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All in the mind

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, July 10, 2014

MENTAL discipline is one of the key areas that Fijian athletes need to improve on, says New Zealand-based Naresh Parsotam.

The Fiji-born mind coach and motivator said game intelligence was another area that we lacked alongside technical skill and physical fitness.

He said while Fiji had talented athletes with great potential in their chosen sport, they were constantly missing the target because they lacked on those key factors.

"In Fiji, we are lacking in all of the above. This is because of the isolation and lack of monetary support," Parsotam said.

"We all are aware that Fiji national teams are not able to play the full game with the same intensity as what they started with."

Lately, the Junior Flying Fijians were criticised for its indiscipline which resulted in their demotion from the Junior Rugby World Cup.

Parsotam attributed Fiji's high rate of "yellow and red cards" to the "stress of competition".

He said knowing that "you are not up to par with competition, this increases the stress of competition and can cause athletes to react both physically and mentally in a manner that can negatively affect their performance abilities".

He said the "players become tense, their heart rates race, they break into a cold sweat, they worry about the outcome of the competition and they find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand, thus landing yellow or red cards".

Vodafone Fiji under-20 coach Ravinesh Kumar said mental preparation was an important part of their preparation as the national side prepared for its first FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand next year.

"Mental toughness is one of the areas we have been lacking, but in the Oceania U20 Championship, none of our players were red carded, which is a good sign," Kumar said.

"It really starts from the lower grade because players need to be educated on these things at the U10 or U12 grade.

"In Fiji, we don't have a robust development system but Fiji Football has already started working on that and in a couple years time, we should be able to see the changes."

Parsotam said athletes needed to get their mind-set right to achieve their goals.

"It's all about holding yourself accountable for your own results. Anything worth having or worth achieving is not going to come easily.

"It is going to come through hard work, dedication, consistency, and a whole lot of passion. Enjoy getting better, enjoy improving yourself, and enjoy your results."

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