Exploring the Impact of a Global Pandemic (COVID-19) on Factors Impacting the Resilience of Top-Tier London Hockey Players

Philippa Boag Sharland, Justin Haroun, Ayazullah Safi (Corresponding / Lead Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Introduction. The cessation of all professional and amateur sport due to the COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic effect on the mental and physical capacity of the United Kingdom populace, but its impact was arguably felt more deeply by the athletic population. Thus, this research explored which limiting factors were experienced by team hockey players during the national lockdowns (1.0–3.0) with the objective of enabling coaches and team management to better support and protect players’ physiological and psychological resilience in return to play. Methods. Data were collected over 12 weeks during the 3rd UK lockdown (March 2021) from two top-tier London clubs. Hockey players (n = 63) completed an online questionnaire that included validated tests for self-compassion, sport motivation, and a custom open-ended style qualitative questionnaire on nutrition and lifestyle behaviour. Mean self-compassion, motivation scores, and common indicative limiting factors were evaluated and ranked according to significance. Results. High “rebound resilience” was found with low amotivation scores (m = 8.33) and strong affinity for their sport identifying with the statement “because participation in my sport is an integral part of my life” with correspondingly high integrated regulation scores (m = 21.43). Participants’ self-compassion showed the highest scores in mindfulness (m = 3.66) and lowest in self-kindness (m = 2.84) indicating a common trait in athletes for self-criticism. The highest limiting factor was cited as “no social outlets, social interactions, or seeing friends and family”. Conclusion. This study revealed the critical role that social connectedness plays in promoting resilience and enhancing motivation in return to play during extremely challenging circumstances. When the social outlet is absent, enhancing resilience factors with mindfulness, self-compassion, and the creation of a more facilitative environment where player welfare takes priority are potential strategies to support players when they are unable to participate in their sport.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages15
    JournalHindawi Journal of Sports Medicine
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 7 Jul 2023


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