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Developing resilience in sport
Developing resilience in sport

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Session 1: Understanding resilience


Image of men and women helping each other to climb over a mud barrier in a challenge race

A Japanese proverb ‘Fall seven times, stand up eight’ effectively captures the essence of psychological resilience. We know that athletes will face highs and lows and will constantly withstand a wide range of pressures to attain and sustain high performance (Howells and Fletcher, 2016; Sarkar and Fletcher, 2013). This is not only the case for elite athletes and could also be the case for you in your own sport and exercise pursuits, or if you support the performance of others. Indeed, understanding resilience is vital for those involved in an athlete’s journey ‘as it may be fundamental in facilitating ongoing success and positive mental wellbeing’ (Howells, 2022, p. 203).

Before you explore what research tells us about resilience, look at an introduction to resilience more broadly in Activity 1.

Activity 1 Reflecting on your own resilience

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

First, watch the video ‘Introduction to resilience’ and identify the key points raised.

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Introduction to resilience
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Having viewed the content, reflect on when and how you, or someone you know, have shown resilience.

Note your thoughts in the box below.

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You might have noted down that resilience is an inner strength that helps us to withstand and bounce back from adversity, allowing us to ‘get the most mileage from our brain’. You might have reflected on one or more times in your life when you have shown resilience.

As noted on the video – our genes, all aspects of our lives, and the experiences that we have, influence our ability to be resilient.

It is important to emphasise that resilience is a psychological skill that can be learned, and that we can all demonstrate resilient qualities and behaviours. This is critical when we consider that resilience can aid us in our everyday life.