Book review: Mental Toughness Training For Golf

In this review, Jessica Dale discusses the foundation of sport psychology mental toughness using control, commitment, challenge, and confidence as motivators for the athlete

By Jessica Dale, MSW

Mental ToughnessAuthor:  Rob Bell, PhD
Reviewed By:  Jessica Dale, MSW

The book, "Mental Toughness Training for Golf," by Dr. Rob Bell adeptly introduces mental toughness training concepts and practices to golfers as well as golf coaches. The short book is impeccably organized into concise sections and does a wonderful job teaching through inspirational quotes and interesting anecdotes related to mental toughness. Dr. Bell starts the book with the definition and rationale for mental toughness, which encompasses "coping with struggle" and "performing well under pressure". He suggests that struggle is essential to success because it encourages the perspectives of gratitude and inconvenience. Although these are intriguing ideas that may be vital core philosophical perspectives for any athlete, further exploration of these ideas would be a welcome addition.

As the foundation of mental toughness, Bell proposes Four C's: control, commitment, challenge, and confidence. He incorporates practice sections to reinforce mental toughness concepts, which include recommendations by significant individuals in golf and other sports. For example, in "Practice: Finish Strong," Auburn's Head Golf Coach Mike Griffin suggests counting the last three holes thrice in the scores in order to emphasize a strong finish. The practice exercises are included throughout the book to support the mental toughness training and are the most distinctive and indispensable feature of the book.

According to Bell, there are five paths to confidence: past performances, physiological states, imagery, modeling, and verbal persuasion. Bell encourages the creation of positive memories through writing out the details (Le. thoughts and feelings) of each shot: a seemingly simple task that could impact a golf game tremendously. Editing a highlight film with particular, positive clips of an athlete's performances is advised as a method of modeling. This is an excellent use of modern technology that relates to the millennial generation.

The book concludes with a section on becoming a mentally tough golf team that would be especially interesting to collegiate players and/or coaches. This is an aspect of golf (and other individual sports played at the collegiate level) that is often overlooked in other golf sport psychology books.

Overall, the book, "Mental Toughness Training for Golf' is a brief and effective book that provides the golfer and the golf coach with the tools for mental toughness in golf. It does so through exceptional anecdotes, exercises, advice, and quotes from significant experts, coaches, and players in golf as well as other sports.