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I read an insightful and thought-provoking article by Oliver Kay in The Times on Leicester City’s travails entitled: Ranieri must get players’ heads straight.
Apparently, Ranieri inherited a sports psychologist from the previous Nigel Pearson regime, who worked with the players during last season’s fairy tale campaign – “on aspects like confidence, focus, belief, concentration, mental toughness and resilience”, according to his profile.
Now, the Italian is not a fan of psychologists, by all accounts, and, in September, the mind guru’s time at the club came to an end and he slipped quietly out the back door.
His exit has coincided with a fall from grace of epic proportions. This may be purely coincidental. However, as Kay writes in his column, the players look mentally shot to pieces.
‘Their most serious problems are in the mind. They were a psychological phenomenon last season and they are a very different kind of psychological phenomenon now.’
Virtually every, if not every, elite Great Britain athlete has access to a sports psychologist hired by their governing body, and they are held in high esteem by those professional clubs with a large enough budget to employ one (or more).
So just how important is sports psychology in sport? Do psychologists perform a vital function or are they over-rated? Could Leicester City players benefit from some specialist help right now, or can their problems be fixed on the training ground?
Interesting point you have raised. I believe psychologists do have a lot to offer teams.
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