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There’s no doubt that athletics are challenging. That is one of the many reasons resilience training is beneficial for athletes. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after difficulties, whether they’re emotional, mental, or physical. Sports can test all three of these areas, and a strong mental disposition is a must for success.
When someone isn’t very resilient, they’re likelier to dwell on perceived failures, blame themselves, and get discouraged. Non-resilient people give up when resilient people would persevere and keep going. Thankfully, there’s a way to train yourself to be more resilient and become the best athlete you can be.
What is Resilience?
Non-resilient people are overwhelmed and stressed out easily. They get anxious and depressed often, and usually develop unhealthy coping habits. Developing resilience allows you to focus your attention on the positive and bring out your best self. In sports, this could involve not letting a missed shot ruin the rest of your game or using a loss as motivation to do better next time. What else does resilience involve?
Accept what you can and cannot control
Resilient athletes know that their success depends on the aspects of life that they have influence over. In other words, if something goes wrong with their performance, it’s their responsibility and theirs alone. Someone who lacks resilience would either blame outside factors for their poor performance or dwell too much on it, to their own detriment.
Know the difference between behavior and who you are
Resilient people know the difference between what they do and who they are. An athlete who hasn’t practiced developing resilience might tell themselves that they missed a shot or practice because they’re bad at their sport. A resilient athlete, on the other hand, would immediately look for ways they can do better next time.
Develop a positive focus
The best way to start training yourself in resilience is to practice focusing on the positive instead of the negative. This starts with being more aware, in general. Mindfulness or meditation can help immensely with this, teaching you to give your energy to the thoughts that serve you instead of hurt you.
Resilience training is undoubtedly beneficial for any kind of athletics, but as you can see, it’s also useful for ordinary life situations. Working on this will help you rise to any challenge and look for opportunities instead of dwelling on past mistakes or getting down on yourself.
How Resilience Training Benefits You
Resilience training is necessary for overcoming almost any difficulty in sports. That includes losing a game, missing practice, and even allowing your body to recover from a tough day of training. Resilience is a protective mechanism that is the result of self-esteem and also fosters confidence. This quality doesn’t always come naturally to everyone but can develop it with the right social support or personal practices. How else can resilience training benefit you?
Help you develop healthy coping strategies
Many people will immediately fall into a low state of mind when life doesn’t go according to their hopes or plans. By training yourself to be more resilient, however, you can cope with mistakes or unexpected troubles in a healthy way. This can involve looking for ways to improve, learning from failures, and staying positive. Just remember that resilience is something you build over time, not all at once.
Improve your self-esteem in all areas
Resilience training relies heavily on the self-esteem of the individual. A person experiencing difficulties or disappointments eeds opportunities to choose a different perspective and to believe in themselves. While already having self-esteem does help with resilience, developing resilience will also improve self-esteem in all areas of life.
Teach you how to manage disappointment
Every athlete will come to a point where a performance leaves them feeling defeated and disappointed. In some cases, you may even feel devastated by a mistake or perceived failure. What separates great athletes from the rest, however, is the ability to manage their disappointment.
Make you a more optimistic person
Resilience training can teach you how to be more hopeful and engaged with not only the sport you play but your life as a whole. As you start to develop more positive emotions, this will bring you well-being and perhaps even a new perspective on your identity. When you’re enthusiastically involved with life, even previously difficult circumstances become a fun challenge, and your athletic performance can soar.
Help you set and achieve goals
Being more mentally resilient will free up your mental energy, helping you to set specific, achievable, and realistic goals. To be a great athlete, you need to be able to hold yourself accountable, and the positive self-esteem you’ll get from resilience training makes this possible.
Show you how much impact you have
When you become more resilient through resilient training, you learn that you’re the one who controls your life. While it’s easy to blame your other teammates when a game doesn’t go according to your hopes, with increased resiliency, you will think more about your own actions.
Focusing on what is within your sphere of influence, instead of everything that’s out of your control, is — in itself — a state of mind. Essentially, practicing resilience will show you how to be self-sufficient.
How to Practice Resilience Training
The Mayo Clinic states that the key to improving resilience is learning how to focus your awareness and attention. Becoming more disciplined with your intentions will help you keep your mind on what matters most, while letting negative thoughts go. Training your focus also comes with the benefit of decreasing anxiety and may also help with productivity. Working on any of the practices below will help you with increasing your resilience.
