Athletes and Cell Phone Use: There Are Concerns….
Globally there are approximately 5.3 billion mobile phone users. In the age of smartphones, the mobile phone offers its user the ability to communicate, socialize, be entertained, search for information and improve productivity in any form of work.
At the same time, the “problematic” use of mobile phones is also mentioned, which is defined as “the maladaptive dependence or compulsive use of a mobile phone, a situation of uncontrolled use of the mobile phone and at the same time an inability to control its use to the point that one experiences adverse consequences in his daily life Zoe”.
The characterization of mobile phone use as “problematic” has many diagnostic criteria in common with internet use in general. Research shows that the two sexes differ as boys tend to use mobile phones more for games and entertainment, while girls for social interaction purposes.
The “problematic” use of mobile phones has also been studied in athletes, examining their effect on athletes’ performance in training and competition conditions.
Researchers who studied mobile phone use for 30 minutes or more just before a match found it to be detrimental to athletes in terms of decision-making and levels of mental fatigue. They claimed that athletes who “engage” with their cell phone during their training are more likely to exercise at lower intensities! While reducing their effort and improvement…..
As factors that “enhance” the problematic use of mobile phones, the athletes’ attempt to alleviate their boredom and improve their mood, the habit of using them as well as the high accessibility/availability of the mobile phone in every situation are mentioned.
If to these factors is added the fact that people who engage in problematic use have defective self-control and do not have the ability to properly regulate their mobile phone use, then a series of negative consequences emerges….
Problematic mobile phone use has negative effects on several areas of sport such as concentration, training quality, levels of mental fatigue as well as ‘diverting’ their attention away from beneficial sport-related activities such as outdoor exercise time and recovery.
The problems boil down to wasting time, mental fatigue leading to problems focusing attention and finally loss of rest time and sleep hours. Athletes who “show” loss of activation and low levels of alertness.
The percentage of athletes who report problematic use of mobile phones in similar surveys is even close to 40%, a percentage high enough to create serious problems in the performance and general health, physical and mental, of the athletes.
The use of the mobile phone is not a problem, the inability to control the use, develops into “problematic”…
Yannis Zarotis MSc-PhD
Psychologist – Sports Psychologist
Mental Resilience: A positive concept with a negative “origin”… ..
Mental resilience is heard and is a positive concept for man. It refers to the ability or skill that the person develops to cope with difficulties, to manage negative emotions and unpleasant situations, to endure difficulties and not to be overwhelmed by adversity. He is the man who, as is often said, “does not give up easily”. In any case, it is not easy for him, however, he has developed the appropriate “antibodies” to endure and overcome the difficulty that arises.
In sports, the concept acquires a multifaceted dimension and with great variety in its application, as it is associated with injuries, failures, defeats and all kinds of perceived adversities. Its importance lies in the fact that the athlete continues to try, while the aforementioned adversities happen to him and in no case is he paid to give up his effort. This is why the concept of mental endurance is so important and necessary for sports activity.
Have we wondered how it develops, how it is cultivated in the individual? How is it possible to endure hardship without losing motivation? How did he acquire this ability when it is not equally obvious to everyone?
The “Negative Origin” of mental resilience lies in this very point: In order to develop it, a person will need to have difficulties, experienced unpleasant feelings, overcome adversity, and “know the way” to return.
Whatever difficulty everyone encounters and at the same time finds a way to overcome it, the more unpleasant a situation is and finds a way to deal with it, the more resilient it will become. It is required from an early age the development of the individual’s autonomy with the parallel support of his environment and at the same time his “education” in dealing with difficulties. We would like for everyone to never encounter an unpleasant condition in their life or sports activity. As such seems rather unlikely, every time someone encounters the negative and unpleasant dimension of everyday life, he has in mind that he “builds” his mental resilience ……
The requirements of competitive sports during the race or on the day of the race can be summed up in two words (!): Energy and concentration. Two concepts that interact and create the conditions for ideal performance.
