Exploring the coach's role in fostering resilience in elite athletes
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Although resilience in sports has become a growing topic of research, little is known about how this capacity should be fostered or developed. Furthermore, as strategies to develop resilience are generally formulated in function of sport psychologists, less attention has been paid to coaches, who might play an important role in developing and sustaining athletes' resilience through their day-to-day interactions. The purpose of the present study was, therefore, to explore how coaches can foster resilience. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 4 elite athletes, 4 elite-level coaches, and 2 sport psychologists. Thematic analysis revealed 6 major themes reflecting resilience training strategies. Three themes reflected proactive (i.e., before the occurrence of a stressor) strategies (i.e., fostering motivation, mental preparation, and promoting life balance) and 3 themes reflected reactive (i.e., after the occurrence of a stressor) strategies (i.e., evaluating setbacks, promoting a positive mindset, and implementing lessons). Furthermore, the use and effectiveness of these strategies were believed to be influenced by coaches' interpersonal skills (i.e., quality of coach±athlete relationship and an individualized approach).