Mental Skill #3 - Resilience

Rising Strong: The Power of Resilience in Overcoming Challenges

All of us get knocked down, but it’s resiliency that really matters. All of us do well when things are going well, but the thing that distinguishes athletes is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency and pressure.

Roger Staubach - Former NFL Quarterback

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks, failure, errors, adapting to change, and maintaining a stable sense of self-worth and self-belief.

Athletes face unique challenges, both physically and mentally regularly in training and competing. While physical training is crucial for success in sports, mental resilience plays an equally significant role. In this article, we will explore the concept of building resilience in athletes and discuss various strategies and techniques that can help them thrive in the face of adversity.

Importance of Resilience

Sports are competitive and demanding, physically and mentally. As an athlete you’ll face numerous challenges, such as performance slumps, injuries, and high-pressure situations, which can take a toll on your confidence, mental health, and mental well-being. Resilience enables you to:

Overcome setbacks: When we are high in resilience are better equipped to handle setbacks, such as poor performances or losses, and use them as learning experiences to develop self-awareness, grow, and develop.

Cope with stress and pressure: When we are resilient we can manage stress and anxiety/performance anxiety (nerves before a game/match) more effectively, allowing us to perform at our best in high-pressure situations.

Maintain motivation and focus: A resilient mindset helps us stay committed to our goals and maintain focus, even when faced with obstacles.

Prevent burnout: Resilience enables us to manage the physical and mental demands of our sport, reducing the risk of burnout and promote long-term growth and development, as well as success!

Key Components of Resilience

Resilience for athletes can be broken down into several key components:

Self-Confidence: Believing in your abilities and skills is crucial for maintaining motivation and overcoming setbacks.

Adaptability: The ability to adjust to new situations, challenges, and environments is essential for success in sports.

Thoughts & Emotional Regulation: Managing thoughts and emotions, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment, and negative self-talk will help you stay focused and perform at your best.

Optimism: Maintaining a positive outlook and focusing on opportunities for growth and improvement will help you persevere through difficult times.

Goal-setting: Setting realistic and achievable goals provides you with a sense of direction and purpose, which is essential for maintaining motivation and resilience during difficult situations.

How to Build Resilience

Embrace the Growth Mindset

One of the fundamental principles of building resilience is adopting a growth mindset. If you believe that your abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work are more likely to persevere in the face of challenges. View setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as failures.

Embrace Challenges: Challenge Mindset

View setbacks and obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning can help athletes develop a more resilient attitude. Take a challenge mindset approach and focus on the challenge. Remember when you focus on a challenge and accomplish the challenge it will build confidence and resilience.

Focus on the Process Not the Outcome

Focusing on personal growth and development, rather than solely on winning or losing, can help athletes maintain a resilient mindset.

Foster a Positive Self-Image and Self-Belief

A positive self-image is vital for resilience. Work on building your self-confidence and self-esteem through positive self-talk and self-compassion. When you believe in yourself, you are better equipped to face challenges head-on.

Celebrate Achievements

While it's important to learn from setbacks, it's equally crucial to celebrate achievements, no matter how small they may seem (especially after taking on a challenge and accomplishing that challenge). Acknowledging progress and success boosts your confidence and reinforces resilience.

Support Network

Build your support network. The stronger the relationships with coaches, teammates, training and support staff, family members, etc. can provide you with the emotional support you’ll need to overcome challenges.


Regularly evaluate your performance, goals, and progress can help you identify areas for improvement and maintaining a growth mindset. Remember the best athletes are also the most self-aware athletes.

If you want to begin to prove how much of a quality player you are, you need to showcase your resilience.


Key Take Aways

  1. Resilience is Essential: Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks, adapt to change, and maintain self-worth and self-belief. It is crucial to develop resilience because you will face unique challenges, both physically and mentally, during training and competition. Resilience enables you to overcome setbacks, cope with stress and pressure, stay motivated and focused, and prevent burnout.

  2. Key Components of Resilience: Resilience can be broken down into several key components, including self-confidence, adaptability, thoughts and emotional regulation, optimism, and goal-setting. These components work together to create a mindset that can withstand challenges and setbacks, allowing you to thrive in your sport.

  3. Strategies for Building Resilience: To build resilience, you can adopt strategies such as embracing a growth mindset, embracing challenges with a challenge mindset, focusing on the process rather than the outcome, fostering a positive self-image and self-belief, celebrating achievements, build a support network, and engage in self-reflection.

Reflective Moment

How can I incorporate a challenge mindset into my training and competition routines to view setbacks and obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning.

Do you want help building your resilience?

For more information or to set up your own session with a Certified Mental Performance Consultant to help you build your own resilience strategy, click on the button below for a free intro session.