What is More Important in Sports – A Mind or A Body: Literature Review

Literature Review:

First Draft (600 words) + 4 resources

Second Draft ( around 1200 words) + 7 resources


What is More Important in Sports – A Mind or A Body: Literature Review


Why is Mental Toughness important to athletes? 

Cowden et al. (2019) investigated the relationship between athletes’ mental toughness and their self-determined motivation, and how they are relevant to standard personal perfectionism. To do so, they compared 318 tennis athletes’ self-reported perfectionism, motivation, and mental toughness levels. The result may indicate that by working hard and putting effort to develop mental toughness in athletes themselves, more autonomous forms of motivation can be maintained, especially among athletes with high standards of personal perfectionism (Cowden et al.).

We can hear coaches talk about how athletes should be mentally tough when it comes to training and competing, however, are they able to teach the concept of mental toughness to athletes as a coach? Weinberg et al. (2016) provided insight into how coaches can impact the development of mental toughness. Unless most of the research that was investigating mental toughness from athletes, parents, and coaches’ perspectives, the purpose of this study explored sports psychologist’s experiences of building mental toughness and how coaches can help frosting mental toughness in their athletes (Weinberg et al.). The result has one main theme, and that theme was divided into different sections of small themes. That was, the coaches should be mindful of how they think about their athletes, such as, being critical but encouraging, seeing athletes as individuals, educating the staff, and creating adversity (Weinberg et al., 2016).

The two articles above are both discovering the importance of mental toughness in an athlete’s success. One focuses on how mental toughness affects personal standard perfectionism, resulting in an elite athlete getting better and better each day; another emphasizes the role that coaches play in athletes’ mental toughness, behaving mindfully is key.  Even though the two articles address different concepts, one similar point is that mental toughness does matter in an athlete’s success.

The Importance of Physical Activity in Athletic Performance

Body strength is always considered one of the most crucial components of athletic performance. Better performance has been proven to be directly correlated with physical strength. Suchomel et al. (2016) mentioned that greater muscular strength leads to improved athletic performance in various sports. Sports performance demands high rates of force development and external mechanical power, which are considered two of the most important performance characteristics. As a result of these physical attributes, athletes improved at sprinting, running speed, jumping, and changing directions (Suchomel et al.). This study also highlights that a regular training program that does not include strength training may lead to a higher risk of injury, as well as a missed opportunity to improve athletic performance (Suchomel et al.). As we can see, physical strength training for athletes is important because it can improve athletic performance, also decrease the chance of getting hurt in exercising.

Strength training not only improves athletic performance, but it can also support muscle health, reduce muscle imbalance, and even stabilize the joint range of motion. Ozmen et al. (2014) also show the importance of how strength training affects their performances. In the research experiment, they divided ten wheelchair basketball players into two groups: The explosive Strength training (ES) group and the no explosive strength training group. The ES group conducted twice a weak, six weeks in a row of the strength training session (Ozmen et at.). The results showed that after a short duration (six weeks) of explosive strength training, the wheelchair basketball players improves their sprint and agility performance significantly compared to the no-explosive strength training group.





Cowden, R. G., Crust, L., Jackman, P. C., & Duckett, T. R. (2019). Perfectionism and motivation in sport: The mediating role of mental toughness. South African Journal of Science, 115(1/2). https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2019/5271

Ozmen, Tarik & Yuktasir, Bekir & Yildirim, Necmiye & Yalçın, Hasan & Willems, Mark. (2014). Explosive Strength Training Improves Speed and Agility in Wheelchair Basketball Athletes. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. 20. 97-100. 10.1590/1517-86922014200201568.

Suchomel, T. J., Nimphius, S., & Stone, M. H. (2016). The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 46(10), 1419–1449. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0486-0

Weinberg, R., Freysinger, V., Mellano, K., & Brookhouse, E. (2016). Building mental toughness: perceptions of sport psychologists. The Sport Psychologist, 30(3), 231–241. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2015-0090.

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