Sport Psychology: Resilience

Sport Psychology: Resilience

Resilience, or “mental toughness,” is a key psychological aspect of sport. The ability to bounce back from a poor performance or a detrimental mistake is crucial to an athlete’s success. As much as athletes hate to admit it, failure is a part of the game.

I recommend 3 of my favorite books on resilience.

I’ve been interested in resilience since 2016. I wanted to learn more about how people recover from setbacks and major changes in identity.

I started by thinking about athletes recovering from major losses, enduring injury, or facing retirement. This was partly fueled by my own participation in athletics (competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu last year, coping with chronic aches) and as a spectator (the mental or psychological preparation or fallout in Rhonda Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm, Rose Namajuna’s self-management which helped her dethrone Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Megan Rapinoe’s sense of self-driven purpose).

Jim Afremow, The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive.

Full length article here 👉 via Resilience through Sports Psychology, Heartbreak, and Mindfulness — R+D


  1. This is a great and detailed article. I was a college athlete and fear does not improve performance. I really feel that we should look deeply in the psychological issues of athletes, honestly a lot of them face fear and anxiety the most.

    1. Your experience and insight on the matter is appreciated. I’ve been in contact with lots of athletes, and my husband, who is one of them, to see that paying more attention to the psychological factor, resilience, performance and an overall happiness increases once you start applying psychological strategies. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us ! 🙏

  2. I’m a former college athlete (division two soccer) and half-way through my senior year I had a career ending injury (3rd degree ac joint separation). I had to watch my teammates suffer through a challenging season; which lead to depression. Once I graduated I needed to find something new to be competitive in and picked up running. I was a decent runner and developed a new passion. Then I had re-occurring knee injuries (tore my meniscus three times) and was diagnosed with knee degeneration. I tried biking but it didn’t provide that spark, so I’m still searching for that next passion. Each setback brings a new challenge. I try to bring the same competitive spirit with me at work. Life is full of setbacks, it’s all in how you respond.

  3. Being a former professional baseball player an interesting reason many other athletes excelled appeared.

    We were driven by fear of failure

    Loss, ridicule, or the disappointment of teammates drove us.

    My father drive me, criticized me as his way of motivation.

    Fear of loss terrified many.

    Babe Ruth enjoyed every minute of his career

    Lou Gehrig did not think he was good enough

    He never missed a game for most of his career

    His fear of loss drove him to devote all his effort while the Babe drank, caroused with women and raised hell without a care in the world.

    Fear of failure should be studied in pro sports

Share your thoughts, leave a comment below!