Mental Coaching and the Future of Sports
Iga Swiatek won her first Roland Garros at the age of 19 without conceding a set. Amazing performance when the player was an underdog at the beginning of the tournament.
Mrs Swiatek was not too eager to give a long speech as she put it “not used” but there is someone she wanted to thank on her team : Daria Abramowicz , her mental coach.
The 33 year old Polish sports psychologist is a full time employee ; a rarity on the tennis circuit. Nonetheless, she was able to help her client, Mrs Swiatek, attain a level of maturity when playing on big events and bringing home her first Grand Slam — a first for a Polish athlete.
Her work is now being recognised as effective and needed with mental strength : how to handle the wins and the losses, the pressure on or outside the court, how to boost confidence, etc.
When reading her bio, one can see that Mrs Abramowicz has an interest in sports that she was able to translate into Physical Education and Psychology degrees at college.
Her work is a testimony for a need for more (women) mental coaches. According to the “Sisterhood in Sports” by Dr. Joan Steidinger “ women are more emotional”; this of course is not to underestimate (women) athletes but to understand how the brain works and how it impacts the style of plays. Women athletes are often surrounded by a team of male coaches and mental coaching brings a plus for a woman who more often than not has to deal with her emotions alone.
In the book, it is also stated that women look more for camaraderie than winning at all cost. When “fun” is taken out of the equation; women tend to lose interest altogether.
Generation Z seems more eager to share more about mental health and put aside the stigma that comes with it.
Sports psychologists like Mrs Abramowicz or Mrs Steidinger are paving the way to a new space of women interested in a career in sports and lifting women by building them.
Listen to my podcast (Sporteve) where I discuss the importance of mental coaching with Lerato Mnguni, a South African mental coach and her approach to Africans athletes.