Vinluan: Is mental training necessary?

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By Bobby Vinluan

Sports Psychology

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


TRAINING in sports involves months and even years of preparation to achieve the physical conditioning needed by the athlete in his field of sports.

But just as important is the mental aspect of training; remember the mind is like a muscle, the more it is trained, the sharper it gets in conditioning the mind for the big game.

Nowadays, sport is a science and if you happen to know, elite athletes even are training under a team of professional coaches.

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They have coaches who specialize in different fields like strength and conditioning, physical therapists, sports nutritionists, sports psychologists etc. that the athletes work with.

Working with professional coaches is indeed proven, like Manny Pacquiao’s success in the ring or Russia’s domination of practically most of the sports in the 50’s and 60’s Olympic games, proved that working with pro coaches locally and in world class events have better results because of the world-class techniques and training they provide.

One of the most important part of training that athletes should have is mental conditioning or sports psychology that has become an integral part of athletes training in the world.

However, even if sports officials and sports leaders have an intellectual understanding of sports psychology, very few understand the mechanics and dynamics of its application.

On the contrary, its application is appreciated; however, coaches and psychologists sometimes still believe in short cuts by doing team building activities or counselling in a short time or even pep talks, which they consider to be enough in preparing an athlete for a major competition.

Mental conditioning on the other hand is a combination of disciplines from Zen to eastern techniques of mental conditioning, up to the modern type of psychology. Its dynamics must include a program from preparations that focuses on training or even tailor made training programs which depend on who the stakeholders are, either, team or individual athletes.

Mental conditioning comes within the duration of physical training, but as an event approaches, athletes begin to feel and think more motivated and emotionally inclined for the game where winning or losing is improbable, this raises their frustration tolerance.

Further, athletes must think focused on the game, and free themselves from any other aspect that will deviate their concentration of the game and in fact, having mental training and conditioning in sports provide the athlete with the needed winnability IQ, to build a higher standard of expectations towards excellence.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 01, 2014.

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