The energy that the athlete is called to “bring out” in the game is the necessary element to achieve his goal. It refers to the athlete who is active, in mental and physical readiness, with intense effort and perseverance, being in the best possible condition. It includes all the physical elements, which have been worked on during the year and give the athlete the opportunity to perform to the maximum. Although in the first phase it is considered a result of the athlete’s physical condition and physiology, nevertheless the release of energy is largely related to his mental state. Factors that determine the amount of energy that the athlete will “allocate” in the race, are his mood and desire to compete. The goal that has been set, the “why” to fight. Without a goal there is no direction and no way for the athlete to transform his work into activation. His mood is affected by his potential anxiety, doubts he may have developed about his level of readiness, fear of fatigue and lack of self-confidence. In such cases the athlete sees the race as something huge and himself weak in the face of the enormous dimension he has given to the race. Preparation is put in jeopardy, doubts develop, anxiety develops, one becomes vulnerable and underestimates oneself. For the doubt, Nietzsche had emphasized that he “poisons you without killing you”, meaning that with doubt you can participate in an activity, but you will not be in the best possible emotional state. Well prepared, the athlete has the ability to dispel any doubts, feel confident and “allow” himself to release the necessary energy. In the race you go with what you have, nothing more-nothing less and with the confidence and the goal to do what you can. The American swimmer with the world record of 8 gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, Michael Phelps, when asked before the games about his goal, had answered: “I would like when the games are over, reviewing my performance, to be able to say that I gave what I had to give, then I will be absolutely happy “. This is how the best athlete of all time judges success, simply chasing his “ideal” self.
When the athlete has achieved the accumulation of energy then the “only” left is to be focused. It is possible that he has prepared well but did not perform what he can because he failed to concentrate. It is necessary to emphasize that the gathering is not a process of the last week: there is a gradually evolving situation, the culmination of which is the struggle. In order to be able to concentrate 100% during the week of the race, it is necessary to be 99% a week earlier! Achieving concentration is perhaps the most difficult “technical” element that an athlete has to work mentally. However, it works and develops. But it requires desire and a plan! Requires spiritual work during preparation. There are many factors that affect concentration, it is inextricably linked to mood as the emotionally positive athlete concentrates more easily and beneficially than the athlete with doubts and negative thoughts.
The positive of the above elements, whether they concern the preparation of the athletes or the conditions of the race is that they are a personal choice of everyone and their improvement certainly goes beyond their personal capabilities, as long as there is a desire and a plan!
The concept of self-confidence is related to the “sense of security” that one derives from oneself. It is the “confidence” that one shows in one’s ability in certain conditions, the pervasive belief that “one will succeed”. It provides the person with a positive feeling, pleasant mood, releases energy and determination. Even in difficult situations, the confident person will try hard enough and eventually “will get the job done”.
It is a concept that everyone is looking for, it is what parents would like their children to have, it is considered a “key” for human development and evolution. Seeking confidence, the obvious question relates to whether it is possible for anyone to acquire it. To find the way it is cultivated, one will need to “analyze” it in the components that make it up.
It is directly related to the concept of self-esteem (the emotional value of the self) and is built on it. It is difficult to “trust myself” if “I do not think I deserve it”. It is the basis and at the same time is powered by autonomy as “I trust myself knowing that it can work on its own”.
Its development refers mainly to how energetic-functional the individual is. The more actions one performs, the more mobile one is and at the same time “enjoys” the results of one’s actions, the more likely one is to show high self-confidence. Self-confidence involves a lot of activation, “it’s paradoxical to trust yourself while doing nothing!”
Reduced autonomy is also an obstacle to the development of the concept as it gradually creates in the individual dependence, a sense of inability, a possible sense of vulnerability, and finally a deficient self, which is closer to failure than to success. The opposite of self-confidence!
An obstacle to the development of the concept is also the heterogeneity of people from their environment, with the constant search for approval and recognition, the expression of behavior that tends to be submissive and ends up in the label of “capable but not autonomous” or “effective pawn”. The opposite of self-confidence!
Let everyone think about who you will entrust a task to…. We would look for someone we trust because he has done it again! We also look for this element in ourselves. The more often he activates and does things, the more likely he is to gain self-confidence. For this to happen she will need to try him, to understand that he can, that he is capable and he will succeed. By himself……!
We imagine an athlete in a very well-structured competitive preparation, with a lot of work on a technical and physical level, with a great focus on his diet and training, with a very good level of physical condition and many hours of recovery and “attention” of himself. He seems to have prepared well, he experiences high self-confidence, he appears confident in his good performance and the corresponding result. He believes that with such good preparation, a good result is a given.
