MENTAL RESISTANCE IN CONTEXT 0. – Preface
When I finished the 4th part of this series of training articles called MRiC, it occurred to me to find out the feedback from someone who has compared to me a natural distance in this topic. One of my friends agreed to read all four of my blog’s articles and tell me what he thinks of all of them.
His subsequent commentary sounded like this: “I enjoyed reading your articles and although I am not an expert in this field, everything made sense to me. I learned something. But, in the meantime, however, I was thinking – what is the aim of your publications? Why are you doing it? “
His perception made sense. I realized that I started publishing something on the 1MSS website without explaining my intentions. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate this chapter to this topic.
Here is the reason why I decided to start creating this blog:
Very often, trainers, athletes but also non-sports people attending my training seminars and lectures on mental training, approach me with books and other educational channels which give them a detailed account of how things work and where their problem lies. When they look deeper into topic, they also learn tips and advice on what to resolve their problematic situations. They understands it, but it is still not enough for them. Because when it really comes to the actual thing, they do not realize it, so they cannot apply these advice. They ask me the same way I asked myself years ago: “How can I train myself to apply what I (already) know and use it “here and now” – in the present moment and not realize it afterwards? I have grown tired of meditating or practicing other techniques for concentration. Can I work on it by any other ways?”
As my friend Daniel Hejret, a renowned fitness coach with whom I collaborate in preparing Czech sports representatives, said: “The journey to the top is long and thorny …. and they call me because I know the shortcut“- I would answer in a similar way:
“Of course it is possible. But we have to do it therapeutically. Meditation, visualization, breathing techniques, autogenous trainings and all other concentration techniques at a given moment are just the basic way how to increase your ability to live and control your emotions. You can greatly enhance this path by going through the shortcut and focusing directly on cleaning your subconscious mind. There is a powerful key to the steady power of awareness that you are looking for. “- This is the way how I would answer them fully. And I would also add: “There are already a lot of proven and safe therapeutic techniques around us, you just need to choose. Then there will be permanent changes in your conscious mind. It is only necessary to find the courage to get out of the mainstream and start thinking in a new way.
This means to admit that stress and the unconscious destructive patterns of our behaviors are something we cannot just get rid of ourselves and that we need the help of another person – the therapist or friend who will guide us through it. By self-study we may learn how to work with stress or anxiety, but we will not remove the very cause of stress and imbalance, which is hidden in our subconsciousness.
The above lines I will summarize into several points:
- My intention is to gradually overcome these still firm believes of the general public, that mental resistance is only a matter of our own head and to point to the existence of other factors that fundamentally influence the performance of the athlete manifested through his subconsciousness.
- Likewise, these texts aim to complement the conventional and already accepted methods and techniques of sportsmen and trainers on mental training (such as breathing techniques, visualization, meditation, autosuggestion, autogenous training and others) and to add not very well-known therapeutical approaches to working with our subconsciousness, whose systemic presence in the whole sports preparation of athletes would, in my opinion, bring Czech sports to a higher level and would significantly increase the number of prominent personalities in the future.
Do you also want to discover your shortcut, which not only leads through physical work and renunciation?
MENTAL RESISTANCE IN CONTEXT -1.
“I will illustrate the above text with my life story, which started over twelve years ago with my path in the field of applied psychology and processes of increasing mental resilience.”
I was 25 years old when I had the opportunity to accompany Martina Hingis after her comeback from Australia. Even though I was officially a sparring partner for the media, I did basically everything what included the role of a personal coach. Of course, it was beyond my everyday work to be able to cope with all the pressure and responsibility that this role played. Besides usual tasks, I did primarily Martina’s day-to-day energetic support in facing a huge wave of public attention that came to light after her announcement of return to world tennis.
