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Players' definitions of mental toughness > 1. The Line of Positivity - confiden... - Pg. 160

160 Developing Mental Toughness Each player was given their own personalized profile with suggested recommendations for the enhancement of each of the core elements of mental toughness. These profile reports would be used as the framework for the individualized sessions for the players. These individualized sessions were not compulsory and were, in all cases, initiated by the players. Although the information from the MTQ48 reports was used as a starting point during the individualized sessions, the sessions were not merely restricted to the development of MT. Everyone was encouraged to hold these sessions in an environment where all issues impacting on performance could be freely discussed in an open and confidential manner (strictly adhering to BPS code of conduct guidelines). Although individual sessions cannot be reported in this chapter, it was generally thought (by the players and coaching staff) that they were useful in formulating future action planning in areas such as goal setting and anxiety control. To further illustrate the importance of mental toughness the players undertook a unique biofeedback challenge that incorporated using the `Mindball Trainer'. This piece of kit measures, via detecting alpha and beta brainwaves, the ability of individuals to both concentrate and remain relaxed ­ key features in sport at whatever ability and level. Each player completed the task, which involved wearing a headband with electrodes attached. The electrodes are connected to a biosensor system that measures the electrical activity in the brain (EEG). This was converted into a signal that enabled a small ball to move on a magnetic table. The movement was a function of the extent to which the individual concentrated and remained relaxed. The goal of the task is to be as relaxed and focused as possible to enable the ball to be moved away from the player to the intended target in the shortest time possible. Players can monitor their levels of relaxation and focus by a connected screen (detailing levels of both relaxation and focus) or by viewing the movement of the ball itself. Preliminary analysis of the data showed a positive relationship between overall MTQ48 scores and `Mindball Trainer' times. This relationship was in fact even more strongly shown in the subscale control (incorporating emotional control), which showed a strong statistically significant relationship between the variables of MTQ48 and time. As well as providing interesting results, this practical demonstration also provided an exciting and interesting method of introducing sports psychology into a team environment. Breaking down the barriers between psychologist and athlete (specifically in male- dominated team environments) is a key factor in the successful implementation of any sports psychology intervention programme. This initial practical session laid the foundations for the MT training programme. This took place over the whole of the season. The following describes in detail three team activities designed to enhance and increase the awareness of the various components of MT. 1. The Line of Positivity ­ confidence building The aim of this exercise is twofold: first, to create an awareness of differing levels of confidence in the squad, and secondly, to provide a sound basis for developing a confidence enhancement strategy. This exercise involved the team members forming a line, in order of their perception of their own positivity/confidence ­ this process was most enlightening as debate reached fairly heated levels as a number of scores were considered to be over-inflated. After much discussion consensus was achieved over final positioning for all participants in the exercise.