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CWG 2022: Sports psychologists explain how mental training can help Indian athletes perform well at big-ticket events

Mirabai Chanu hopes to breach the 90kg mark in snatch at the Commonwealth Games. (PC: Getty)
Mirabai Chanu hopes to breach the 90kg mark in snatch at the Commonwealth Games. (PC: Getty)

Athletes are leaving no training routine unturned as they enter the final phase of preparation for the World Athletics Championships and the Commonwealth Games (CWG 2022).

It is often said that most sports battles are won mentally and several athletes have advocated the need for regular mental training that runs alongside their physical endeavors.

Ace Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal has been part of the Indian national team for two decades now. He said mental training and conditioning is a daily process.

Boxer Nikhat Zareen has advocated the need to handle mental pressure in big-ticket events like the Commonwealth Games. The boxer felt specialized training should be given to overcome the mental block for Indian athletes.

Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu has admitted that breaching the much-anticipated 90kg mark in snatch has now become somewhat of a 'mental block'.

Dr. Chaitanya Sridhar, Holistic Sports Psychologist and peak performance analyst, said the key for athletes at big events is to develop a good mental space by starting early.

Click here for the Commonwealth Games 2022 schedule, dates, stadium, venues and timing details.

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, she said:

"It'll be good if they work on preparing mentally as well for the big-stage. This process is best if it's started much earlier. As Abhinav Bindra said prior to the Tokyo Olympics, it's about preparing for the challenges, especially in such marquee events. I also feel it's essential to look forward to this opportunity and remember they've worked immensely and deserve to be at the platform."

Dr. Chaitanya Sridhar has worked with many national and international athletes and teams, including Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.

She added that seeking the right support at the right time is vital in a sports person's journey.

"Athletes should ask for support from the right people if they are unduly worried. It can even be a senior, a coach or a mentor if they can't access a sport psychologist."

Introspection is key for athletes ahead of CWG 2022

Keerthana Swaminathan is one of the leading Sports and Exercise Psychologists. She said athletes who have not done well at big events like the World Championships, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games need to revisit their process.

"If the goals are the same, then athletes have to look at the process they have adopted to achieve it. They have to redesign and focus on it. It is also good for athletes to analyze what has happened previously and work on it," she told Sportskeeda.

Keerthana Swaminathan works with many international paddlers and athletes. She said introspection is key for athletes who have been a part of major events and haven't done as well as they would have loved to.

"Sometimes there can be anxiety triggers. It is good to instrospect and focus on what they can do to get better. Athletes can also do some self-talking before their big day, like, how and what they intend to be doing this time. That way the jitters, that come when participating and winning in events like the Commonwealth Games, are negated," she explained.

Dr. Chaitanya Sridhar added that athletes can focus on 'beating their best' and see the results that follow.

She added that athletes can identify what works best for them and then use that to avoid succumbing to pressure at big events.

"It is important to keep a routine simple and not make drastic changes. Athletes can also avoid social media as much as possible so that they don't succumb to expectations. They can indulge in nature, music, walks, dance and humor as they are good to ease nerves. Players can also make sure they do see or hear what gets them motivated and centered to remove all jitters," she concluded.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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