Defining and characterizing team resilience in elite sport

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Abstract

Objectives:

The objectives of this study were to develop a definition of team resilience and to identify the resilient characteristics of elite sport teams.

Design and method:

Focus groups consisting of a total of 31 participants were conducted with five elite teams from a range of sports. An interpretive thematic analysis using inductive and deductive reasoning was employed to analyze the data.

Results and conclusions:

Team resilience was defined as a dynamic, psychosocial process which protects a group of individuals from the potential negative effect of the stressors they collectively encounter. It comprises of processes whereby team members use their individual and combined resources to positively adapt when experiencing adversity. Findings revealed four main resilient characteristics of elite sport teams: group structure, mastery approaches, social capital, and collective efficacy. This study extends resilience research in sport psychology by providing greater conceptual clarity of resilience at a team level. The implications of the findings for those conducting research in this area and for those consulting with elite sport teams are discussed.

Highlights

▸ This study provides greater conceptual clarity of resilience at a team level. ▸ A definition of team resilience in elite sport was generated through focus groups. ▸ Findings revealed four main resilient characteristics of elite sport teams. ▸ The findings have practical implications for practitioners operating in elite sport.

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