We find out more about our new volunteer - Sports Psychology Practitioner - Rich Dean ...
 
What's a day in the life of Rich like?
 
Well, it's varied! For example, just the other day I was asked to act as the Psychology Consultant for a documentary on boxing, which should be a pretty exciting venture.
 
Do you get the chance to work with high-profile athletes?
 
I'm privileged to say I do. I can count many of the sportsmen and women who I've consulted with as friends, and that's obviously a nice position to be in. I think I've picked up a lot of good habits / ways of operating through observing these high-profile people. I have very few bad experiences to share - most of the behaviour I've seen / worked with has been very positive.
 
You went to the Anniversary Games back in the last weekend of July; how was that?
 
The atmosphere in the stadium, particularly on the middle Saturday, was incredible! It peaked for Mo's brilliant victory in the 3000m. I asked him afterwards how he'd found it and he said it was amazing being back at the stadium and added that it felt like 2012 all over again! Jessica Ennis-Hill also got an amazing reception, as did all the GB athletes.
 
Which other athletes did you get to talk to at the Anniversary Games?
 
Ok, I hope I miss no-one out here! Greg Cackett, Luke Gunn, Shannon Rowbury, Ryan Wilson, Dwain Chambers, Harry Aikines Aryeetey, Sebastien Rodger, Steph Twell, James Ellington, Asha Phillip, Silke Spiegelburg, Lee Emanuel, Sally Pearson ... oh and Usain Bolt!
 
How much is athletics a mental, as well as a physical, challenge?
 
It's best to get the athletes to answer that ...
 
Asha Phillip (GB): 'Sport is more mental than it is physical.'
 
Dwain Chambers (GB): 'You can have all the ability and experience, but if your mind is not right for the job, you won't win. The race is won and lost in the head. I always say that to young athletes.'
 
Greg Cackett (GB): 'Sport is so psychological; it's so important.'
 
Harry Aikines Aryeetey (GB): 'It's massively important, talent is very close at this level. To be a champion you have to be able to hold your head together.'
 
Sebastian Rodger (GB): 'I think it's huge. The power of mental strength at this level is the difference between winning and losing.'
 
Steph Twell (GB): 'Its very important to athletes for athletes to use routines and compartmentalise their training.'
 
James Ellington (GB): 'If you haven't got it upstairs, you're not going to fulfil your potential.'
 
Usain Bolt (JAM): 'You always need to be focused, it goes hand in hand with how fit and strong you are.'
 
Luke Gunn (GB): 'Lifestyle and support is so important to success.'
 
Shannon Rowbury (USA): 'I think it's really, really important. You can have really good training, but if you don't know how to bring the right mentality to the race, it's so easy to start doubting yourself. It's so important.'
 
Ryan Wilson (USA): “Other than your DNA it's the most important factor. I have a routine that cues me up and gets my attention going in the right direction.'
 
Lee Emanuel (GB): 'How you feel in your head is more important than you feel in your legs! Its hugely important.'
 
Sally Pearson (AUS): 'It's definitely one of the key things that you have to be strong at if you want to perform at your best.'
 
Silke Spiegelburg (GER): 'How you're feeling is so important.'
 
I think that's a very emphatic endorsement of the relationship between psychology and performance!
 
How did the athletes come across to you?
 
Brilliantly well. Humble, welcoming and optimistic. It was great to chat with them. It was great to understand the unanimity with which they see sports psychology as integral to their performances.
 
Should anyone be interested in improving the mental side of their game, feel free to e-mail me at: rich.dean@talk21.com
 
Thanks, Rich. It's great to have a Sports Psychologist as part of Team Support through Sport UK!