COVID-19: Indian sports psychologists working on emotional vulnerability
Rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted minds as much as health and productivity, sports pyshologists Dr Chaitanya Sridhar, Nanaki J Chadha, and Keerthana Swaminathan are dealing with athletes
Uncertainty is so intrinsic to sports that elite athletes will not have much trouble coping up with a pandemic-forced lockdown, feel India's top sports psychologists as they become a part of their journey into an unchartered territory. Rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted minds as much as health and productivity, sports pyshologists Dr Chaitanya Sridhar, Nanaki J Chadha, and Keerthana Swaminathan are dealing with athletes across disciplines and economic spectrum, being their "sounding board, friend" and enabling them to process the magnitude of the situation.
"When you are dealing with athletes, you can broadly divide them in three categories—the elite, the ones who are at national level aspiring to make it and the next group is academy bunch. The reaction to lockdown will be different," said Dr Sridhar, who is associated with JSW Sports and has worked with GoSports Foundation and IPL franchise RCB.
For performance analyst and sports psychologist Nanaki, this is the time when "you help them steer clear of negative thoughts." For Keerthana, there is light at the end of the tunnel where a lot of athletes, who probably had injuries or may have been going through slump in form, get a chance to "recuperate both physically and emotionally" in the time away from sport.
But yes, there is also the disappointed lot, which was hitting the peak in what was to be an Olympic year. "As a psychologist, it breaks my heart to see those who were really peaking before the big tournament. They are the ones likely to be disappointed more. But I am a big believer in Rahul Dravid's statement: 'Control the controllables'."
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