The coronavirus pandemic upended the plans of many athletes, including those of the US National Sumo Wrestling team. The 2020 Sumo World Championships, held by the International Sumo Federation, has been postponed until further notice. However, many top US sumo wrestlers are continuing to train in the ways that are currently available to them while under quarantine. One such way elite athletes can still improve their performance is through mental training.
CBT SoCal’s Dr. Jason von Stietz recently met with Team USA for the first of many team building and mental skills training sessions. The team, comprised of this year’s national champions, reflected on their best and worst performances throughout their careers in sumo. They quickly noticed the similarities in their experiences. During their best performances, they were often able to filter out distractions and enjoy their present moment experience. During their worst performances, they “got in their head,” they were “overthinking,” and they were often focusing on the unknown possible strengths of their opponents. The experiences of these top athletes are backed up by research in the field sport psychology. Studies find that athletes and performers perform best when they are focused on the task at hand. When athletes are in their heads or overthinking they are drawing their attention away from their task, which leads to a decline in their performance.
Dr. von Stietz and the national team plan to continue meeting to reflect on their experiences and learn tools to more consistently perform to the best of their abilities.
If you are interested in learning more about online sport psychology training, please contact us for a free phone or video 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.