In the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs there is always talk about resiliency and the necessity of this tangible attribute in order to succeed. What makes resliency more of a psychological component to success is the fact that it is difficult to measure (as is the case with most psychological componenets of sport). Resiliency in sport is not only accustomed to hockey. Take for example the 2013 PGA Travelers Tournament Champion Ken Duke. At 44 years old Ken Duke won his first PGA tournament this June. Pretty remarkable when you think that in most cases as a society we judge success by the outcome and for Ken Duke to stick with it is a great story in resiliency. Other great examples just recently include the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) wining streak to sneak back into the playoff race and yes – the Miami Heat winning game 7 of the NBA playoffs.
Although resiliency may be difficult to measure, we can build it in our athletes that are trying to reach or maintain high performance. Here are a few keys in establishing resiliency in performers.
Establish Strong Confidence Routes
In order to be resilient, athletes and those looking to achieve high performance must engage strong confident beliefs. Ususally we see strong confidence in professional, olympic and high end leaders because they understand that setbacks may occur and they have the ability to overcome them. We see less resilient individuals in amateur sports because they are not quite as confident in their ability to overcome set backs. So how do you create this ablity? The answer is simple: Put yourslef in positions to test yourself in practice or conditioning and have strong focus points on the details. Furthurmore, self-talk can be used both in skill building, motivation and confidence.
During the post game celebrations of the Stanley Cup, Patrick Kane (Conn Smythe Winner) discussed the fact that you “have to enjoy the process”. Probably what we fail to elaboarte on is the fact the the process towards success involves good and bad. This so called process, and the enjoyment of it, involves athletes to make a concious effort towards their strengths and to be honestly self aware of where their weaknesses lies. Mark Katz (Psychologist based out of San Diego) states that individuals must let go of poor or mediocre performances and find ways to improve (honest self awareness and a concious effort required). These aspects contribute to your work ethic and is a skill all succesful endeavors must have.
Speaking of the process, Solomon and Becker (2004) created a four-step process which athletes can use to deal with performance errors. The sequence is as follows.
A = Acknowledge the error and the frustration it has caused
R = Review the play and determine how and why the error occurred
S = Strategize a plan to make the necessary corrections for the future
E = Execute and prepare for the next play
The important aspect of the Solomon and Becker (2004) four step process is that it allows the athlete to stay process focussed in the moment of a setback (a turnover, missed shot, error etc) which in turns does not allow the mistakes to steam roll and emotions to get the best of you.