Today I have the pleasure of announcing an idea of mine. In this column I will talk to an expert on a subject which I have chosen to write about in the corresponding week. The format is called Coffee with. This week , to get the ball rolling, we are going to explore a subject which, in my opinion is fundamental in sport and in life – psychology . And joining me is someone of the highest calibre – Fran Ortin, PhD in Psychology and Professor of Sports Psychology in the Faculty of Sports Sciences in the University of Murcia.
We begin by talking about the importance of education in the training of an athlete. We both agree that a comprehensive education for the student (knowledge, values, attitude to challenges, etc.) can be key to achieving a capable child one who able to be successful (not only in results but also in level of satisfaction) in their professional future.
For Fran there are three fundamental aspects in the formative stage of a child, which must be fostered to influence their personal growth. These aspects have been investigated in the field of positive psychology in relation to happiness and psychological well-being. On the one hand, it is necessary to work so that children have positive motivation and are oriented to achieve success in , for example, in learning, while not avoiding the negative consequences of not achieving (punishment, suspense …). On the other hand, fostering altruism and solidarity among students, respecting the differences between them and raising awareness so that everyone can learn and contribute to others. We also commented on the importance of working on how to handle «successes» and «failures» from an early age, as well as focusing the child on self improvement, emphasising that this is more important than the final score or result.
In the sports field, we talk about my beginnings in elite competition, and I ask him how, from the point of view of a psychologist, he manages the beginning and professional career of an elite athlete: injuries, pressure, focusing on results and so on.
«In this case, it is important that the athlete has personal and professional goals both on and off the sports field. During his professional career he will prioritize his sport goals, but he must never forget there are other areas of life, so that the transition to his new life after leaving elite competition is as easy as possible with minimum trauma, and can even add to his experience when moving on to face new challenges or projects.”
In short, we conclude that important points to remember are motivation (to educate in achieving goals while not avoiding failures) or the structuring of objectives (separating different areas – sports, family, friends, career, training …) and trying to set goals in all of them. When someone´s sporting career ends, and they have to continue with the rest of their lives. The above strategies are key in assuring that his training will be fundamental both for success in sport and in life.