At that time, I perceived that the other coaches who moved around Martina and held the same role as the first person alongside the top ten players were 40 or more years old. To compensate this lack of experience and life maturity, I tried to provide the mental training with all the possible meditation, autogenetics and visualization techniques that I had studied in the books and on the Internet in the evenings. However, despite all my efforts, I did not resist very frequent states of exhaustion and descent in my mind. Although my techniques gave me some hope, but when the work started to be really tough, their enforcing costed me enormous energy that I missed afterwards. So, in my self-study, it was until February 2007, when my insufficiently learned skills required to cope with everyday external pressure, taken their toll on the body. Before the semifinal in Tokyo, during the training my several months of squirming tennis elbow betrayed me. I remember the rocket dropping out of my hand and I did not have the strength to grab it again. For a minute, I tried not to let this go, but after a while I had no more energy left to go to the net and say to Martina “Sorry, I just cannot keep playing.”
Just imagine, you are 26 years old, you have a fairytale opportunity to be alongside the world legend, and your body suddenly puts a stopwatch. I’m still aware of the painful feeling of helplessness. Fortunately, the tournament in Tokyo went well, Martina won for her seventh career. But it did not change the fact that 15 days left for the next tournament and I had a rather radical problem ahead of me.
After returning to Europe, I made a classic circle of doctors´ visits. The diagnosis was clear. At least a month of resting from playing, corticosteroids and other “accelerators” of healing. Since Martina’s tennis was based on preparation through intense play, it meant that if I did not want to get out of the bike, I would have to done it differently. Besides, I knew this diagnosis was not my way. “Everything starts in my head,” I said. And then there was a moment I could tell that as one of the most important in my life. On the recommendation of my acquaintance, I managed to arrange the term with Sven Stecher, a mental coach, known for his non-traditional techniques of coaching, based on martial arts.
Our meeting started at the Zurich cafeteria. Within 20 minutes, Sven had emotionally described all of my psychic “troubles” that had been in the last six weeks of the Austro-Japanese stage with Martina, which peaked in my view by somatizing my elbow. When I look back at that situation, I was sitting there with the expression of a victim of circumstances to whom it was denied the right to success.
Sven listened carefully and ordered me to close in the cab with a small round window. I sat there in the dark, and in the outside, different sounds of strings were different in different tones for about 5 minutes. To tell the truth, I was all over it. I did not know what that meant, the strings of strings still sounded in my ears, and I was confused. My question, which was the procedure for me, Sven said dryly, “I must have taught you a little to make it unconscious.” At that point I did not understand what he was thinking. Today I know that in order to solve anything on the conscious level we must also tune our subconscious in the same direction so that “it does not fall under our feet”.
The process with Sven continued with a combination of conversation and various unusual physical exercises. About 45 minutes after one exercise something suddenly happened that totally got me: suddenly, a huge pressure of heat began to rise towards my chest as if a pistol of hot mass had begun to penetrate me. I straightened myself up, feeling a flurry of force and aggression, which eventually resulted in a relaxed sense of relaxation, and I began to laugh uncontrollably.
When I calmed down after a few minutes, Sven looked at me with a special satisfaction in his eyes. “How are you feeling?” He asked. “What the hell was that? That could not be stopped at all. “I answered the question breathing deeply. “We were able to unblock your emotions from your subconscious. It prevented you from looking at the whole situation from another angle. “
It was clear to me that everything that was essential had already taken place. On my way back from Zurich I smiled at the wheel like a marshmallow on the manure, sang and felt like a newborn man. This experience in 2007 made me desire one thing: I remember leaving Sven and thinking for myself “I would love to do something like that in the future!”
In two weeks, thanks to Dr. Heinz Buehlmann’s successful acupuncture intervention, I could play tennis again. But most importantly, I had not only the taste and strength to play, but also the desire to fight again and look forward to new, stressful moments to come. When I summarize this from today’s perspective:
I stopped being a victim of circumstances and became offensive player who can make up their game.
The text of this blog would never have occurred if I did not meet people in my life who opened my eyes and allowed me to reach a new perspective and understanding. Aside from my parents, I would like to thank my first master, Mrs. Melania Molitor, who helped me to understand the word “professional” through tennis, and I would like to thank Sven Patrick Stecher, who has been a mentor and teacher for seven years , Mrs. Roman Šlezarová and Zuzana Fečková Fraňková, who devoted to me the techniques of applied kinesiology and systemic constellations, which showed me the way how to work with fine matter and really change things. Last but not least, I would like to thank my wife Mirka and my son Samuel, who inspired me to “stay awake and not let go”.
With respect Radim Valigura