Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Developing resilience in sport
Developing resilience in sport

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2 Resilience in action: resilient athletes

So far, you have looked at research relating to elite athletes, but the findings can be applied to other contexts, as you will see in Activity 3.

Activity 3 Resilient athletes

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes

First, watch the video ‘The Merthyr mermaid’ which follows Cath Pendleton completing some incredible feats, arguably demonstrating high levels of resilience.

Download this video clip.Video player: The Merthyr mermaid
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
The Merthyr mermaid
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Then consider the following:

  • Identify an individual athlete, that you know personally or from elite sport, that has demonstrated resilience.
  • Why have you chosen this example – can you draw on your developing knowledge of resilience to justify your choice?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


You may have found it hard to come up with just one example, as it could be argued that there are a number of athletes that have demonstrated resilience along their journey. Your justification might have considered robust or rebound resilience or you might have reflected on how the athlete demonstrated one or more of the five psychological (protective) factors that were highlighted by Fletcher and Sarkar (2012), and was able to overcome significant challenges.

Athletes are not the only performers in the sporting context, and coaches need to be able to draw on their own resilience to positively evaluate the ‘plethora of stressors’ (Olusoga et al., 2012, p. 230) that they could experience, including preparing for events and managing their own wellbeing (Sarkar and Hilton, 2020). Olusoga et al. (2012) examined factors that coaches perceived as enabling them to coach in stressful environments and identified eleven psychological attributes including focus, confidence, commitment, and support; similar to the five psychological factors highlighted by Fletcher and Sarkar (2012) in their research on athlete resilience.