MENTAL or psychological readiness is as important as nutrition and physical preparation for every athlete.
Doctor of Psychology Katrina Trinidad of St. Luke's Medical Center, in one of the Sports Science seminars organized by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Sports Institute (PSC-PSI), cited psychological attributes as pertaining to confidence, concentration, consistency and control. Most of these attributes seemed to be absent in most of the Gilas Pilipinas players and coaches and few Australia Boomers who figured in the controversial brawl during their first round clash in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan Monday evening, July 2.
Losing control of one's emotions showed how ill-prepared the players, including Gilas coaches, were psychologically. How to overcome bullying, taunting, intimidation and racist remarks before, during and after every game is part of mental training as these, most often than not, are a given especially in a spectacle as the Fiba World Cup qualifiers.
They just simply lost control when they could have overlooked the insult and continued on with the game at hand just like what Gilas players June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood and Davao City's very own Baser Amer did. The three played not as their own but as Filipino athletes worthy to don the country's colors. They were there with a mission to play for the flag and for Filipinos around the world, not to nurse hurt egos nor get even with bullies.
Meanwhile, Olympic boxing coach Roel Velasco, in a recent interview, said an athlete's training preparation includes 40 percent nutrition, 40 percent physical conditioning and 20 percent sports psychology. Every national boxer has regular sessions with a psychologist and it becomes more frequent when an international tournament nears. The three components are vital and neglecting even one of these would jeopardize the athlete's performance and health.
Dr. Trinidad, for her part, also said that character is a choice. It is part of the seven essentials she shared for an athlete to succeed along with belief, initiative and responsibility, focus, preparation, practice and perseverance.
"Doing the right thing despite adversity and trials in life," she said, is what character is all about.
Amer, who also plays for PBA team Meralco Bolts, along with Fajardo and Norwood exuded the character befitting a national athlete.
Amer, the last man standing during the game after Fajardo and Norwood were fouled out, quoted former American president Richard Nixon, "A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits!" when he posted a photo of the three of them on his social media accounts.
Now, that is character.