IN winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz credited the holistic training she got throughout the preparation process, including developing her mental health to forge ahead.
She did it with help from sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad, part of the Olympian’s “Team HD,” who was with her right from the beginning of her Tokyo Olympic push.
In a recent webinar on mental toughness hosted by sports brand Under Armour, Dr. Trinidad shared her experience working with Ms. Diaz and how focusing on the mental aspect of performance would go a long way as far as achieving success.
“Mental health is very important. Before, there was a stigma when you talk about mental health; it was difficult to accept that athletes need to take care of their mental health as well. But if you’re going to look at the formula of performance, you have the physical, technical and psychological [aspects]. So if you neglect the mental aspect of performance, you cannot give your hundred percent performance,” she said.
“So it’s very important to address or focus as well on your mental health because when you’re mentally healthy, you enjoy life, the environment and the people around it. If you’re mentally healthy, you can better cope with difficulties, especially in competitions,” Dr. Trinidad added.
The sports psychologist went on to say that the journey of Ms. Diaz to the gold medal was a “roller-coaster ride” and that she was proud and happy to see the Zamboanga native was able to handle it and stay the course.
Ms. Diaz, who was also part of the webinar, shared there were times that she would argue with her team — which also included weightlifting and strength and conditioning coaches and a sports nutritionist — amid conditions brought about by the pandemic, but with proper counseling they were able to sort things out and continue what they set out to do.
“Sports psychology, or psychology, in general, is important because it’s not only focusing on performance, but the total well-being of the person. It’s a holistic approach,” Dr. Trinidad said.
She expressed hope that with the experience and success of Ms. Diaz more athletes and people get to realize the importance of their mental health and that there is nothing wrong in consulting with sports psychologists or psychologists if they want to get better in what they are doing and succeed. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo