Teams need psychological readiness ahead of competition


Published on 07/06/2009

AL Gondi

The world over, it is recognised in sports that individual success at an elite level consists of multiple factors that interplay in a co-ordinated manner.

This is true especially in high performance sport. Apart from individual talent and expert coaching to nurture talent, achieving and maintaining an edge over other competitors requires a comprehensive medical, scientific, and welfare support.

Welfare support includes infrastructure to minimise risk of injuries and maximise results. For such a system to be in place, we need a conducive atmosphere and a lot of funding.

Therefore for our sports to be of international repute, the Government must be involved.

Of late, our psychological preparedness has been in the limelight.

Psychological Skills

Psychological skills are so important in high performance and they include goal setting, task-orientation and focus, visualization, relaxation, and positive self-talk.

The key to optimise an athlete’s active cooperation and adherence is to understand that an athlete is a human being and be treated humanely.

Recent wrangles in football does not auger well for the psychological training of our team. The football management team, be it clubs, federations, coaches, or the Government, aim a little bit on who runs football in Kenya, must realise that the players who were removed from the national training camp are so psychologically traumatised and socially dejected.

The simple reason is that managers of football cannot sit round the table and solve the issues of training programs.

As I was writing this piece, the nation was informed that the coach is not travelling with the team since he had not been paid. This is the best way to demoralise a team psychologically.

It has, however, emerged that the coach has joined the team after being issued with an authentic cheque. Let me even not mention that the team went on strike because of non-payment of allowances.

Crying Foul

Secondly Athletics Kenya is already crying foul over lack of support from the Government. There is no known nation which has hosted major tournaments without support of the Government.

My main concern here is the purchase of the equipment and renovation of facilities. It is a well documented that athletes need the right equipment, the perfect arenas to practice to avoid the risk of injuries and to perform maximally.

As a hosting nation, we should train in perfect conditions and well in advance.

The reason for advance training is that an athlete requires plenty of time to be rehabilitated incase of injury.

An injured athlete tends to develop depression and they need time to be with the medical team, the coaches, and even the family, as they require psychological intervention and social support.

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