Sports psychology: Why India is far from the finish line

India could be two to three decades behind the West when it comes to incorporating sports psychology into an athlete’s all-around development. Illustration: iStock

In the run-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, when a barely 18 years old Indian swimmer decided to consult a sports psychologist, many back home were worried “if all is well with Nisha Millet”. Back then, sports psychology was unheard of in India. However, in Australia, sports institutes had programmes that included strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists and sports psychologists.

“People were concerned about me to a point where they would enquire if I was doing alright. But I had gone to consult a sports therapist because I wanted to feel mentally stronger,” says Millet. It was the qualifying round and no one had qualified from India back then, so there was a lot of pressure on the 18-year-old. “Consulting a therapist really helped me,” the celebrated swimmer tells The Federal.

Even two decades later, India, a country notoriously oblivious and insensitive to the mental health crisis in general, is only beginning to realise the importance of sports psychology.

The mind game

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