Learning to Thrive: A Multi-Study Exploration of Factors that Optimize Hardiness in Sport Coaches and the Role of Reflective Practice in Facilitating Hardy Attitudes

Brendan Cropley, Lee Baldock, Sheldon Hanton, Daniel Gucciardi, Alan McKay, Rich Neil, Tom Williams

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Hardiness has been identified as a key personal characteristic that may moderate the ill-effects of stress on health and performance. However, little is known about how hardiness might be developed, particularly in sport coaches. To address this gap, we received institutional ethical approval to conduct two linked studies. First, interviews were completed with 13 pre-determined high-hardy, elite coaches to explore how they had developed their hardy dispositions. Utilizing thematic analysis, we identified that hardiness was developed through experiential learning, external support, and the use of coping mechanisms. Key to all themes was the concept of reflective practice, which was reported to facilitate more meaningful learning from the participants’ experiences and, subsequently, enhance the self-awareness and insight required to augment hardiness and its sub-components (control, challenge, commitment). Second, we investigated further the potential relationship between coaches’ reflective practices and their level of hardiness. Four hundred and two sport coaches completed the Dispositional Resilience Scale-15, the Self-Reflection and Insight Scale, and the Questionnaire for Reflective Thinking. Using latent profile analysis, we clustered participants into groups based on their reflective profiles (e.g., level of reflective thinking). We then examined differences in hardiness between the five latent sub-groups using multinomial regression. Findings revealed that the sub-group of highly-engaged, intentionally-critical reflective thinkers reported significantly higher levels of all three hardiness sub-components than all other sub-groups, whereas the profile of highly-disengaged, non-reflective, habitual actors reported the lowest level of all three dimensions. Collectively, our findings offer novel insights into the factors that may influence a coaches’ hardiness and provide support for the importance of reflective practice in helping coaches to develop hardy dispositions through augmenting its attitudinal sub-components. Our research provides a comprehensive insight into how coaches might be better trained and supported to demonstrate the adaptive qualities required to thrive in demanding situations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2023
EventAssociation for Applied Sport Psychology - Orlando, Orlando, United States
Duration: 18 Oct 202321 Oct 2023


ConferenceAssociation for Applied Sport Psychology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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