Change your view
The simplest way you can start resilience training is by learning how to reframe your thoughts or change your views. This can involve altering the way you perceive yourself, other people, events, or situations.
First, you have to become more conscious of how you’re judging the event, person, or situation; then you can choose a more beneficial or positive thought about it. Once something has happened, it’s happened, and you can’t change it. But when you change your view, you can decrease the odds of making the same mistake later.
Let go of what you can’t change
Every good athlete needs to be aware of what is and isn’t within their own sphere of influence. When you learn to define what you can control (how often you practice) and what you can’t (how seriously your teammates will take the game), you can devote your energy accordingly.
Without this awareness, it’s easy to get swept up in obsessive thoughts about situations that you have no influence over. Letting go of what you can’t change is a way to take back your power and direct your focus more beneficially, leading to better athletic performance.
Find a resilience model
Modeling is the process of observing someone who exhibits the behaviors we wish to develop and replicating their actions or thoughts. An example of this would be a basketball player looking up to Michael Jordan; reading his quotes, and modeling his behavior to become a better player.
While it’s important to be your own athlete, you can learn a lot from people you admire. Instead of doing everything on your own, you can look for the paths that other successful athletes have already taken and see what you can learn from them. From there, you’ll develop your own unique style.
Be committed to every part of the process
Not every aspect of sports is glamorous. A lot of it is downright strenuous and challenging. To improve with resilience training and become a great athlete, you have to be committed to more than just the glory. You have to commit entirely to every part of the sport; the sore muscles, the practices you don’t feel like attending, and the losses.
Make time for recovery
Mood, performance, and resilience are all closely related to how well you take care of yourself physically. Sports are demanding, and it’s important to take breaks and try not to wear yourself out. Pushing yourself too far or too hard can make you eventually burn out or want to give up. Plan ahead and take cool down periods and recovery meals seriously as part of your resilience training — and your performance will improve.
Be flexible and open to change
Being open to change and unexpected conditions are important aspects of resilience training. When you teach yourself to adapt to new situations, you’ll be ready instead of blindsided when disappointment strikes. Resilient athletes see unexpected road bumps as opportunities to learn and grow.
Practice believing in yourself
If you aren’t used to this, it may take a bit of practice, but believing in yourself is essential for gaining resilience. Since self-esteem is closely related to dealing with stress in a healthy way, it’s essential to keep your cool and remind yourself of your positive attributes often.
Many of us have a negative voice in our minds that repeats our mistakes and flaws to us. Practice noticing when this happens and replacing these comments with positive thoughts. Change occurs gradually, so don’t expect a massive shift overnight — but it’s well worth the effort.
Keeping a positive attitude during difficult times is no easy feat, but this is a must for being a successful athlete and developing resiliency. Optimistic thinking doesn’t mean lying to yourself or denying what needs work but instead believing in your ability to overcome adversity.
A person well-versed in resilience training can find meaning in difficulties. Positive thinking saves you time because you can immediately learn from your mistakes and become better each time something unexpected happens.
Accept that you will make mistakes
People who have mastered resiliency have decided that perfectionism isn’t the way to go. When you’re constantly expecting yourself to be perfect, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, leave some room for yourself to make mistakes and learn and build from your weaknesses.
Mastering a sport takes a lot of muscle memory, practice, willpower, and self-discipline. Give yourself a break while you’re improving at your game, keeping in mind that everything worthwhile takes time and effort, and don’t forget to have fun with it.
Resilience Training: Becoming the Master of Yourself
There’s a lot in life we can’t control, but resilience training will help you keep your focus on the things you can. Athletes have to learn how to stay present and focus on what they’re doing at the moment. It’s impossible to maintain this focus if your mind keeps replaying the mistake you made 15 minutes ago.
Would you rather stay caught up in these negative thoughts and make another mistake? Or snap right back into focus and do your best at your next practice or game? Allowing negative emotions and self-defeating thoughts to take over your mind won’t make you a better athlete — and it won’t do you any favors.
Resilience training will give you mental toughness; the ability to perform even under extreme pressure or stress. You can begin practicing the techniques given in this article each day and improving steadily over time. Each time you keep your cool and perform at your best, you’re succeeding whether or not you win the game. When you invest in yourself with resilience training, you will see results.