Tag Archive for 'Schinke'

Back to field, how the training without competition?

These are trying times in any professional field and even sport has had to stop in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.These first two months of lockdown at home have been really hard for those who are used to spend their days engaged in intense and prolonged training or to travel and participate in competitions. Who better spent this unique time in everyone’s life? Probably those who have managed to make sense of their days by recreating their habits and activities within the walls of their homes. For example, from Cristiano Ronaldo to the young junior athletes, to follow a program of physical preparation has been an important moment of their daily life, representing a bridge between yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I have already written in other posts about the importance of mental training and watching videos of one’s own performances and those of other athletes. It was a different way of training, not simply doing “something”, to improve physically, mentally and from a technical-tactical point of view. The evaluation that I have taken from the information received by the athletes I work and mainly related to three sports (shooting, tennis and table tennis) is that having followed training programs at home in a regular and daily way has allowed to restart training on field in a very positive way and with a perception of fluidity and effectiveness of their technical and tactical actions.

Now opens the next phase, characterized by the restart of training on field but without the competitions, whose opening times will vary greatly in different disciplines. Starting from this total uncertainty about the opening to competitions, the athletes could train for a very long period, maybe even more than 100 days without participating in official competitions. This situation is also totally new and will have to be set up following a different approach from the usual one. A group of international experts working in contact with athletes preparing for the Olympics has highlighted an increase in problems related to sleep reduction, reduced appetite, increased fixed thoughts of worry, loneliness and fear that the current uncertainty could lead to the loss of the Olympic moment (Schinke et al., 2020).

In these cases, the consultation provided had the goal to listen to the athletes thoughts and feelings, encouraging them to express their fears, frustrations, before coming to prepare to provide solutions. Openness also meant encouraging a clear flow of communication between athletes and those who work with them in their sports organizations. This has served to strengthen relationships and unify the members of each team and to have constructive discussions. This openness has gone beyond working with mental performance consultants and it has also served to support the relationship with friends and family. Openness has meant much more than a sports-focused discussion, and it has extended to issues related to the basic human condition, such as healthy living, eating, sleeping and thinking about one’s life in global terms.

We live in a stormy time and certainly concerns about our human condition need to be listened to and oriented in a constructive way, and this is a role that sports psychologists have to play in relation to athletes, coaches and sports organizations. At the same time, there is another aspect of psychological counselling linked this time to training cycles. Today, which mental aspects should be trained, the same as always and in the same way or it would be more functional to this period to train mentally in a different way, devoting more time to the stabilization of skills to which less attention is usually paid (e.g., among the others breathing in the different moments of the training, pause management,  mindset at the beginning of the training, proprioceptive awareness, mind aspects of the warm-up), because most of the mental preparation is oriented to meet the needs of the competition calendar.