The Chinese diving team, tipped as the Dream Team, will
experience a different winter training in Jinan, East China which
is focusing on mental training.
The six-week winter training, also the last winter training
before the Olympic Games, aims at improving the divers' mental
stability and consistency, including psychological development,
YOGA class, presentation and English class.
According to the psychologists, being a host team does not
necessarily go with more advantages and titles. It can be
disadvantages. Atmosphere in the scene, family members and friends
in the stand and environment with the familiar mother language, all
may become particular stress for athletes.
In a survey conducted by the Chinese shooting team recently, all
the host teams suffered a slump on their home turf during the
previous Olympic Games.
In order to make the athletes perform their best form during the
games, a psychological development course has become compulsory for
the diving team every week during the winter training.
In the course each week, the psychologists make up a story about
one psychological problem, and the athletes will discuss it in
groups. As to the psychologists, it's more effective to let the
athletes understand by themselves rather than just introduce them
In order to improve the athletes' mental quality, the diving
team specially engaged a YOGA teacher to design a YOGA course
relevant with diving's motion. The YOGA course has been added to
the divers every Sunday morning.
YOGA is a Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness
for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.
What's more, interview skills is also a compulsory course for
the divers. In the winter training, the traditional tests are taken
place by presentation and training courses in interview skills.
"what athletes compete is not only diving techniques, but also
mental quality and communication skills." said Zhou Jihong on
Tuesday, Chinese diving team leader.
The diving team also hired two foreign English teachers to help
the athletes with their English in Jinan.
"The athletes have learned some English in Beijing," said Zhou.
"Now we are in the winter training in Jinan, but the English course
should not stop."
"It is also a way to reduce the pressure for the athletes," Zhou
added. "As the Olympics approaches, we should not talk about
training and competition all the time."
"Both the athletes and the coaches need to have some rest and be
relaxed. And learning English can reduce their stress by
distracting their attention." said Zhou.
"The athletes can chat with foreign players at international
events, which can give them lots of achievements."
(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2008)