Behind the historical performance of Hidilyn Diaz in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics is a Thomasian sports psychologist, whose role is to keep the Filipina Olympian’s mental and psychological health in check throughout her training.
The Thomasian touch for the tough Filipina
Serving as a consultant in the Philippine Sports Commission – Sports Psychology unit, Dr. Karen Katrina Trinidad, PhD, RPsy of the Department of Psychology has coached all the national athletes, including Diaz.
“Hidilyn sought my services and included me to be part of Team HD (Hidilyn Diaz) because she understands the importance of a sports science team,” Trinidad says.
Even before she has powered her way to the peak of the podium in the women’s 55 kg. category for weightlifting, Diaz already has the heart of a champion since the day she has become Trinidad’s client. Meanwhile, Trinidad has witnessed Diaz develop and improve her mental toughness in the preparation period, or the Olympic Cycle.
“As an athlete you need to be mentally tough before, during and after your competitions. Through our weekly sessions, I saw her overcome many anxiety and mental battles through countless competitions like the South East Asian Games (SEA), world competitions, and before the Tokyo Olympics,” Trinidad says.
Moreover, Trinidad expresses that Diaz’ victory is a cocktail of hardwork, determination, and science. “However, winning in the Olympics is not because of luck. Champions are made with hard work, determination and science. We need to work with people with different expertise with one goal— to win,” she says.
“I feel very blessed and honored that I am a part of history in achieving the first gold medal of our country,” Trinidad says.
Team HD is composed of head coach Gao Kaiwen, nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, and Trinidad, the sports psychologist. “We work collaboratively and apply our expertise in our fields to ensure that Hidilyn is in her best form in all aspects,” Trinidad says.
Providing mental and psychological coaching services
The role of a sports psychologist is to ensure that the athletes are mentally healthy so that they can achieve their optimal performance while competing. “We usually provide mental health support for our athletes through Counseling/Therapy sessions, Pre, During, and Post Competition Assistance,” Trinidad says.
“We also provide psychological skills training, lectures and team building. The goal of our Sports Psychology unit is for our athletes to achieve positive control of the emotional and psychological aspect of the game,” she adds.
Likewise, Trinidad also expresses her gratitude to PSC for recognizing the need for providing emotional and psychological support for the Filipino and Filipina athletes in all sports.
How to become a sports psychologist?
For those who are aspiring to be a sports psychologist, Trinidad says that one requirement is to be a psychologist with an experience working with national athletes. “They will be working with the best athletes of our country and they need to be able to apply effective psychological skills to help our national athletes develop, acquire, and prolong efficient performance and optimize preparation in order to perform best even at critical moments,” Trinidad says.
For those who are interested to avail the services of the sports psychologists, you can reach them on:
Facebook: PSC Sports Psychology