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Mental Health and Sports Psychology at the forefront

Published on 23rd of Apr, 2020

Understanding the application of Sport Psychology to training and competition is an integral part of being an athlete. Each year the IAS continues to build on the manner in which it can best be presented to developing athletes and the series that we have put together with David Barracosa from Condor Performance in 2020 is shaping to be the most comprehensive program yet. Previous athletes have identified just how important the principles of psychology are in their development and recognise that performance improvements come when athletes can best manage and control their emotions, anxiety and actions.  

This series, in a first for Regional Academies, will be rolled out to athletes from each of the nine Regional Academies across NSW. The interactive webinars focus on the five areas that enable mental toughness.  

The series kicked off with an added prequel on ‘Managing the Coronavirus’ provided athletes with tips for accountability, dealing with emotions and stress associated with this difficult time. 

Prior to the three-week Mental Toughness education webinars, IAS athletes completed a Mental Toughness Questionnaire. The confidential questionnaire goes directly back to Condor Performance and provides a snapshot of current mental strengths and weaknesses. In another first, the questionnaire can give an indication of those athlete that may be "at risk" allowing Condor Performance to directly contact the identified "red flagged" athletes and provide additional assistance to those with genuine mental health concerns if required. The updated Medicare Benefits Scheme allows for individual tele-health sessions with the Condor Performance psychologists to assist with these issues and the work that can be done with them focusing on mental health  and wellbeing while also targeting improvements in the mental aspects of sport and performance. 

Each webinar has had in excess of 250 live participants from across all Regional Academies of Sport. All participants have the opportunity to engage in exercises and ask questions.  

“It is great for the athletes to be questioned and challenged with reflecting on their own traits,” Athlete, Coach and Program Manager, Dane Robinson said. "The athletes are provided with processes and mechanisms to implement in their training, competition and general life.” 

“The webinar helped me to be able to understand my emotions and thoughts more, and how they can affect my games and training,” one athlete relayed.  

Another athlete said, “The webinars have been extremely useful. I have learnt to accept my emotions better and how to turn stress, anger and anxiety into a positive feeling.” 

During this uncertain time, it is a great opportunity to improve as an athlete in different capacities. Next week the webinar will delve into the final topic of “focus”.