Developing Team Resilience: A Season-Long Investigation of a National League Winning Semi-Professional Rugby Union Team

Morgan, Paul BC, Fletcher, David and Sarkar, Mustafa (2017) Developing Team Resilience: A Season-Long Investigation of a National League Winning Semi-Professional Rugby Union Team. In: 32nd Annual Conference for the 'Association for Applied Sport Psychology’, 18-21 October 2017, Orlando, Florida.

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Recent research (Morgan, Fletcher, & Sarkar, 2013; 2015) has provided greater definitional and conceptual clarity of resilience at the team level (i.e., what team resilience is) and explained key underpinning psychosocial processes (i.e., how a resilient team functions). Despite the growing interest in team resilience in the sport psychology literature, an understanding of how it can be developed has yet to be explored. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate team resilience development in competitive sport. Through prolonged fieldwork, a season-long ethnography (11 months) was conducted to achieve an in-depth investigation of team resilience development during the stressors encountered. The sample consisted of a leading English national league-winning semi-professional rugby union team (n = 27 participants). Multiple data collection methods were employed (i.e., observation, interviewing, field notes, reflexive diary) as part of a holistic ethnographic approach. Following an iterative process of data analysis, the findings revealed a number of strategies for team resilience development which were abstracted into five themes: Inspiring, motivating, and challenging team members to achieve performance excellence; developing a team regulatory system based on ownership and accountability; cultivating a team identity and togetherness based on a selfless culture; exposing the team to challenging training and unexpected/difficult situations; and promoting enjoyment and keeping a positive outlook during stressors. Cultural expressions and folk terms were also identified to illuminate the context of the ethnography. This study advanced team resilience research by identifying key psychosocial strategies that mobilize a team’s coordinative adaptive resources throughout a season in accordance with the stressors it encounters, and as part of building a resilient team culture. The findings provide practitioners with a platform for creating team resilience interventions in competitive sport teams.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2017 16:57
Last Modified: 30 May 2018 15:07

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