Why is Mental Toughness Important?

Why is Mental Toughness Important?

Professor Peter Clough needs little introduction. Whilst at the University of Hull, Peter initiated a programme of work which led to the development of the 4Cs concept for Mental Toughness – published in 2002 and is now comfortably the most widely adopted description of Mental Toughness globally. 

Since that time, he has collaborated with researchers all over the world to examine the concept further and to identify links to important aspects of work and life – his name appears on around 50 peer-reviewed papers.

By inclination an applied psychologist, his work has always focused on real-world issues. In recent times, together with long term collaborator Doug Strycharczyk and Dr. John Perry, Peter has been instrumental in taking the Mental Toughness concept to the next level.

Peter Clough’s Book: Developing Mental Toughness 

Peter Clough’s Book: Developing Mental Toughness in Young People 

In this episode, Professor Peter Clough goes on to share why he spent a large chunk of his career researching and studying mental toughness.  How the 4C’s mental toughness framework has evolved and where it has been applied successfully.  Peter also shares why resilience is a great quality to have, as well as highlighting the differences between resilience and mental toughness.  Which could be argued to show that mental toughness is more valuable for people to move forward and prosper during longer stressful periods, such as right now, in the midst of a pandemic. 

Key Takeaways

  • The 4Cs Mental toughness model contributes to our understanding of individuals, it’s part of the jigsaw however people are very complicated so it only explains a small part of our behaviours. 
  • Often people don’t understand what mental toughness is and would be very surprised at some of the results that we’ve found in our studies.  For example, research shows that marathon runners are more mentally tough than those who don’t take part in extreme exercise, however surgeons are even more mentally tough than the marathon runners.
  • Mentally tough people aren’t perfect and have their own limitations.
  • The pandemic has had less impact on mentally tough individuals in comparison to mentally sensitive individuals however their well-being has also suffered.
  • Youngsters today are more likely to express their thoughts and feelings, they haven’t gone soft.  You could argue that they are tougher because they have more difficult conversations.

Contact Professor Peter Clough:

AQR International Website

Email: [email protected]

About the Host – David Charlton

David helps ambitious athletes, teams and executives achieve their goals faster by improving their Mental Toughness.  He is a HCPC Sport and Exercise Psychologist and Executive Coach who supports many professional athletes, some of whom play at the highest level in their chosen sports, as well as senior executives in the business world. 

Click the button below to join The Sports Psychology Hub, a Facebook group that David is starting on 30 November to help ambitions athletes, serious sport coaches, sporting parents, sports psychologists and mental game coaches to support each other.



Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and we read every single one of them!

David Charlton

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly. 

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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