yes, therapy helps!
Resilience in the sporting context

Resilience in the sporting context

December 5, 2021

Resilience is a concept frequently used by clinical psychology to define that c the ability of individuals to recover from adversity .

However, there is no single way to build resilience and, for example, numerous studies suggest that the ability to manage stress is a factor that contributes to good sports performance.

Coping with adversity through sport

In sport it is very common to find stressful elements related to the conditions of the competition or the organization. Therefore, the concept of resilience acquires a nuance closely related to the quality of life of the athlete.


Those with a resilient profile experience greater knowledge in coping skills towards adversities. That mental strength contributes in the recovery of injuries . A good resilient profile, in addition to a good technique, commitment and high social support, are variables that are associated with high performance.

Studies on resilience have traditionally been centered on communities or families that have previously been subjected to stressful events. In the field of sports, there is still not as much research on resilience as there has been in the clinical area.

  • Related article: "What is Sports Psychology?"

The resilient profile

It must be taken into account that most of the pressures can be self-imposed by the demands of the athlete himself. Galli and Vealey (2008) conducted a study with elite players through interviews about the adverse events they had to overcome in sports.


They included injuries, setbacks related to performance, illness and transition to another category. They established a model and highlighted the qualities that would belong to a resilient profile; positive attitude, maturity, competitiveness, commitment and strong determination .

Various psychological variables related to optimism have been analyzed. These variables are focused on adversity management and sports performance. To do this, they studied the athlete's moods and mental strength, finding that optimistic people recover more quickly from stressful events. But it was also found that people who maintain an active physical practice, get higher levels of optimism about inactive people or sedentary (Kerr, Au and Lindner, 2005).

The case of athletes with disabilities

When talking about resilience and sports, athletes with disabilities should not be forgotten, these athletes have their own characteristics that impel them to face adversity.


However, they found differences in resilience scores according to type of disability they present. Those athletes with cerebral palsy presented worse results than spinal injuries.

The role of the Sports Psychologist

All these studies highlight the importance of protective factors without neglecting prevention. The use of positive strategies, social support that allows a constant feedback, the establishment of clear objectives and the evaluation of the applied strategies are fundamental to develop useful coping strategies and in the formation of a resilient profile.

This work is the responsibility of the Sports Psychologist, the coach and the athlete, being an integrative task on the part of all in which good planning must be prioritized. The knowledge of both the coaching staff and the Sports Psychologist will generate feelings of self-confidence and security in the athlete reducing the possibility that potentially stressful situations affect their performance.

The understanding and training about the concept of resilience on the part of professionals in the Sports Sciences will allow us to address the ability of athletes to adapt positively to adversity, thus achieving optimum sport performance.

With regard to the intervention on the resilient profile, programs to improve the resilient profile can produce important changes in psychosocial variables associated with the Injuries, illnesses and intrinsic motivation of the athlete

  • Related article: "10 reasons to put a sports psychologist in your life"

Extending resilience to other facets of life

On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that many skills that have been acquired through sport are extrapolated to other areas of life (school, family, work).

The practice of sports from its earliest stages is a school of values ‚Äč‚Äčthat promotes healthy habits. So the benefits in the acquisition of these strategies can be multiple, not only in sports performance if you intend to be an elite athlete but in the education and personal development in children and adolescents .


Hugh & A: What do you do when you're feeling down? (December 2021).


Similar Articles