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Developing resilience in sport
Developing resilience in sport

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3 Resilience in action: resilient coaches

You should now be able to build a picture up of what a resilient individual in sport might look like. In Activity 4 you’ll look further at what a resilient coach might look like by hearing from one of the leading academics in this field and his co-researcher.

Activity 4 Exploring coach resilience

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes

First, watch ‘Coach resilience (Part 1)’, which introduces research by Sarkar and Hilton (2020) exploring resilience in swimming coaches.

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Coach resilience (Part 1)
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Now, having watched the video, answer the following questions:

  1. What was the aim of the research and why did the researchers feel that coach resilience was an important area to study?
  2. What were the key findings of the research?
  3. The research examined ‘super-elite’ Olympic medal-winning coaches. Do you think any of the stressors or protective factors identified in the findings could be applied to non-elite coaches?
  4. Can you recognise some of the features described in yourself (if you are a coach or teacher) or in coaches that you know?
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  1. Dr Sarkar highlighted that coaches are performers in their own right and they will face numerous stresses and pressures in their own coaching career. As such, it was argued that it was important to understand coach resilience from two angles: how coaches can enhance their own resilience and how can they develop resilience in their athletes.
  2. There were three main findings identified in the research:
    • a.four themes of stressors experienced by the coaches
    • b.six themes of protective factors (the psychological qualities that protected coaches against the potential negative effects of these stressors)
    • c.factors that coaches used to develop resilience in athletes.
  3. You may have reflected that several of the stressors and/or protective factors could be applied to non-elite coaches. For example, of the stressors identified, you may have considered that coach wellbeing would apply to any level of coach and that there would be an element of managing an organisation, albeit perhaps on a different scale. For example, a coach might have assistants and volunteers working with them that they manage.

    In terms of the protective factors, non-elite coaches could take a progressive approach, try to maintain a work–life balance and have a focus on motivation and effective decision-making. However, a non-elite coach might not always have access to a coach support network nor function in a secure work environment.

  4. You may have reflected on a number of the research findings, including any potential stressors that you might face in your role or perhaps some protective factors (psychological qualities) that you recognise in coaches that you have observed. For example, you may have reflected that coaches/teachers you work with have a real love for their role, with clear enjoyment – evidence of intrinsic motivation (part of durable motivation).

So far you have considered what a resilient athlete and coach might look like, but would these features apply to a team situation? You will explore team resilience in the next section.