The importance of mental preparation in the competition

Yesterday evening, I had the chance to interact with players from the France team wheelchair basketball and their coach at a reception organized by my bank. These athletes just returned Paralympic Games Rio2016 and expressed their excitement of having experienced something unique for 3 weeks, “which you live, but can not tell.” Some players had already experienced Londres2012, others have discovered this surreal atmosphere … The most intense moment was unanimously the opening ceremony, with the release of the national song in the tunnel and entering the mythical Maracana stadium, just before the flame formalizes games. Apart from the beautiful sport performance achieved made by this semi-professional team (all players have other professional activities outside their sport), we also discussed the team cohesion.
The group meets the same requirements in the wheelchair basketball as for valid sports. To my question: “Can you tell us about your mental preparation for such an event? “Responses were consensual: the mental preparation is crucial and unfortunately, this failed at Rio. Indeed, for budgetary reasons (sponsorship with paralympic games do not respond as well as the Olympic games), their mental trainer could not make the trip with 12 players and staff (incl. manager and coach) … Moreover the significant time difference, technology (skype chat) could not replace a  face to face coaching-and proximity. The players reported having suffered from this resource to find motivation, emotional balance (also called “Okness” in the language coach), especially during a difficult match and also before preparing the next one. The coach also said that the men’s team, which had previously been reluctant to be assisted by a mental trainer, has resolved this support now.
By analogy, in business, the coach accompanying a team also act as a mental trainer towards the leader or team manager: competition, communication, motivation, cooperation, conflict management are influential parameters for the cohesion of team. But without any budget/investment and a very supportive environment(resources in all means), in sport as in business, it is difficult to reach the podium.
Our superhero girls dream only of one thing: experience Tokyo 2020! the coach hopes the podium. That’s all the harm I wish them.

Richard, oct15th 2016

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