Friday, May 30, 2008

Sports Science and Life

Singapore would be pitting against Uzbekistan in the 3rd round of the world cup qualifier in the coming weeks. National coach Radojko Avramovic has engaged the services of bio-mechanist (Performance Analyst) Daniel Greenwood from the Singapore Sports Council to analyze the strategies of the opponent from the videotapes of its previous matches.

Greenwood has spent 3 weeks watching videotapes, one after another, of the opponent’s matches, analyzing the performance, formation, tactics, behavior of each team member and collectively as a team. Using scientific and high-tech instrument, he was able to translate his findings into a set of useful statistics and data, whereby insights into the tactics of the opponents could be gleaned from. Finally, this analyzed information would be presented to National Coach Radojko for his use in deployment and coaching of his team.

Performance analysis is just part of the discipline of sports science which deals with the psychology of human performance in sports and attempts to apply science to improve sports performance.

Sport performance is also influenced by psychology: the mental make-up of sportsmen. In many competitions, what distinguishes the winner from the rest of the participants is having a visualization of the game prior to participation and having visualized playing the game among the opponents, thinking through the strategies to adopt, the pitfalls to avoid and the advantages to utilize.. in essence visualizing success.

There was an experiment conducted before whereby a group of experienced basketballers were divided into 3 groups for further training. In a nutshell, the story goes like this: the first group practised regularly on the courts, the second group did not practise playing at all and the last group was given training via visualization, without actually working out at the courts. Weeks passed and the basketballers were invited to a friendly tournament on the court: without any surprise, the performance of the second group deteriorated sharply and what was more surprising was that the performance of the last group was on par with the first group.

The above story is but one of the many instances of the application of the mantra “Begin with the end in mind”, one of the seven habits preached by Steven Covey, the author of the best selling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.

It is paramount to have an end in mind for our life and start as early as possible to align our life in accordance with this, taking small but incremental steps to achieve our goals.

In this ceaseless pursuit for money, luxury, material pleasures amidst the corporate rat race, we may seem to be wasting time in our life, our one and only life.

It is not late to take stock of what one eventually wants in life and start to work towards one goals!

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