Pep Marí: "You can not go for a colleague with the athlete"

Cristian González

January 29, 2013

We interview one of the most reputed sport psychologists in Catalonia, in Pep Marí, who carries out his profession from the Sant Cugat High Performance Center.

To achieve results in elite sports, do you have to be very hard?
If I have to make your maximum performance always, surely there will be a conflict between you and me sooner or later. Because if there are no conflicts it means that I am not forced to take full advantage of you.

Does maximum performance mean surpassing your own possibilities?
No. In the sports field, the maximum is the best brand that the sportsman has throughout his career. The maximum is what a person can give in the best of cases. However, I remind you of the phrase "you can give". Of course, if we demand him above what can happen, two things happen: the rope of trust between the coach and the sportsman is broken and can no longer be recovered. Confidence and the relationship between both are broken. Therefore, we must demand but knowing the limit of each one because if we go through it, the relationship is broken.

How does the coach do to know if the sportsman is offering the maximum?
The way to do it is to rely on two elements. First of all, the experience, that is, what you have been offering so far throughout your evolution. How many times have you told me that you are not capable and in the end you have been? Experience says to the coach that many times when the athlete says that he is not capable at heart he is. Therefore, it is not worthy for the athlete to say that he can not do more if the coach has the experience that proves that whenever he has been required, the athlete has in the end evolved and improved his brand. The coach can not only rely on the sensations of the athlete because perhaps he is not well-known and does not know he should know how to better damp.
Secondly, combined with experience, it is essential to work in a team.

Teamwork?
I mean to work with different professionals that represent different contributions to sport. Scientists or specialists who have training and experience in that field, who know the sportsmen because they have worked at other times and quantify things. Scientists in sport make an objective approach. Using an objective number you can advise an athlete. In addition, there are always eight more eyes than only two. If we base ourselves on a scientific follow-up of the athlete and with the experience of the coach working and demanding the athlete, we can further refine knowing the maximum and the limit of the athlete and Avoid breaking the rope of trust.

The force of will of the athlete also intervenes
More than willpower is tolerance. The athlete must tolerate many things: training charges, pain, risk, stress and pressure when it comes to demonstrating that he can do what is required of him and also has to tolerate many uncertainties that he will have about the training program that is imposed on him. And the one that wears more is the demand of the day to day. The more tolerance the sportswoman has the more can ask the coach but, yes, without going through. Because if it happens it can cause the injury of the athlete or it can affect the relation of confidence that has with him. The recipe for not passing is experience, teamwork and scientific knowledge.

Should it be rigid, hard and strict?
If. Because if not, we will not get there. You can not go for a colleague because the athlete can confuse the roles. In a professional relationship in which the athlete is trained to improve can not have a friendship relationship. The coach is about improving the sportsman and this requires demanding because the goal is to change and evolve the athlete. The coach must want to change his pupil.

Should there be a moment for everything?
Obviously. There was a Soviet gymnast trainer who said "after studying the athletes a bit, I came to the following conclusion: the ideal combination is three caresses and one clatellot".

When does frustration come?
The frustration comes when you can not achieve the goal you are pursuing because despite putting everything in your part at the end you do not get what you want to do. Here it may happen that the goal was not well formulated because it was not realistic and out of reach. When we propose a goal it must be difficult but realistic, not an impossible one. Nor should it be easy because then it does not generate enthusiasm. We need to find the balance between what is possible and what is difficult.
The other possibility of failure is that the athlete has not worked well enough for poor training planning or for excessive relaxation.

the author

Cristian González

Graduate in Journalism (UPF), Graduate in Contemporary History (UB), Master in Business Communication Specialization in Digital Technologies (UPF).

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