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 Sport, Psychology and Photography
What is the connection?

Developing yourself and aiming for the pinnacle in your sport requires you to befriend yourself and build a positive and open mindset. Confidence, focus and motivation don't remain mere words to be remembered once in a while. They transform into actions so that you ensure your progress and work towards reaching your goal.


Explore how strengthening your inner self will support your growth.


Players and teams have applied mental training for decades. Fairly recently, it has become an integral aspect of sports. So what does it mean? Mental training seeks to create an open and non-judgmental space for players, coaches and their allies. Where they can reflect and take action on the various experiences of their sporting journey and lives. A sport psychologist accompanies players to facilitate dialogue and create a patient process for mental strengthening. It aims at empowering and equipping you with vital mental skills. The role of a sport psychologist is similar to how trees guide and encourage us as we navigate through a vast landscape.

 

Mental training is a space to rehearse and refine your mindset in preparation for competitions - some of which arrive at times like that sunny day you have been looking forward to, while others suddenly occur like a thunderstorm that catches you unaware.
 

Through my experiences as a sport psychologist and a passionate photographer, it has dawned on me that photography, and visuals broadly, have many parallels with the world of sport. Sport requires players to build the skills of a person immersed in photography, films or art - awareness of their feelings and the surroundings, an openness to learn, being in the moment and acting intuitively and, being patient. Sport, alike a photographer composing the best frame, needs perseverance to face challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories and visual memories reside within everyone, and sports persons are no exceptions. We are storytelling beings. Like all captivating stories, they make us feel different emotions. Heartbreaking losses feel like a strong punch to the gut. In contrast, incredible wins give happiness and contentment. When did you have that indescribable moment when you or your team won against odds?  


Visuals - whether through movies, photographs or our imaginations in books, shape the way we think, our goals and motivations.

Photos and videos play a key role in the careers and lives of players. You carve an identity for yourself and give everything you have to your sport. Reflecting on your past performances becomes a great source of learning for your future.
 

Visuals have what it takes to evoke passionate feelings. A short and inspiring speech by our coach about his struggles and dedication as a footballer, while I stood in the changing room with my teammates ready to play an important match, still continues to give me goosebumps. Visuals make you get up and act - strive, excel and inspire. Mental training supports your journey to excellence by harnessing your inner power. More importantly, building high confidence, solid concentration and handling pressure effectively are those ingredients, besides technical mastery and fitness, that can lead to positive performances.

We are all too familiar with the defining moments in recent times - Phelps' extraordinary Olympic medals, Leicester City FC's English Premier League victory in 2016/17 and Abhinav Bindra's Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing 2008. We are left perplexed about how certain performances occurred. Just how?! Some events leave us shocked, such as Germany's 7-1 thumping win over the hosts in the 2014 World Cup semifinal in Brazil. Flashbacks and highlights from such competitions will provide the fuel to keep you going.

 

 

So what does it take to concentrate well and play confidently?


Awareness. It is as essential on the playing arena as much as of it.

Like a photographer waits for the right moment to hit the shutter, a player is all too familiar with being patient and trusting the process.

On a few occasions, you will have caused an outstanding result because of your skills and efforts. But on special days, those exceptional performances will have unfolded through you - you may have wondered 'did I really do this?' You may have been unable to describe how you did it. Because you were completely in the moment.


Over time, your execution becomes effortless. The cricketer's bat feels like an extension of their hands. The footballer's feet appear like they have a string attached to the ball. The swimmer befriends the water and cuts through it with ease. The badminton player dances around the court while anticipating the shuttle and outsmarting the opponent. In other words, instinct takes over. As Andre Agassi says in his autobiography Open, “Freed from the thoughts of winning, I instantly play better. I stop thinking, start feeling. My shots become a half-second quicker, my decisions become the product of instinct rather than logic.”

 

 

 

 

 

Spontaneity, usually a photographer's friend in creating compositions and telling a story, also seeps through players' skin as they approach their peak. “The best decisions aren’t made with your mind but with your instinct. The more familiar with a situation you become, the quicker the better your decisions will be”, says Lionel Messi. Footwork (or lack of it if you are a shooter, archer or chess player) becomes smooth, actions become simple and you feel in flow.

Ultimately, sport and photography are intimate ways of exploring oneself and open up the gates to self-knowledge - to understand who we are beyond labels, goals and society’s perception of us.


Taking charge of your mental game elevates your sport performance.


Say hello to discuss how we can craft your sporting journey to improve your performance, participation and well-being.

A cairn stands tall on the hike towards Tiger's Nest in Bhutan to guide people towards the monastery
Abhinav Bindra in the middle of a rifle shooting match
Leicester City FC celebrate their historic Premier League win
Boys play rugby
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