Coaches need to work closer with athletes to up their mental game

Says Emmerson Campbell

“Sport is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.”

One of the most overused clichés we often hear in discussions.

Yet most if not all local coaches and athletes spend 100 percent of their time working on the physical and fundamental aspects that relates to their respective disciplines.

By doing such they often neglect and ignore the one area that ultimately separates successful sportsmen and women from those who do not reach their full potential.

One such athlete who needs to work on the mental aspect of his craft is bronze medalist at last year’s CARIFTA Games, Jason Yaw.

The 6-foot-2-inch 16-year old is a gifted physical specimen of speed and power who was highly touted to finish on the podium again this year at the CARIFTA Games in Martinique.

However, according Sham Johnny, who was tasked with the head coaching job at the Easter weekend meet, Yaw lacks the self-confidence and killer instinct that separates champions from contenders.

After running a personal best time of 47.43 in the semis, Yaw ran more than a second slower (48.47) and finished fourth in the final which was won by Jamaica’s Martin Manley in 47.47.

“Jason breaks down easily” Johnny noted yesterday. “After he would have known the finalists, he didn’t believe in himself to medal and that shows a lack of self-confidence.

“We need to work with Jason in that department” the co-coach of Running Brave Athletic Club admitted.

Johnny was speaking from experience of the athlete he co-coaches but the truth is there are many local and international athletes who are just like Jason that need to work on the mental aspect of their game.

In reality, sport is 100 percent mental. Thoughts influences actions and our actions influence thoughts.

Throughout history, most if not all successful athletes are mentally tough as nails and are never short on confidence. Ask Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Brian Lara, Maurice Greene or Track and Field’s contemporary global superstar and entertainer, Usain Bolt.

Our coaches perhaps need to work closer with psychologists to help our athlete to up their mental game.

Notes: The silver and bronze medalists in the final of the under-18 boys 400m recorded times of 47.60 and 47.74 respectively. Slower than Yaw’s time in the semis.


Around the Web