The mind can be for athletes, as for humans in general, a powerful ally or at the same time a damaging brake. Training the mind to remain "healthy" is therefore as important as physical training. The Mental Sports Coach is a key figure to optimize performance.
He is a motivator but is not limited to simply finding the right triggers to just strengthen the will, or to insist that "You can do it". Here enters the wider role of the Mental Coach: to manage pre- and post-race pressures, stimulate concentration, increase attention and create a winning mentality.
The performance of an athlete may vary from day to day and this not only because there is a change in the technical skills but also because his/her mood will inevitably affect performance as well. Body, mind and emotions are closely linked to each other and that's why the Mental Sports Coach joins the technical staff working with the individual athlete and/or with the team, in order to add adequate mental preparation to the tactical preparation.
The Mental Coach does not work using tricks, but plans work based on the real needs of the athlete and the results are actually measurable. If followed with constancy and continuity, the mental workouts can increase sports performance even over 50%. He works to identify the points of weakness and strengths, thus setting the objectives and the deadlines to achieve those. Often situations of stress and nervousness help to concentrate forces thus creating an energy higher than normal. What does this mean? Do you have to be stressed in order to succeed? There are two types of stress: Eustress, which is a positive stress, and Distress which is a negative stress. Good stress stimulates success, while Distress creates suffering and we would like to avoid this. Scientific studies have demonstrated that Distress may have many negative effects on various organs of our body. The Mental Sports Coach helps the athlete to handle both types of stress that occur in everyday life, and thereby supports him/her in overcoming insecurities and inner difficulties.
The Mental Coach can also promote and strengthen communication and team spirit in the group when working with the entire team. His value can be maximized when working with coaches, supporting them and making the most of their skills.
Paolofabrizio De Luca
Sports Psychologist - Football Players' Agent - FIFA