Train Your Mind to Overcome Covid Impact avers Psychological Expert during an International Webinar organized by Amity University
New Delhi: As sportspersons across the world make their way back into the sporting fields sans the audience, experts believe that it is going to be a huge change in the way sports is played and viewed. An international webinar ‘A Psychological Analysis of Sports Performance: A Post Covid Scenario’ was organized by Amity University to deliberate on the impact this changed scenario will have on the sportspersons. Ms. Sanjana Kiran, Senior Psychologist & Director of A-Game and Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj, Sports Analyst and Broadcaster – ABSE (Ashish Bhardwaj Sports Education) shared their views on the various aspects and impact of the changes being introduced in the sporting arenas and the psychological support that needs to be given to them.
Dr. Kalpana Sharma, Director, Amity School of Physical Education and Sports Sciences (ASPESS) welcomed the speakers and elaborated on the theme of the webinar. She averred that it’s important to understand perspectives of athletes and sportspersons and give psychological support to them who are waiting to go back to the field.
Ms. Sanjana Kiran shared her thoughts on the psychology of performance; impact of COVID on psychology of performance when sporting life resumes in the new normal and can the probable negative impact be prevented. She averred that the aim of an athlete is to attain peak performance and needs mental resilience to achieve that. An athlete needs to manage stress, anxiety; be self-confident which depends on self-efficacy; focus; optimum levels of motivation; consistence performance and right achievement orientation of wanting to perform their best. She stated that the impact of Covid on an athlete depends on their reaction to the pandemic situation which could be Frustration, anger, postponement of plans and even happiness to find more time to train.. She added that while some may feel ready as they have managed to stay confident, motivated, have performed consistently and stayed injury free, there are a majority who feel underprepared. She attributed this to having wrong achievement orientation; low physical strength, motivation & confidence; facing distractions or having acquired injuries.
Sharing her views on whether the negative impact can be prevented, Ms. Kiran stated that it cannot be entirely achieved but the damage can be reduced. She called upon the sportsperson to have optimism & gratitude; accept the situation & focus on controllable factors. She further added that it’s important for an athlete to re-discover, re-invent; stay fit & healthy by having a daily routine; use mental rehearsal to visualize training to strengthen muscle memory, spend time with family and take up hobbies to get the best of the situation. She advised engaging sportspersons with special needs, giving them manageable work or activities, and allowing them some movement during conversations to facilitate growth of their brain. She also suggested sportspersons to be positive and not compare themselves with anyone else or their scenario with another country.
Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj shared his talk on competition and training and averred that major events like Champions League, Series between England and Pakistan and the soon to commence Indian Premier League have live audience missing due to COVID. He also shared example of a senior player becoming COVID positive just before the IPL causing mental anxiety to the player and his team along with the financial impact of having bench strength to be used in such a scenario. He stated that playing without a crowd is impacting the revenue stream and would be a difficult scenario for players to stay motivated and perform well. Mr. Bhardwaj further averred that training camps have resumed now and stressed on the need to follow the SOP’s set by the various related agencies to allow safe training. He stated on the importance of a sports psychologist in the present scenario to assist the athletes, coaches, and the support staff. The session was well-attended by students, staff, and faculty members.