Sunday, June 6, 2010

It’s Stressful Alright!!!!

The big Inter Services Rugby Tournament is less than 2 weeks away. The spirit among the players is at all time high and rising. I get goose bumps (meremang bulu roma) on numerous occasions; sometimes when I see the players executing their tactics to perfection, sometimes when I give them ‘pep’ talk and sometimes simply when the conversation about the upcoming tournament crops up. The players are progressing well in training, while at the same time accomplishing their intermediate milestones such as winning the state tournament and playing well in test matches. Everything is on track as far as I’m concerned.

Our recent success in the state championships - a stepping stone to the big one

The players have been spending long hour on training. The morning sessions are normally spent on small unit skills. The morning periods have also been spent at the gym for weight training or at the stadium for running and sprinting. The early part of the afternoon sessions are spent in the scorching heat for a little bit of fitness and followed by drills on Game Plan and tactical development. The players have been pushed to the limit in their fitness and conditioning training, and I intend to push them some more. They’ve had some tough matches recently and a couple more are coming up soon. Apart from physical training, the players are also being prepared mentally. They had recently attended a course specifically designed to strengthen their mental state, and I can sense positive signs resulting from it. I have also started to write the narrative to assist players with their “visualization” sessions. Together, we’ve analysed videos of their previous games. We’ve also engaged a special coach to twig and fine tune various aspects of our game.

A good way to ease the players' stress

It’s been a few months since we started and we’ve done a lot of things. It’s stressful alright but I’m glad to see that my players are taking it in stride. They know exactly what’s at stake here. They know they are up against the odds in trying to win the tournament for the first time EVER. They know their opponents well enough to know it’s going to be an excruciating battle. Being an underdog is never an easy task. However, they also know this. They stand a good change to stage a surprise. They also know that teamwork, fitness and desire to win (mental strength) are equally important to skills. And these three factors may just propel them to victories. Ohh…it’s stressful alright. But I have also just learned that there is a direct relationship between stress and performance. The key is to drive the stress high enough to arrive at optimum performance. Overdoing it will kill performance, and not exerting enough will deplete performance.

Two similar graphs representing the relationship of Performance vs Stress

We still have two more weeks of this highly stressful environment to go through. I know apart from seeing my skin getting overly tanned, my hair is also turning grey exponentially. I love it, I love what I’m doing and I’m proud to see how the boys have progressed. I pray for the best, I know my boys will give their best………and all this stress is definitely worth it.