There is a basic difference between a common man and an athlete. When the average man gets time off work, it makes them happy. On the other hand, the work for an athlete is also his or her passion and they have carefully nurtured it over the years. So, when they are unable to work (in their case play), it rattles their mental stability.
With the pandemic of the Corona Virus showing no signs of ending, it is an uphill task for sportspersons and athletes across various fields to keep themselves mentally fit. In this article, we will be speaking about the importance of mental health for athletes and the methods they are adopting to stay stable in these harsh times.
The problems for Indian athletes:
Many athletes have been cleared to represent India at the Olympic Games. Others are involved with other sports and irrespective of their status, they are all currently cooped up in their houses. They have this crazy urge to train and yet they cannot even step out of their houses, let alone visit the training centers. Anxiety and fear regarding the future of their careers are creeping in and that is the last thing that a sportsperson wants.
Importance of confidence and mental strength in sports:
One might be prompted to think that most of the sports involve physical activities. So, as long as a player is skilled in his game, mental health might not seem important. Think again! Experts suggest that there is more to mental strength when it comes to sports than we can imagine. Haven’t you heard of the saying that first, you have to win it in your mind? Turns out, it is true. Richard Collenge, head of medical services at West Ham United recently said in an interview with Betway, that a player must be both physically and mentally fit to return to action.
An athlete who does not believe that he can win will never win. The sportsperson who is not confident and relaxed will not perform to his potential. So clearly, mental health is extremely important in every sport and as has been discussed, it has been rattled since the lockdown announcements.
Sports Counselors and their important roles:
Ever since people understood and valued the importance of mental health, they started appointing sports counselors and mental rehabilitation coaches for players. Gone are the days when seeking help for mental issues were frowned upon and currently most important teams and players around the world have their mental conditioning coach.
There has never before been a time when they were more important. The lockdown has demoralized many players and this has allowed the counselors to step in and take the matter in their hands. A popular Indian athlete, Neeraj Chopra, is now being trained to mentally prepare for the competitions that are lined up. His counselor has advised him to not stress upon when the sporting activities would begin and instead focus on the task at hand.
Another prominent counselor Gayatri Madkekar, who has been a sportswoman herself back in the day, has an interesting take on this matter. She has revealed how the athletes are struggling with concerns about gaining weight or losing their form. This is not allowing them to remain stable and she has even revealed how the Olympian boxer Vikas Krishnan was almost losing his mind over not being able to train for such a long period.
These counselors are accounting for their physical constraints and advising them to do whatever is capable of their houses. They are trying to keep the athletes busy with tasks and asking them to abide by their dietary restrictions. The trick, experts believe, is to accept that they would be 50-60% down by the time the lockdown ends. It is then that they have to start rebuilding and till then it is best to treat the break as a maintenance period.
We offer to whatever that comes our way and no matter how hard it may seem to be, the Corona epidemic too shall be dealt with. As for the athletes, thankfully in today’s day and age, they have the facilities and technology to better deal with the situation. To negotiate this rough patch, the help of the sports counselor is playing a big role and we sincerely hope that their efforts pay off and they get to play professional sports as soon as possible.