Which in the end did not come ……
Why did he not have the performance he expected, when everything seemed to have become “perfect”?
Because between the preparation and the desired performance, there is a “Competitive Behavior“. It is the factor that will determine if the work he has done will “come out”, if he will be able to unfold all his ability in the race.
Competitive behavior, in almost every sport, requires the release of energy, with high mobility and alertness, high concentration and focus on the appropriate elements, with persistent effort, with control of himself and his emotions.
No matter how good an athlete is on a technical level, no matter how good his physical condition is, no matter how “top” he is in his sport, if he fails to concentrate and release energy, the result will not come. The process is not automatic, it requires constant vigilance from the athlete.
This is why the “big surprises”, the prevalence of the “weak against the favorite” and other conditions encountered in the sports field take place: Why athletes or teams get the illusion that whatever work I did in the preparation, will win on her own….”. Especially in sports, nothing seems to be a given and nothing is won or lost before the race takes place.
And there the “Competitive Behavior” plays a dominant role!
In many sports, the coach’s basic instruction to the athlete is to “control the game”. To control the rhythm, the plan, their movements, the opponent, basically their own competitive behavior. For each opponent, control of the game is the main goal, to the point that it seems to determine the final winner.
The control of the game refers to the mental dimension of the athletes and describes the ability of the athlete to understand the conditions of the game, to adapt to his requirements, to find the right game plan, to be able to know at any time what is necessary to do.
Mentally, it is largely related to the athlete’s experience, his mental ability to analyze a game, his maturity, his knowledge of the sport in general. It requires mental clarity, very high concentration, knowledge of the right elements to focus, speed in perception and to be “mentally fast”: To be able to make the best possible choice in the shortest time.
Psychologically it requires calm, control of extreme emotions, a high level of self-confidence, and reduced stress. Exactly what we would be looking for when talking about “self-control”.
The control of the game is a combination of “self-control” and the appropriate mental approach of the game.
Mental preparation for the game is a crucial factor, almost necessary for the athlete to ensure control of the game. If you are able to control the activity and the process of the game, to a large extent you seem to control the result!
The COVID-19 pandemic period is accompanied by a general differentiation of daily life in each area of human activity, to the point where we now refer to a “disruption of normality”. The effects concern the suspension of activities or their conditional start. In this environment, sport seems to seek its role, from complete cessation or even abstention to its full development.
Especially for children’s sports, the trends that are developing vary, expressing opposing views regarding its operation.
By putting sport “at the service of children”, it is a field that assists in education for prevention, as well as the school and every field of children’s activity. There is a view that sees sports as a means of stimulating health and shielding the body, as a means of preventing the cultivation of fear in children, as a means that “declares” to children the maintenance of normality and therefore the stability and “safety” of the environment.
The danger does not cease to exist, however, with the period we are going through having no expiration date, it seems that the solution is not to avoid sports. Training in the observance of hygiene rules, from time to time and places of health protocols, the development of skills of adaptation and cultivation of data for dealing with difficult situations, is what the period “passes” requires, so that the sports activity does not stop but and to “win” children in matters of education and prevention.
Otherwise, the long-term and non-expiring abstinence will lead the athletes to lose motivation, to get used to a different reality by staying at home for several hours, dealing with screens, adopting sedentary living patterns. At the end of the season it will not be at all easy to “convince” the children to return to the activity ……
The method and seriousness in dealing with the pandemic will need to “take into account” the future of the children, whether it is school or sports, or any other activity as everyone wants to continue to develop or in through or after the pandemic….
- The lack of motivation is obvious to the athletes due to the many months of absence, the goal is to find their desire for the sport again.
- Focus on how the children/athletes experienced the period of absence. Everyone is different and the situation affects each child differently
- Help redevelop relationships between children
- Enhance communication and interaction. The reconnection of children will be the basis to find their motivation as socialization is an important factor of involvement in sports
- Take time to inform the children about what will follow regarding the training program
- Give athletes time to adjust to the environment, avoiding talking too much about training issues
- It is important to welcome children without comments about their level of fitness
- Avoid referring to their physical condition when talking about weight gain due to quarantine
- Identify goals that refer to gradual reconnection and reset, not racing performance
- It is important for children not to rush back
- Set long-term goals, not immediate ones
- The children’s return time will be different for everyone
- Focus on how important it is that we managed to get back into the sport and not how long we stayed out.
