“Effective mental preparation can improve one’s sport performance even by 90%”, says the mental coach Slavomira Gazdikova
Mental coach Slavomira Gazdikova in an interview for Slovak TV said that mental training has recently become more demanded by sport specialists, however it is still not enough.
Nowadays, a greater emphasis is put on mental preparation of individuals and teams in ice-hockey than it has ever been. Effective mental preparation can improve one’s sport performance even by 90% in some cases. Mental coach Slavomira Gazdikova in the interview for TV mentioned that mental training has recently become more demanded by sport specialists, however it is still not enough.
Successful players learn how to maintain their focus on the performance
“Mental preparation is as important as physical preparation in the overall training process. It is necessary to prepare mind to play the game too. Successful players learn how to maintain their focus on the performance and not get distracted. They can handle high-pressure situations and they build self-confidence effectively. They learn how to be the most beneficial for the team either on the ice, in the cabin or on the bench. The players and the coaching staff need to be ready to perform and fully focused on the performance during the whole process of physical preparation. Games require to perform to the best of players’ abilities even when they are facing adverse and complicated personal problems. This means they need to be able to regulate their behaviour and attitude in all possible situations. Successful players need to be professionals with a clear goal and an understanding how it is achievable. When mentally preparing players we use the SportMind diagnostics that helps us to identify personality traits of athletes, their strong mental skills and areas for improvement. Based on the results of the diagnostics we create an individual plan and perform consultancy work with various activities. The goal of the consultancy work is to prepare the player to be able to fully concentrate on their performance and tasks when it truly matters,” Gazdikova described the character of mental preparation that was applied in the preparation of U18 Team before the World Championships.
Cooperation with the coaching staff is essential
According to Gazdikova it is important to work with players as well as the coaching staff. “It is necessary that all team members are on the same page and share a clear common goal. During our work with the U18 Team we intensively cooperated with the coaching staff to set an effective strategy and communication style. We also focused on motivating and developing players as individuals as well as on increasing team work. We then applied both types of mental preparation (individual and team) to the overall team functioning and team training.”
Young ice-hockey players ended their tour at the World Championships 2017 in the quarterfinals when they were beaten by the Russian Team during overtime. More than the final placement it was their active game playing that became an attractive topic for many discussions. Before the Championships the players had to deal with a huge pressure from the public and they needed to learn how to communicate with the media. “During the World Championships, especially as it was in Slovakia, the public was full of expectations. We ensured that the players knew what was ahead of them and we trained them to handle it appropriately. Life brings different situations, the mind can get easily distracted and our job was to train them how to stay focused on the performance no matter what happens during the tournament. Considering the achieved results I think we did a good job,” Gazdikova added.
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