Saturday, February 28, 2009

World Conversations 2008 Olympic Games: A Coach's Perspective

Colleen M. Hacker described her experience in Beijing as being amazing and remarkable. The culture was exciting and new and the people of China were very friendly and eager to help her and the team. There was so much to see but she made sure they had an important balance between experiencing the culture and focusing on the Olympics. Security was so tight there that every conversation was monitored and they made sure to hide any flaws because they didn't want it to leak out. To train the athletes she mentions using heat and humidity chambers to help them get used to high heat and humidity. As a mental skills coach she doesn't need to motivate the athletes. She helps them with action plans, using imagery, control attention and distractions, sleep, self confidence, injury, team building, self-talk and more. First these skills need to be analyzed and observed, then they self-evaluate, next they learn them and apply it in training which then is applied in competition, and finally it can become automatic. Also in her lecture she discussed some of the differences between the US and Chinese sport system. In China, children as young as 4 years old become active in sports and are measured to decide what they should get into. Sports is their primary focus, not school. In the US, people are able to decide what sport they want to get into. Also, education comes first and then sports. Overall Colleen Hacker had a wonderful experience going to Beijing and being a part of a world wide union through sportsmanship. She was very proud of her country and being able to represent it. This is definitely an unforgettable experience.

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