Sun | Sep 20, 2020

One day at a time - Sports psychologist warns against anxiety during COVID-19 spike

Published:Friday | August 14, 2020 | 12:06 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter

Sports psychologist Dr Olivia Rose believes that sports stakeholders should not lean towards worst-case scenarios regarding the possibility of another shutdown of sports because of sharp COVID-19 increases.

The recent double-digit increases of positive COVID-19 cases nationally have caused concern among the few sports that have been allowed to resume since June. Rose believes it is premature to predict how the increase will affect the continued resumption of sports.

“We don’t want to pre-empt or predict a more negative outcome than a more positive one, and the thing is we don’t know just yet what will happen,” Rose told The Gleaner.

Horse racing, athletics and golf are only a handful of sporting events that were given clearance to return, the majority without fans in attendance. Given the recent spike in cases and the possible repercussions that may arise from it, Rose believes that athletes, coaches and support staff have to manage what they have control over and use healthy techniques to boost their mental health.


“At the individual level, we don’t cope in the same way and we just need to be mindful of the different coping mechanisms that people will employ in trying to deal with this. But what I would recommend is that you try to stay as hopeful as possible and take it a day at a time,” she said.

Sprintec head coach Maurice Wilson believes that continuing to maintain fitness for his athletes will be essential in elevating their spirits as he ended the 2020 season for his group, which also includes athletes from the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.

“What we would have to do is just to encourage them to now focus on next season, to maintain some amount of athletic shape by keeping fit. Now is the time that they can keep fit,” Wilson said.

The Velocity Fest track meet held over the weekend was the latest track and field event to be staged since the restart. Wilson said that he was happy that his group was able to seize the opportunity to compete in the last few local meets, and that can be used to motivate his charges going forward.

“So from a mental standpoint, it’s just to encourage those who would have participated (Sunday), show them the positive results that we got, and show how we were able to garner those results and what are the things that they have to do now for the next three or four weeks in order to make sure that they would not have lost completely what they gained throughout the last part of the season,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, Y Speedos Swim Club coach Lynval Lowe says that he has focused on gearing his young swimmers to focus more on reintegrating themselves in the pool as a way to alleviate concerns stemming from the spike and the lack of competition for the foreseeable future.

“What I do is try to keep them in the pool, and I try to make them know that just like everybody else, you need exercise,” Lowe said. “So you on a whole, as a young person, even though there is nothing for you to represent right now, you just have to keep in the pool, keep fit and enjoy it while you are doing it at the same time.”