Tibor Kökény sportpsychologist
You have been working with several successful sportsmen. How long does it take to reach a significant change with someone?
According to a Hungarian phrase „you need time for good results”. The same applies to sport psychology. Although you can reach miraculous, fast results which helps to succeed the next day, but it’s more effictive if we start working 3-5 months before the most important race. In addition, certain sportsmen can strugle with deeper problems which are not visible but might continuously weaken their performance. Helping them through their issues can significantly increase their quality of work and performances.
What does a sportsman get during the sessions?
There is a wide range of spectrum of helping, like strengthening the player’s confidence, lowering his/her stress-level during a fierce competition, or improving his/her ability to focus. Basic techniks are the relaxation, mental training, concentration imrovement, positive suggestives, breathing techniks or developing cohesion within the team. Another important area is the mental support after an injury, during rehabilitation, which can reduce the risk of a setback or getting injured again.
In general, we can say that instead of quick and spectacular changes, we focus on a long-term, persistent work, which lead to a solid result. It’s important to highlight the fact, that sportpsychology and the recovery methods are working beside the training, not instead of the phisical work. In my blog and website you can find some training techniks, which are also part of the work that I do with my clients.
What was the most spectacular change (result) that you experienced in your career?
There’s a few examples which can give an insight of the changes, even though they’re not strictly connected to the results. For example, it can be a special moment when a sportsman, who has been struggling with anxiety for over 10 years, after a 15 minutes consultation almost completely dissolve in the arena. Or it can be also a great feeling, when a swimmer come to me after several months of practice and says that she feels a 1,5 hour breathing and relaxation time equal to 1,5 day resting. And I also consider it a good result, when a sportsman finally dares to say out loud his desire, his dream that he wants to make happen. It gives goosbumps from head to toe!
According to you, how important is the mental preparedness in a sportsman’s career and how much does it affect his/her success?
Without the basic physical fitness and the lack of the sport specific techniques and tactics there are no results. But between two similar teams, similar sportsmen or sportswomen, the one who is mentally stronger and whose recovery is faster, definately has an advantage against the other one. In today’s fiercly competitive sport the ultimate success depends on tiny differences. During my job, I follow through each players’ preparation from „finding the raw diamond until the last fine sanding”. Meanwhile, he/she does not only achieve better results, but also has a more mature personality and hopefully become a better person.