Do you dream of becoming a sportsperson someday? While extraordinary skills at playing your game and dedication towards it are the necessary conditions to be a perfect athlete, they aren’t the only ones. Other factors like intense training, knowledge about sports, nutritional guidelines, and mental/emotional development play an equally important role, say sports experts.
At a recent talk organised by India Sport Forum 36, Shyamal Vallabhjee, sports scientist and founder of the Heal Institute; Heath Matthews, head sports physiotherapist; and Krushmi Chheda, sports nutritionist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, were among the panel members who addressed the factors needed in building the complete athlete. Here are a few guidelines the experts suggested for those who want to become athletes.
“The complete athlete can be defined as somebody who embraces everything. It also means having a holistic view of being an athlete,” says Vallabhjee, adding “An athlete’s personal growth revolves around understanding his or her relationship with everyone around, be it the entire support system, the coach, trainer or even the parents.” A sport helps inculcate values like passion, attitude, resilience and discipline within oneself. “Those are the things that come from toiling every day or while working towards your goal,” says Vallabhjee.
Fitness and training
It is a must for every athlete to be physically fit. “Staying fit and in shape is the first step towards strengthening the physical structure of an athlete,” says Vallabhjee. And since being active in a particular sport itself contributes to building one’s body, the fitness and training can differ for all athletes. It could vary from spending long hours in the gym, on the tennis court or in the swimming pool. Knowing about the right kind of technology needed for bettering one’s sport or physical fitness also plays a major role. Mental well-being is a major component as well. “It plays an important role in becoming an all-round athlete. In fact, every sport requires 99 per cent mental skills and one per cent physical,” says Vallabhjee.
And it is mental fitness that often helps players overcome disappointments and failures. “To foster your mental strength, it is important to focus on the game strategy. It involves understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are as a player, and above that, what you expect out of your strength. It is your mind that helps you decide how to use that strength to your advantage,” explains Vallabhjee.
Just like physical training, nutrition too plays an important role in making a great athlete. However, every sportsperson should be educated about how and what they should eat. “Each sport has its specific food requirements. Also, they way you divide your training into periods, nutrition should also vary accordingly. So you start with basic food and then keep including other healthy foods in the process,” says Chheda. She also says that the kind of food intake should vary from day to day.