The pandemic has impacted the world of sports at every level, including elite amateur sumo wrestling. CBT SoCal’s Dr. Jason von Stietz recently met with journalist Yunyi Wang to discuss how the covid-19 has impacted his work with the U.S. national sumo wrestling team in an article in the Internation,the news magazine of international journalism at City University of London.
Dr. von Stietz told Wang the following about the unique stressors athletes are currently facing:
“Many athletes are finding it difficult to maintain their motivation during the pandemic. Tournaments that they have been looking forward to have either been rescheduled or postponed indefinitely. This makes it difficult to consistently do all the little things that will lead to their success such as eating healthy foods, strength and conditioning, perfecting their technique, doing recovery work after workouts, etc. It can be very easy to lose sight of their long-term goals and not put in the necessary work to perform at their best when the opportunity finally arises.”
In order to help the U.S. national team continue to perform their best in these unusual circumstances, Dr. von Stietz held online sport psychology trainings. He told Wang the following:
“Oftentimes, athletes work on learning ways to reduce their anxiety and stay calm under pressure. However, it is not always possible to stay perfectly calm under pressure. For example, a sumo wrestler may only get one opportunity to compete at the World Championships in their entire career. It will be nearly impossible to not experience anxiety. Fortunately, athletes are able to perform their best when they are focused on the task at hand, whether or not they feel anxiety. This is why I introduced the US national sumo wrestling team to improvisational comedy. When the team is doing an improv comedy exercise together, they feel silly and uncomfortable and they need to focus on their task anyway. This helps them to practice focusing under pressure in a safe environment, which helps them to focus in their training sessions, and in turn, during an important competition,” he said.
The mental aspects of athletic competition are often as important as the physical, especially in highly stressful times such as these. If you are interested in learning more about if sport psychology, conducted online, would helpful for you then schedule a free phone consultation.
Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.