ORIGINAL PAPER
Characteristics of mental toughness in young basketball players of different age groups
 
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Department of Physical and Social Education, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania
 
These authors had equal contribution to this work
 
 
Submission date: 2024-02-20
 
 
Acceptance date: 2024-05-12
 
 
Publication date: 2024-06-28
 
 
Corresponding author
Romualdas Malinauskas   

Lithuanian sports University
 
 
Hum Mov. 2024;25(2):128-139
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Purpose:
Assessing the development of skills that ensure personal mental toughness in adolescence is important because adolescents’ increasing autonomy and socialisation during adolescence inevitably create the conditions for an increasing number of external stressors to emerge. Paradoxically, adolescents’ confidence in their ability to cope with external stressors decreases during adolescence, which may lead to poorer sports performance in adolescent athletes. This study aimed to determine and analyse mental toughness skills in the cadet and junior age groups of young basketball players. Another aim was to reveal how general (total) mental toughness and age predict each athletic mental toughness skill.

Methods:
This study surveyed 378 young basketball players using a two-stage cluster sampling approach. The Mental Toughness Questionnaire 48 (MTQ48) was chosen to assess general mental toughness skills. The Performance Inventory-Alternative (PPI-A) was chosen to assess athletic mental toughness skills.

Results:
The study’s results revealed that players in the junior age group scored significantly higher on challenge (p < 0.001; d = –0.41), commitment (p < 0.001; d = –0.65), emotional control (p < 0.001; d = –0.76), life control (p = 0.02; d = –0.26), overall control (p < 0.001; d = –0.64), self-confidence in one’s abilities (p < 0.001; d = –0.73), self-confidence in interpersonal interactions (p < 0.001; d = –0.50), overall self-confidence (p < 0.001; d = –0.73), total mental toughness (MTQ-48) (p < 0.001; d = –0.78), determination (p < 0.001; d = –0.47) and visualisation (p < 0.001; d = –0.81). Significant correlations (r ranges from 0.12 to 0.37) were found between mental toughness skills and age groups for all scales mentioned above, except positive cognition and self-belief. Total mental toughness strongly predicted athletic mental toughness skills, but age did not predict determination and self-belief skills.

Conclusions:
The findings of the present study suggest that promoting mental toughness can lead to improved athletic mental toughness indicators, emphasising its relevance for coaches, trainers, and sports psychologists in enhancing athletes’ development and performance.

 
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