points, but how are you training yourself to flip the switch?


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