As Jamaica’s sport industry develops and the performance-driven model remains the focus, one has to be able to examine how the model will function effectively to being out the best in the programmes.
There has been lots of talk recently that the model that track and field has used successfully over the last 15 years – home-based, home-trained, home-fed, home-managed (in most parts) is the way to go. But of course the question looms, can it work for all sporting disciplines?
While the success has been significant for track and field with medal haul increase since the 2004 Summer Olympic Games there are so many other of the development programme which needs addressing. One Twitter follower suggested
- Psychologists are not for mad people
- Psychologists are not magicians either
Understand the basis for my argument that the Sport Programmes have ignored the key role a Sport Psychologist can play. So here we go. The Psychologist must be maintained as part of the programme when the team is being selected. The coaches have to buy-in the value that the Psychologist will play. Coaches also should be available to be assessed as their role as facilitator for the team.
Here is how the Sport Psychologist should be used
- Assess the players while they are being selected
- Engage in personality profiling (there are just some of us who can’t or won’t mesh, even with the greatest talent in the world)
- Assess the goals of each player and how they see themselves as part of a team
Players primarily must see themselves in at least these three areas
- successfully performing as part of a winning team while giving their best
- be motivated and have a personal desire to win
- be able to tune out distractions
A coach is normally technically sound, but the Psychologist can be a great asset to a team. My sources tell me that most professional teams have full time psychologists….here is why? The talent pool is wide and most people can run, hop, skip, shoot hoops, kick a ball etc, but the one who wants it more and who has the competitive edge will be the one. To get to that stage a psychologist is in the best position to assist and it is high time the industry embrace the practice.
One observation on a few Jamaican teams – we have problems with ‘finishing’ which speaks to concentration, focus or improper physical preparation. Just maybe yoga and meditation could be integral to that programme.