You often here that sport develops your mental strength, and develop your character.
Are we ready to grow our mental strength every day?
We wanted to ask Ismael Guedi, she is a mental strength coach for athletes and for the military.
Ismael, what a mental coach could you explain please?
I am a shrink consultant in sport and health (in agreement with the French association of psychologist in Sport) I also intervene on sport lovers and professionals. We can meet at the Pole Mediterranean de medicine du sport. I also see people working in the police/ gendarmerie/ securite civile/ army, in collaboration with Crossops.
Each discipline or specialty require specific mental strength qualities. This I why each need special abilities. The highest the level the more you have constraints (physicals, environmental, psychologic). To do so, my role is to allow athlete to face his constraints and keep on developing his/ her motivation towards a realizable objective.
What training did you do to be become Coach?
I had to wish to acquire knowledge in mental strength performances started working with navy seal, as a physical coach and fighting sport coach. Then I started to train on optimizing the potential technics at the National center of defensive sports to become the first mental strength trainer for navy seals. Working with navy seal confirmed the importance of mental preparation on individual and collective performance. Later, passed a university degree in psychology of sport and health in order to know more about mental strength prep.
What do you mean by having mental strength and to be physical?
To have a strong mental, it first means to be able to ready, at its best to reach one goal. It is a fact that the main factor to perform well is to be prepared. It is your ability to fix a reachable goal. What kind of preparation? In how long? How? These are the question you must ask yourself before starting a preparation. This is how you can fix your goal. Without a goal, you may not follow the train you tend to reach, I also may vary with your mood.
Then, the mental strength it is to be able to mobilize its resources on time. It is necessary to know what we are training or why are in competition and how to reach its best capacity physical and psychological in order to get into the right position at the right time to restitute the right intensity concerned at that moment.
To finish, you must understand and analyze the performance. A good debrief is necessary in order to progress and to reinforce what you have acquired.
To be physical, it means to have physical qualities to realize an action and an appropriate effort at the right intensity. This means, that you must train in consequences.
Who needs help in mental strength training?
All athletes should, at the very least to know what is mental strength preparation. It is easily reachable. Yet I advise to start as soon as your teenager this is when you realize what is training and training. Between 11-15 for girls and between 12 16 for boys practicing regular activities, they have a certain amount of constraints. Those are usually sensitive periods in an athlete’s career.
Can one be physically fit and not have the mental strength? What about having a mental strength without the physical capacity?
The body must go further than its limits of endurance, of its power, of its speed and strength.
The brain must go further than its limits of concentration, to master itself and its determination, the athlete is totally exposed to its psychological and physical when performing.
Why is it so important to be mentally strong?
There are different kind of mental preparation. Yet I often see athletes with problems concerning the competitions.
Often, athletes feel they can’t not re-do what they did at practice during competition.
All along the athlete’s career the physical and technical development must stand out. Yet sometimes and most of time what will be weak is mental. Between 2 athletes of the same level the mental will make the difference.
What about the mental strength in the everyday life?
It is true mental training is important in life as well. We all are confronted to some unwanted events, have to reach objectives (take an exam, a driver license, therefore what is being developed in your athlete life also works in your everyday life.
Is our mental strength more solicited depending on the sport practiced?
I would say that your mental strength prep. Is as important as your physical prep. A football player won’t train the same way as a swimmer. Yet the mental strength is always about the same. We often work on some abilities to complete the right movement, regulate the emotional part of you, develop your concentration, and fix objectives.
Tell us an important experience you had with one of your student...
When I worked with the navy seal I noticed, very few spoke about their missions and the stress they had leaved through.I asked one of the ranked officer, how do they manage their stress on target? Stress! I never stress!
The answer was surprising I then realized that some of them had the wrong idea about stress, believing it as being something negative, a kind of weakness.
I then explained that stress well managed could help during a mission, it would help with the concentration and remain lucid, and it would help being able to take fast decisions. Since then he always says he is stressed… LOL
Why should we have a mental strength coach?
Athletes of a certain level are used to competitions, this also means they pay more importance to their victory rather than to their results. We often hear athlete speak about the result even before starting a competition.
In order to develop a performance, it is important to put forward the training.
I focus on the process over the results.