By Denen Achussah
As the game of football continue to be highly competitive, the importance of a sport psychologist for football clubs cannot be over-emphasised. Now, sport pundits, who have been following Lobi Stars Football Club (LSFC) Makurdi are saying the Makurdi side needs the services of a sport sychologist to enable them take hold of the Nigeria elite league (Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)).
Consider: Experts in sport administration hold, and strongly, that there are several things sport psychologists can do to help athletes to enhance their performances. This is why many clubs today hire the services of these experts as part of the regular coaching staff.
The major role of psychologists is the mental training of players to improve their performances as well as overcome fear.
It is established that sport psychologists are significant in the following ways:
- Help athletes cope with performance fears: Athletes that are highly dedicated to their game tend to worry so much about what people think about their performance. They need psychologists to help them overcome fear of failure, fear of embarrassment and performance anxiety.
- Help athletes improve mental skills for performance: Confidence, focus, composure, intensity and trust are mental skills. A sport psychologist can help players of Lobi Stars improve on these skills to improve their performances and life generally.
- Help athletes mentally prepare for competition: There are different situations that players encounter on the field of play. This happens during practice and competition. The boys need a psychologist that will help prepare them mentally for such situations, be it in practice and competition.
- Help athletes return after injury: All athletes dread injury and they have every reason to do so. Injuries have left great athletes out of their game. Coming back to play after the experiencw can be difficult for many, apparently due to scars from the injury. It is therefore, the duty of a sport psychologist to help such players to overcome the associated pressure and perform at the highest level.
- Help athlete develop pregame routine: When athletes focus on the process, they tend to be more proactive with confidence. Our lads need to develop this mental capacity. There are times they either concede goal(s) or give away games they ordinarily would not, if they develop pregame routine.
- Help athletes develop preshot routines: This mental skill is significant for free kicks, corner kicks and spot kick. Sport psychologists come handy here to prepare athletes for such moments, by engaging in preshot routines.
- Help athletes improve practice efficiency: Practice, it is said makes perfect. A teacher keeps reading to better help his students. A sport psychologist is important to helping athletes improve the quality or efficiency of their practice, and conversely, game. There will always be the ITK; they need to understand and follow the process and a sport psychologist I’ll help them do so.
By the standing on the two spot NPFL table, Lobi Stars are doing well. And that is why they are top on the table. However, a cursory look at their pattern of game, the Club sure needs a sport sychologist as part its regular coaching staff. It is important because that will help in the mental training of players to improve their performances as well as overcome fear.
This is the strong appeal to club owners. It will make the job much easier for Coach Gbenga Ogunbute.
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