Kevin Fine

Strive for a healthy mind

2005-03-11 13:20

Sport Psychology has been a myth for the longest time. Why does a player under perform at times, and what's going on inside his head?

It stands to reason that a healthy mind equals a healthy body, therefore increasing the potential to play at peak levels.

While there is always some luck involved, one cannot take away from the mind-body syndrome. Just as when everything's going well for you in your personal life, work is good and you can go through brick walls.

Sport for athletes is work, and case that are completely juxtaposed are the lives of Old John Mabizela and Ernie Els.

OJ the Bafana captain, the Spurs debutant who scored a cracker to give his side victory, the Buccaneer who inspired confidence has crumbled.

What really happened to him in England? Not every player is going to thrive under the heady conditions of the English Premier League.

OJ suffered the fate of many Brazilians who came expecting gold and riches, and left with their tail between their legs. But could he have been dragged out of the rut of missing home, our great weather, the cuisine, the local hangouts?

It seems we have lost a great sportsman unnecessarily.

Question is, who to point a finger at, the player, his management team, the club? Who's preparing our sportsman for greatness and managing their mental stability when they arrive on stages bigger than South Africa?

When one speaks of Ernie, it is only in the highest regard. A real mensch who mind you flew economy class to the Dubai Classic last week while his mate got the first class treatment.

Pushing the theory

Ernie would have missed the tournament due to airline logistics, and we would never have seen him pull of that amazing eagle putt to win the tournament for a third consecutive time.

After a torrid year of seconds the Big Easy slips into this mode and tears up the golf course, and his work on his mind control with professionals is well documented.

I believe it's imperative that all athletes striving for true greatness should take a whole forest out of his book.

Prof Tim Noakes of the Sports Science Institute has been pushing his theory that only the mind can take an athlete further than his physical capability.

We're seeing this every day with records being consistently broken in all arenas of sport.

But are all our sportsman making use of the professionals who have made a life out of dealing with player's problems off the field? Maybe it's time athletes started to take themselves more seriously...

Send your comments to Kevin or discuss this column now in our debating forum.

  • Kevin presents "Kevin's Rise N Fine" - the weekend breakfast show on 5fm on Saturdays and Sundays from 07:00 to 10:00.

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