In sports, the key to long-term success is resilience.
Resilience is the ability to perform, bounce back and achieve positive outcomes despite adversity.
Resiliency is the drive to perform despite the challenges or obstacles. Resiliency asks the question:
“Do you have what it takes to stay motivated, withstand the challenge, move forward, stay steadfast while pursuing your goal and come out triumphant?”
Resilience is a necessary mental skill for every athlete because adversity doesn’t discriminate. At multiple points in your career, there will be challenges to perform to your past level of sports performance.
According to the sport psychology world, athletes who demonstrate resiliency to adversity are more likely to reach set goals and achieve new performance levels.
New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez has faced tremendous adversity the past few years… Steadily declining performance since 2009, 40 years-old (which is old by baseball standards), two surgically repaired hip surgeries, a 17 month layoff, a humiliating suspension and facing scrutiny by the press and public
Alex Rodriguez has positively responded to the challenges to perform by writing a new chapter in his story. Rodriguez has destroyed opposing pitchers, helped the Yankees maintain the top position in their division and pulled off an improbable comeback.
Instead of focusing on all the distractions, Rodriguez has immersed himself in just playing baseball.
RODRIGUEZ: “What I want to do all year is just enjoy the game as much as I can… just glad to be back playing baseball.”
Resilient athletes focuses on what is possible, not what they have been through.
Positive Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity stated, “Resilient people mourn losses and endure frustrations, but they also find redeeming potential or value in most challenges.”
Resilient players use adverse circumstances as fuel to drive the sports performance in a positive direction.
Frederickson suggests giving yourself a reality check can improve your resiliency, drive and ability to perform.
FREDICKSON: “Say you find yourself ruminating on negative thoughts. For instance, ‘I’ll never succeed in my career.’ Ask yourself, ‘What’s the evidence that I’ll never succeed?’ You might say, ‘Well, there’s this history of success and this history of failure.’ How does that add up to never?”
Rodriguez’s drive comes from knowing he has performed successfully in the past and using adversity to springboard himself to present-day successful sport performance.
The Sports Performance Tool Box: Tips to Develop Resiliency and Drive
- Give yourself a reality check – Take Barbara Fredrickson’s advice and find the evidence to support that you can succeed.
- Push forward with positivism – Frederick states, “What matters most is your positivity ratio” and suggests finding three positive experiences for every negative one.
- Look through the windshield not the rear view mirror – Focus on where you are going, not what you have been through. Sport performance requires all your effort and attention in the present moment.