Iceberg and the Olympic Games 2020

Article by Kat Lourenco

Are you enjoying the Tokyo 2020 Olympics? A real testament of perseverance, patience and pandemic! Yes, the pandemic will have given some advantages and disadvantages for all of the athletes and their supporting team.

For some there was extra training to be had, or even coming back into the sport - thinking specifically of Helen Glover. For some there was a distinct disadvantage for not knowing what the other competitors fitness levels were/are due to not being able to compete - the most signifcant being Anna Kiesenhofer.

What stands out is the power of the mind - conscious and subconscious. We saw Simone Biles withdraw from competing after suffering with the twisties. This is when confidence can take a knock and you develop a mental block with being able to safely execute certain moves. We applaud her for having the maturity to stay safe and not compete.

We've seen a couple of athletes who have never been medal winners, winning this time. Or those who were considered gold medal contenders shockingly coming outside the top 5.

A mindset coach has been used for a long period of time in sport. Whether that's in golf - and wasn't that fun to watch for the first time in the Olympics - or synchronised diving - well done Tom Daley. A mindset coach looks at so many aspects of helping a sports person perform to their best ability - and you see more often now the use of coaching to help organisations' teams perform better and excel.

Looking at the iceberg model and understanding conscious and subconscious behaviour from a safety perspective, is one of the tools we use to better understand the choices people make. The more we understand what can influence and enhance/modify feelings, emotions, attitudes, beliefs, values and conditioning within the subconscious. gives us the insight needed to look at safety from a different perspective.

The iceberg model is such a complex subject to talk about.

From a sports person's perspective, the drive to be successful can often be overshadowed by so many things. There's the trauma of dealing with injuries suffered and the route to recovery, not winning a medal, being disqualified during the finals or having to deal with things quite outside the athletes control. Today we saw German modern pentathlete, Annika Schleu, struggling to control the misnamed horse - Saint Boy - during the penultimate event. That disappointment can stop an athletes' career - never being able to mentally recover from such an experience.

What is obvious during the Games, is that not only do you need to be physically in peak condition, but mentally and emotionally too.

Article by Kat Lourenco

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