The truth behind mental health and performance in sport
Published: 20 Apr 2016
Former Scottish national netball team coach Denise Holland is a firm believer that an athlete’s experience will be determined by the quality of their thinking, and that is dependent on them understanding how they use their minds. She argues that this could provide a revolutionary new paradigm which could help reach brand new horizons...
Denise, who has been involved in performance sport for 20 years, shares her experience in an article published on her website. She believes that this applies to all athletes, whichever end of the sporting spectrum they are competing at.
Citing legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach as a pioneer of physical conditioning in the 1960’s, when most coaches focused on technique and tactics, she believes that state of mind or levels of consciousness could be the core fundamental performance variable within the next 15 years.
Denise regards the New Zealand All Black’s mental well-being and connection to inner-peace to have been a major part of their success in the recent Rugby World Cup, where, as a team, they united their minds as one. This connection to soul and spirit is a significant part of Maori culture as it points to them understanding who and what you are as human beings and Denise believes that applies to all of us.
She goes on to say: ‘Understanding how your mind works is the differentiator between showing up clear minded, not doubtful or irritated, creative rather than frustrated, calm not stressed, innovative instead of restricted and limited, collaborative rather than argumentative – it gives you the psychological freedom to open up to possibilities and opportunities, which were otherwise invisible to you.
As I see it, the more sports people look in the direction of connecting to their innate mental health and well-being, the quicker we’ll reduce or eliminate suffering and at the same time, raise the bar to what’s possible for humans, evolving the modern world of elite and professional sport with health, grace, dignity and humility.’
To read Denise’s views in full click here.