The women's basketball team MBK Ruzomberok got through to the finals the quickest way - by winning 3:0 in semifinal series. The head coach claims that mental preparation was crucial on the way to finals.
We see the growing tendency of implementing mental preparation in sport. Nowadays, it is not just individual athletes, but also teams. Unfortunately, high-quality mental preparation in Slovakia is a exception rather than standard.
MBK Ruzomberok has also approached applying mental preparation. Mental preparation of the women's basketball team was kicked off in January 2018 by mental diagnostics SportMind that supports other sport fields too - especially ice-hockey and football. The coaching staff was widened with Zuzana Psenakova as a mental coach for the women's team.
Besides the fact that MBK Ruzomberok didn't start the semifinals of the Slovak highest women's league as favorits, they won the series in the quickest possible way - 3:0.
The head coach, Juraj Suja, considers mental preparation as an important part of the process. "We have a new and multicultural team. I felt the need of united team mindset and effective cooperation in team. We can see positive changes in mental skills of individual players. We think that mental preparation has left important mark on our success - getting into the finals. However, we believe this is not our last success this season."
The aim of mental preparation was clear from the beginning - break the 3-years-serie of not getting into the finals. It is clear to say that we have achieved this goal. Ruzomberok is fighting for the title after 3 years.
"After the winter break, the team has changed as a few players left and another have joined the team. The success lies in an effective cooperation of individuals, that can suffer when the team changed during the season. Our goal was to build a team spirit and get the team together before the most decisive part of the season - play-off. Considering the high possibility of meeting Piestanske Cajky in semifinals and their adverse game statistics we have also worked on builiding up confidence in players and the whole team. They need to believe that they can be better not just like individuals players but also as a team." Psenakova explained.
"Mental preparation helped us to build our team confidence. We realized that the success in sport comes hand in hand with good mental training" Taijah Campbell, the team captain, says. The training process was enriched with team mettings and individual consultations with players when topics such as "How to concentrate", "What are my strong abilities", "What are we good at as a team", "Why is communication important"m "How to cooperate effectively" or "How to set goals" were discussed.
"Thanks to mental preparation we have learn to trust and support each other because that is very important in team sports. We became closer as a team and we were able to showed that in games too." Miroslava Mistinova says.
In professional leagues it is about details. The ability to play a game with clear mind can be the key difference between winners and losers. In team sports it is also the will to put the team on the first place. The athletes must learn that the club symbol on their chest is more important than the name on their back. That is the only way the team can be successful when it matters the most.