How to Build a Resilient Mindset for Peak Athletic Performance, Advice from Calgary, Alberta-based Sports Counsellors

athletes coaching shelly qualtieri sports sports counselling tips tips for athletes May 11, 2023
A coach on the field getting ready to mentor his sports team

Written by our team at Shelly Qualtieri & Associates




Have you ever witnessed a moment of defeat? Seen an athlete crumble under pressure, unable to pick themselves back up again? It's in these times of adversity that athletic resilience is of the utmost importance. Building mental fortitude and learning how to bounce back from setbacks can be the difference between winning and losing. And we want you to win not only in the game but in life!


As a team of sports counsellors who are passionate about supporting athletes on their mental health journeys, we understand that physical strength is only one aspect of reaching peak performance. Another crucial aspect is having a resilient mindset. Well, you may be asking yourself, "What does that mean exactly?" Essentially, it's the ability to overcome challenges and setbacks to improve success, but building this kind of mindset takes work. That's where sports counselling comes in!


Below, we'll discuss this in greater detail and share some of our top tips for building a resilient mindset both on and off the field. With sports counselling, building a resilient mindset is within your reach. So, let's gear up and dive into this life-changing conversation together!


The Importance of Athletic Resilience


Athletic resilience is all about cultivating mental fortitude and developing the ability to bounce back from adversity, setbacks, and even injuries. A resilient mindset can help you push through tough times both on and off the field, stay motivated, and focus on achieving your athletic and personal goals. Resilience is not only important for athletic performance, but also for mental health and overall well-being.


Stress, injury, and setbacks are all part of athletics, and it's important to be mentally prepared to face them. A resilient athlete can see setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning, and when you develop this, there's no limit to how far you can go.


Introducing Sports Counselling 


Sports counselling, which might also be referred to as "sports psychology," is a form of counselling that focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of sports performance. What happens in our sports counselling sessions is that we give athletes the tools needed to develop strategies to achieve peak performance while also addressing any mental health concerns related to sports.


But don't just take our word for it; according to the American Psychological Association, it has been shown that "sports psychologists help professional and amateur athletes overcome problems, enhance their performance, and achieve their goals."


The Benefits of Sports Counselling

Many professional athletes use sports counselling to help them manage the stress and pressure that come with competing at the highest level. But counselling isn't just for professional athletes. Athletes at all levels can benefit from working with a sports counsellor to improve their mental health and performance.


In fact, as briefly mentioned above, numerous studies show that sports counselling can help athletes improve their mental health, manage stress, and enhance their physical performance.


Studies have also found that sports counselling can:


  • Reduce anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related problems.
  • Enhance mental and physical performance by developing mental skills such as goal-setting, visualisation, and mindful breathing.
  • Promote self-awareness and emotional regulation.
  • Improve communication and team dynamics.
  • Help athletes manage injuries and recover from setbacks more effectively.


Building a Resilient Mindset: Tips and Strategies for Athletes


Now keep in mind that this is something that takes practice and consistency, but here are some strategies that can help you cultivate a resilient mindset.


Set realistic goals: Setting goals that are challenging but achievable can help you stay motivated and focused. Break your larger goals down into smaller, more achievable ones, and don't forget to celebrate your progress along the way.


Positive self-talk: The way we talk to ourselves can have a major impact on our mindset. Using positive self-talk can help build confidence and resilience. Instead of focusing on mistakes or setbacks, try reframing them as opportunities for growth!


Visualization: Visualising yourself succeeding can help build confidence and reduce anxiety. Take some time before competitions to visualise yourself performing at your best before you even step out onto the field.


Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you stay in the present moment and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement. Practising mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few deep breaths can help ease any performance-related anxiety.


Affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements that can help you build confidence and resilience by reinforcing your positive qualities. Start by writing down a few affirmations that resonate with you, and then read them aloud when you need a confidence boost!


To help with this, here are ten affirmations that you can say to yourself or share with your team members when a boost of confidence is needed to keep going:


  1. I am confident in my abilities.
  2. I choose to focus on the positive.
  3. I am stronger than my challenges.
  4. I embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.
  5. I am proud of my progress.
  6. I trust my training and preparation.
  7. I can bounce back from difficult situations and adjust to changes with ease.
  8. I can accomplish all of my goals.
  9. I am surrounded by a supportive team that cares about my well-being.
  10. I am grateful for the opportunity to compete.


And remember, whether you're facing a setback or simply want to enhance your performance, sports counselling can help you achieve your goals and improve your mental health in the process.




Building a resilient mindset is an essential component of achieving peak performance in athletics. By setting realistic goals, using positive self-talk, visualising success, and working with a sports counsellor, athletes can develop the mental tools and strategies necessary to overcome the challenges they face. 


If you're interested in learning more about sports counselling in Calgary, Alberta, don't hesitate to reach out to our team at Shelly Qualtieri & Associates Counselling & Coaching.


Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start the journey of being the most resilient athlete you can be. Lastly, remember that building resilience is a process, not a destination. Keep pushing forward, and you'll have what you need to grow mentally and physically stronger every day!


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