Get Started Now
Parents Start Here Athletes Start Here

Are You as Mentally Tough as Peyton Manning?

TAP Banner Image

In the 1998 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts held the first pick overall. In need of a quarterback, they had two great options: Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Though both athletes had similar skill sets, the league favorite was Ryan Leaf. So, the Colts decided to dive a little deeper into the character of Manning and Leaf to determine who would be the better player for their team. They turned to the Troutwine Athletic Profile (TAP) assessment.

The TAP assessment measures athlete intangibles.

The TAP measures an athlete’s mindset and traits important to athletic success. Think about it like this: As an athlete, your performance is shaped by a set of tangibles and intangibles. Your tangibles are all the things that fit nicely into a spreadsheet; size, speed, vertical jump, goals scored, ERA, and other sport-specific measures.  Academic measures can also be considered tangibles.

However, the intangibles are things like personal drive, mental toughness, leadership ability and mindset. These traits are often the true difference between an average player and a great player. Traditionally, measuring these intangibles has been a difficult task and certainly not standardized. Enter: the TAP assessment, which was developed to identify and measure those intangibles.

TAP assessment glacier

The TAP, first developed by pro sports psychologist Dr. Robert Troutwine in the 1980s, is backed by research on over 30,000 elite athletes and combat soldiers as he tracked their success over time. Results showed that the athletes with strong intangibles—like mental toughness—had longer, more successful careers.

In fact, strong intangibles were linked to success more frequently than even physical attributes at the highest levels. Teams that use the TAP have won over 75 championships. Teams include the New England Patriots, San Antonio Spurs and Kansas City Royals. More recently, the TAP has been made available for college and high school level athletes and teams through the online AthleteTypes system.

Take the TAP Assessment to discover your current Mental Toughness

Still wondering why you should care about the TAP assessment? In short, it can help you become your best athlete. Here’s how it works: After you take the TAP (it is currently offered for free to amateur athletes), you’ll receive your overall Mental Toughness score, which includes intangibles like determination, competitive spirit and ability to persevere in challenging situations.

You can see where your score stands in comparison to other high school, college, and professional athletes. The TAP, part of the AthleteTypes system, also offers a “Mental Gym,” which provides exercises to help you increase your Mental Toughness score. Just like you do exercises to build physical skills, it takes practice to build your mental skills.

So, how did it turn out for Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf?

Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf photo BW
Ryan Leaf (left) and Peyton Manning (right) at the 1998 NFL Draft

The Indianapolis Colts had Manning and Leaf each take the TAP. In the areas of mental stability, maturity, leadership and other intangibles, Manning was the clear winner. The Colts chose Manning. As it turns out, Manning went on to lead the Colts to two Super Bowls, 13 Pro Bowls and he received a record five NFL MVPs. And Leaf? After a series of bad behavior, poor performance and injuries, he dropped out of the NFL.