© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

All Blacks Manager and Mental Skills Coach says resilience is a 'set of skills, not a personality type'

Charlotte Grimwood
Caleb Jordan
Caleb Jordan, 17, in jersey number nine playing for Linwood Rugby Club. Supplied by Michelle Nicholls Sports Photography

Flicking and scrolling through social media sites can hold a prominent place in athletes lives and it is important to know how to manage it.

New Zealand has a rugby culture like no other, and with this, the pressure to perform carries through from amateur to professional stages of the sport. 

Linwood Rugby Club player Caleb Jordan aspires to become a professional rugby player. 

Jordan said social media had a big impact and there could be backlash if you were not performing and getting results.

He said the biggest pressure was not letting himself and his team down.

"Playing for Linwood Club has a good community and family vibe. That’s what really makes me want to continue playing rugby," Jordan said.

Jordan met his idol Jono Kitto earlier this year, who also played at Linwood Rugby Club and currently has a contract overseas with Worcester Warriors in Premiership Rugby. Jordan admired how Kitto's approach to everything was so professional.

"He welcomes you with both arms out and is very caring."

Jordan said that's what he aspires to be like when he reaches that stage.

All Blacks Manager and Mental Skills Coach Gilbert Enoka said most of the players that are involved in franchises around the country are exposed to quite extensive training.

Franchises have a professional development manager and part of their role is giving players skill sets to enable them to manage the demands that occur in the life of a professional rugby player. Each franchise has a mental skills coach who has a role in equipping the players to manage the waves of stress.

“The scrutiny is greater now because social media is so prevalent that every act and every action can be captured. They can be posted in a way that reaches many people in the world reasonably quickly,” Enoka said.

Players understand when they become professionals expectations of them are greater because of the positions they hold.

When people are out and about their behaviour and actions are scrutinized far more than five years ago, Enoka said.

"The modern players, these days, have got to have good control over how they use that medium".

The key thing is that resilience is a "set of skills, not a personality type." Skills don’t make people immune to the impacts, but they can help dampen the intensity in times of pressure, Enoka said.