Although offering a sponsorship to a talented athlete is an exceptional and somewhat noble gesture, I lobby that the sponsors should look deeper into what it is that the athlete’s needs are. Yes, while monetary support for all the nutritional foods, supplements, sport equipment and sports gear are necessary, it is imperative that room be made for preparing these athletes mentally as well.
When it comes to athleticism, the holistic domain is often overlooked. Because athleticism is literally built off what shape the physical body is in, we very seldom dig into what the physical activity itself can do for the mental capacity as well.
In the book authored by David Carless and Kitrina Douglas, titled Sport and Physical Activity for Mental Health back in 2009, we see that performing a physical activity both as an amateur or professionally have many benefits to the mental health for any one given person.
Thus a sponsorship for athletes that promotes support in more than just a financial way is essential for the growth of that athlete. The human body is a holistic entity and studies have shown that we as humans functions, not only on a physical level but on an emotional level amongst others as well.
Nurturing only ones physical body will not get that body to function at an optimum if you are neglecting the mind. This notion is particularly true when it comes to competitions. If your mind is not focused, it can be the difference between a win and a loss.
If we speak on a physical level, as Carless and Douglas confirms, performing sporting activities will not only improve one’s mood as endorphins are releases, but also decrease the levels or anxiety and depression in a person. This is a crucial aspect to look in to. Therefore, practices of training the mind through meditation and one on one mentorship can prove to be beneficial. This, after all is a lifestyle of success that the sponsors are aiming for, therefore attending to all the human facilities on both a physical and mental level will prove to enhance the performance of the athlete.
Another side of the coin is that these days “making it” as a professional athlete means instant gratification. Fame and fortune follows these successful athletes nearly instantaneously. Hence when you offer an athlete a sponsorship you need to mentor them on what it is that they can expect to receive. So often we hear of famous athletes that come from impoverished backgrounds, that now loses their fortunes due to not knowing how to manage their new found wealth. This could be because the athlete has no financial management skills or because he/she was weak in mind and therefore succumbed to the pressures of the fast life lifestyle. Or even a combination of both which in most cases will be devastating to the career of that athlete. Discipline of the mind will ensure that the athlete is guided by intuition and therefore mistakes of getting sucked into the fast life will not even surface.
Hence, training the athletes mind from the ground up is essential and sponsors should take note to this when drafting their skeleton as to what the sponsorship offers. If it is that they want the sponsored athlete to perform at their highest/optimum level then developing programs that incorporates a holistic approach which focuses on the health of the mind, will be imperative.