Building resilience - The role of adversity
Resilience has been defined as, “a dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity”.
Two conditions of resilience are in play within this definition:
1. That there is exposure to significant adversity (or risk)
2. That positive adaptation (or competence) occurs
Within many sports’ resilience is still often identified by coaches as a key attribute for success. When I delve in to conversations with coaches about what they mean by resilience they are often looking for people to be able to:
Adapt to change
Handle unpleasant feelings
Respond positively to setbacks
Thrive under pressure
Responding to adversity - Positive adaptations…
Adversity doesn’t have to come in extreme forms for us to be able to learn how to cope with it and adapt accordingly. There may be some small setbacks in your path that require some work before you can push on.
A resilient individual is aware of the stresses that they may face or are currently facing and take responsibility for their actions when faced with adversity.
Here are 3 examples you may be faced with:
Are you part of a team/squad/group that is constantly changing? How would you respond to this?
Are you struggling financially to remain a part of the sport that you love and want to keep doing? How would you respond to this?
Are you finding one skill difficult to master? How would you respond to this?
How can I become more resilient?
Reflect on situations - Even the smallest setback can help you to develop resilience. Reflect on what happened, why it happened? Work out if there is anything you can do to prevent it happening again, if there isn’t then how will you need to respond differently in similar situations. This will help you develop a growth mindset and not stay in the same fixed processes every time.
Build relationships with people. It doesn’t matter which of the examples you look at from the last section. Being proactive to get to know people, how they could support you and just as importantly how you could support them will help you through the challenging times.
Focus on imperfect solutions - we can get sucked in to trying to find the ‘perfect’ solution (which let’s be honest, often doesn’t exist). So, embrace the grey areas and understand there will be trial and error as you explore potential solutions and learn what works for you.
Setbacks at a young age are important as they allow us to build the coping skills we need throughout life. This doesn’t mean we are deliberately looking to throw challenges at individuals and make life difficult. But, it does mean that we shouldn’t shield young people from setbacks that are a natural part of the journey and opportunities to learn strategies that they can rely on further down the line.