Resilience in the sports context

Resilience is a concept frequently used by clinical psychology to define this vsa capacity that individuals must rebuild in the face of adversity.

However, there is no single way to build resilience and, for example, many studies point out that the ability to deal with stress is a factor that contributes to good athletic performance.

Confronting adversity through sport

In sport, it is very common to encounter stressful elements linked to the conditions of competition or organization. Consequently, the concept of resilience takes on a nuance closely linked to the quality of life of the athlete.

Those with a resilient profile gain greater knowledge in coping skills towards adversity. This mental strength contributes to recovery from injuries. A good resilient profile, in addition to good technique, commitment and high social support, are variables associated with high performance.

Resilience studies have traditionally focused on communities or families that have already been subjected to stressful events. In the field of sport, there is still not as much research on resilience as there has been in the clinical field.

    The resilient profile

    It should be noted 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 sport.

    They included injuries, performance setbacks, illness, and transitioning 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.

    Several psychological variables linked to optimism were analyzed. These variables focus on the management of adversity and athletic performance. To do this, they studied the moods and mental toughness of the athlete and found that optimistic people recover more quickly from stressful events. But it has also been found that people who maintain active physical practice are successful higher levels of optimism towards inactive people or sedentary (Kerr, Au, & Lindner, 2005).

    The case of disabled athletes

    When it comes to resilience and sport, athletes with disabilities should not be forgotten either, these athletes have their own characteristics that push them to face adversity.

    However, they were found differences in resilience scores by type handicap they present. Athletes with cerebral palsy performed worse than those with spinal cord 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 for constant feedback, setting clear goals and evaluating applied strategies are essential in developing useful coping strategies and in forming a resilient profile.

    This work is the responsibility of the sports psychologist, the coach and the athlete being an integrative task by all in which good planning must be prioritized. Knowledge of coaching staff and sports psychologist will be generated sense of self-confidence and security in the athlete by reducing the possibility of potentially stressful situations affecting their performance.

    Understanding and training on the concept of resilience by sports science professionals will address the ability of athletes to positively adapt to adversity, thereby achieving peak athletic performance.

    In terms of resilient profile intervention, resilient profile improvement programs can produce significant changes in psychosocial variables associated with injuries, illness and intrinsic motivation of the athlete.

      Extending resilience to other facets of life

      On the other hand, we must not forget that many skills acquired through sport are extrapolated to other areas of life (school, family, work).

      Practicing sport from the start is a school of values ​​that promotes healthy habits. Thus, the benefits of acquiring these strategies can be manifold, not only in athletic performance if you intend to be an elite athlete, but also in education and personal development of children and adolescents.

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