Monday, August 18, 2008

What does Your Sport say about You?

As we've shuttled around Beijing from venue to venue, I've been struck by the way each unique sport attracts athletes with complementary mental and physical attributes.

For example, volleyball players tend to be tall and lean from lunging and dodging around the court. They were exceptionally pumped up for the match, they seemed fun loving and extroverted. A volleyball player can't hold grudges or wallow in self pity. The game moves fast, so his trust in his teammates and his confidence must remain high.

Gymnastics seems to require a short, muscular physique- better able to execute the required twists, flips and pikes. Incredible upper body strength is a must for events like rings, bars and floor. Although his is also a team sport, he supports his team through his individual performances and the pressure is immense. He must be single minded, able to feel the pressure and use its power without crumbling beneath it's force.

Archery is another game entirely. This is a sport in which physical prowess is much less important than mental focus, calm and a really good poker face. I was struck by how the best archers had this Zen like calm that only increased as the pressure mounted throughout the match. Despite the raucous cheers of the crowd, the arena felt incredibly mellow.

Korea has dominated Archery for years and the match we watched was no exception. I read that Archery is among the most mental sports of the Olympic Games and so I did a bit of research. These theories on mental imaging are fascinating and I can see how any high level athlete would benefit from incorporating visualization techniques in their training- no matter what mental make up their sport requires.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...