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407: Mental Toughness and Attachment-based Approaches to Overcome Shame and Failure in Performance and Competition


Zach Clinton, M.A. AACC P.O. Box 739 Forest, VA 24551






It is no secret that the sporting arena is an essential aspect of society and culture used by individuals as a source of entertainment, pleasure, and an outlet from personal hardship. This “consumer” or “spectator” role that society has formed undoubtedly has crippled athletes into defining their success, worth, and value to a team, sport, and society based on their level of performance. These unique pressures to constantly “win” and “perform well” raise a significant concern for athletes during times of pressure, adversity, and failure. As a result, mental health, including internal feelings and self-conscious emotions such as guilt and shame, is increasingly becoming a significant area of consideration and investigation due to the psychological challenges associated with the public display of failure in sports performance. However, two specific areas of developing research have been identified to improve athletes’ psychological well-being, including mental toughness and attachment. During this workshop, we will examine the relationship between attachment and mental toughness in overcoming sport-based shame following challenges and adversity in athletic performance for mental health coaches to help athletes.  


Learning Objectives 

Participants will: 

  1. Identify the research and significance of shame in sports  
  2. Develop techniques as a mental health coach that are proven to enhance and increase psychological well-being within athletes (mental-toughness and attachment-based approaches)  
  3. Summarize the relationship between attachment, mental toughness, and shame in athletic performance