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Sport presents an opportunity for young people to experience the joys of success and cope with setbacks to develop resilient behaviours. However, there is a lack of clarity about how sport can cultivate resilience, particularly within a female youth gymnastics context. The purpose of this study was to investigate gymnast and coach perceptions about the development of resilience through gymnastics participation. Underpinned by a qualitative framework, 22 female gymnasts and seven gymnastics coaches participated in semi-structured interviews. Data analysis revealed that aspects of the gymnastics environment created stress and exposed gymnasts to many challenges in training and competition. Features of the sport environment, such as interpersonal relationships and positive coach behaviours, supported gymnasts through these challenges and encouraged them to overcome failure. Gymnastics participation was perceived to develop resilience, as well as life skills, self-efficacy, and selfesteem. The findings support the notion that youth sport may be an appropriate avenue for the development of resilience and have implications for future coaching practice.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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