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Chinese diving team deals with mental stress during winter training
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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 the idea.


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)

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