Vulnerability: Ripples From Reflections on Mental Toughness

in The Sport Psychologist

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Mark A. UphillCanterbury Christ Church University

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Brian HemmingsSt Mary’s University

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The aim of this paper is to present a critical reflection on mental toughness using a creative analytic practice. In particular, we move from intrapersonal technical reflections to an altogether more interpersonal cultural analysis that (re)considers some of the assumptions that can underpin sport psychology practice. Specifically, in the ripples that extend from these initial technical reflections, we argue that it is important to understand vulnerability, and consider (a) wounded healers, (b) the ideology of individualism, and (c) the survivor bias to help make sense of current thinking and applied practice. Emerging from these ripples are a number of implications (naming elephants, tellability, neoliberalism) from which sport psychologists may reflect upon to enhance their own practice. In making visible the invisible, we conclude that vulnerability can no longer be ignored in sport psychology discourse, research, and practice. Should this story of vulnerability resonate, we encourage you, where appropriate to share this story.

Uphill is with the Section of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury. Hemmings is with the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK.

Address author correspondence to Mark Uphill at mark.uphill@canterbury.ac.uk.
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