The final piece in the mental toughness jigsaw is resilience. Players scoring high in resilience have a great ability to bounce back strongly after any disappointment. Their confidence remains bulletproof for a long period of time, which protects them from the ups and downs of self-belief.
These players have a positive attitude towards the future. Resilience high players are focused on finding solutions and taking steps forward: Dwelling on problems is not something you will see in these characters.
These players experience disappointment, but they quickly move their focus on to regaining control and taking positive action.
My most Resilient player ever: P.D. Collingwood
Paul Collingwood has more resilience than any other player that I have worked with. Colly faced selection questions every time he played for England - particularly in the longest format - and my favourite examples of Collingwood's huge stores of resilience can be seen below:
- In the 2006/07 Ashes, Collingwood stood up to the Aussies when other England batters were being steam-rolled. He scored a dogged second innings 96 at the GABBA and then a career best 206 at the SACA five days later. Colly was often the only player that stood toe to toe with Australia in that one sided series.
- Colly lifted heavy England hearts with his trophy-winning performances in the CB Series of 2006/07. He scored 120 in a play-off match before dominating the three match finals with 106* and 70 in back to back matches.
- With his Test career on the line, Collingwood took South Africa to the cleaners with an aggressive 135 at Edgbaston in 2008. He was visibly emotional as he hit the 6 that took him to his first Test match ton in 26 Test innings, Colly saved his International career.
So, here are some resilience based coaching strategies to emulate those performances:
- I sometimes give a poor umpiring decision to test a player's resilience: A tight wide decision against a bowler or a dubious LBW in nets against a batter shows you how they react. Review the behaviours and subsequent performance shifts of the player to extract learning.
- Change the rules. Start a net with one set of rules; let them get into the session and then change them completely. See which players accept and move on, which ones get flustered quickly. Again, review behaviours and reactions to impact upon future performance.
- Video body language/verbal language following a setback. This is great in matches especially. Start the video straight after a batter plays and misses, a bowler gets hit out of the park or a fielder drops a catch. Do they come back quickly with their same intent, focus and bulletproof confidence or not? Often, the visual impact of the video is enough, especially if someone has displayed poor resilience to a setback. There are no coaching words required. The camera never lies.
- Use opportunities such as poor performance, non-selection and injury as a catalyst for developing resilience. I use examples of performers who have come back from poor form, being dropped, injury and then gone on to been hugely successful.
- After Bagging a pair on Test debut, it took Graham Gooch 36 Test innings to register his first Test ton. Gooch went on to score 20 Test match 100's averaging 42.58.
- F1 racing driver, Niki Lauda almost died after a crash at the Nürburgring in 1976. He raced again within 6 weeks and won his second of 3 World Titles the following year.
- Michael Jordan was not selected for his High School basketball team because he was deemed to be too small. Jordan is now widely regarded as greatest basketball player of all time.
Build your own resilient role model list. Make them relevant to your playing group and the resilience based learning will be fast tracked.