- Your positive attitude will help children adjust and regain lost motivation
Remember that some children / athletes have experienced a loss in the midst of a pandemic and it is important that they receive appropriate support from you.
Yiannis Zarotis MSc-PhD
Psychologist-Sports PsychologistLearn More
Anxiety is in any field of human activity the main factor “inhibiting” functionality. For workplaces, 40% of the loss of working hours is due to employee anxiety, which affects both performance and physical condition, affecting the immune system. For people’s daily activity, it is also a key factor in “avoiding” many “obligations” or differentiating the program in order to “avoid what worries us“.
The word anxiety means “I press hard on the neck“. It indicates an unpleasant feeling, with many physical and mental extensions, while in some cases it is also mentioned as the main cause of chronic diseases. Emotion is related to the way of thinking of everyone, which leads him to develop or not anxiety in various situations.
The “cure” of anxiety includes three main stages: The acceptance that “I have anxiety”, its management (“I can work with anxiety”) and finally its treatment, where the functional thoughts of the individual are sought, in an attempt to “differentiate” his attitude towards himself and his environment, to “adapt” to each situation.
Anxiety management includes the condition where everyone, experiencing emotion, tries to limit their physical and / or spiritual effects. Breathing techniques, mindfulness techniques, meditation-based techniques, and even medication are all aimed at reducing symptoms so that the person remains functional.
Dealing with anxiety refers to the search for causes, focusing on how the person represents reality, how he perceives the environment around him, how he ultimately thinks. In any case, we see things around us not as they are but as “we” see them as they are. It is a matter of individual perception. The situations that are created in everyday life, work, the use of public transport, speaking to a large number of people, the performance of a show are not in themselves situations that “contain” anxiety, this develops from the way that everyone “sees” the respective treaty. One psychologist described anxiety as “a process of personal choice“, meaning not that you choose to have anxiety, but that you choose to see the environment around you in such a way that you feel anxious!Learn More
A journalist once asked a young footballer about his ambitions and what he thinks he can achieve in the future. He asked him to describe “what the ball is in” and he replied: Money, fame, publicity, nice girls, expensive cars …….
Probably for many athletes, of all sports, all these elements are their desires, for some of them it is quite possible to get them. The “trap” in which athletes often “fall” is that they are convinced that all this will come automatically as they themselves enter the field of sports.
Behind all the elements that are visible, whether it is social life or high contracts or the spotlight and the growing popularity on social media, there is an element that is both indistinguishable for spectators and very painful for athletes: Many hours work and individual effort …… .. Hours of training with a lot of effort, a lot of fatigue, countless moments of frustration and emotional charge but also satisfaction of achievement and investment for the future.
The “order” of the three elements that the athletes negotiate varies and is different for each one. Work, Social Life, Personal Image. Whichever you put first, this will evolve… ..Doesn’t the same happen in all human activities? What you place as a priority (whether you realize it or not is your priority!) In this you become “better”. You lose something, you gain something. If you focus mainly on personal image and social life, you will lose something of your athletic development.
A partner of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United stated that he needed 20 minutes before each match to fix his hair. But for two years he remained alone for an hour and a half after training and committed a foul και ..and he learned!
A Beckham teammate in the Los Angeles Galaxy reported that Beckham was going to training by helicopter! ¨Only we went at 4.30 while he went at 2.30, to do two hours of individual training ……… ………
The promotion that LeBron James enjoys from the NBA is huge, this year he worked so hard that he did not show a serious injury even after 80 games. And let him be 33 years old….
Federer in tennis remains at the highest level at the age of 37, having countless hours of training to be able to support his effort. Although he could just enjoy the publicity and recognition he has gained….
There are many examples of athletes from all sports. It is a given that in sports there is both social life and the development and promotion of the personal image. But first the work!
The series is Sport, Social Life, Image.
If you spoil it?
The Scots have a proverb that says “Life is like a sewer, whatever you throw in it brings out ……”!Learn More