Biology of Sport
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Journal Abstract
Looking for an optimum model of athlete’s support
J Zdebski, J Blecharz
Biol Sport 2004; 21(2):129-137
ICID: 891889
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 10.26
Abstract provided by Publisher
The starting point for our research was the scheme of the structure of sports sciences included in the work of Bakker, Whiting and Brug [2]. It showed mutual relationships between sport and the four fields of knowledge: psychology, physiology, biomechanics and sociology. It is a well-known fact that a whole team of specialists co-operate with a sportsman and a coach: medical doctors, physiologists, dieticians and masseurs. The question, however, arises: what relationships should there be between them and according to what model should they act. The idea of social support seems to be useful in creating a model of supporting a sportsman. Four forms of social support were identified: emotional support, information support, instrumental support and increasing self-confidence. Bearing the above mentioned divison in mind, let us take into consideration the functioning of a team supporting both a sportsman and, indirectly, also a coach. Why a coach? While supervising the training of a sportsman the coach looks for information which would minimize the possibility of making a mistake [16]. In giving an athlete emotional support, the dominant role is, undoubtedly, that of a psychologist. A psychologist, involved both directly and indirectly, through the coach, can control the atmosphere in a team or in the relationship between the athlete and the coach. The situation is different in case of information support. If we assume that this kind of support is mainly based on giving information which would help in better understanding of the situation, then it turns out that this kind of support should be given both to the athlete and the coach. This kind of information can come from a physiologist, physician, psychologist (how to cope with a difficult situation) and a specialist in biomechanics. Another form of support is instrumental support, which is, among others, a kind of instruction, for example, how an athlete should behave during a long flight involving changes in time and climatic zones in order to minimize negative physical and mental effects. Instrumental support will again have interdisciplinary character; the advice may come form specialists in various fields of knowledge. The kind of support increasing self-confidence can be given to an athlete by the coach, but also by a physiologist, or a psychologist. The above mentioned facts stress the need to work out a system of support for athletes. Such systems were prepared for sport psychology in Australia before the Olympic Games in Sydney (Blecharz 2001). There is no doubt, however, that one uniform model should be worked out. In Poland an attempt at organizing such a team supporting an athlete has been made in case of Adam Malysz (world champion and vice-champion in Lahti 2002, twice world champion in Predazzo in 2003, winner of silver and bronze Olympic medals in Salt Lake City 2002, and three times World Cup winner). The team consists of two coaches, a psychologist (who, at the same time, takes care of the athlete’s physical fitness) a physiologist, a physician and, occasionally, a specialist in biomechanics. In Polish sport we also have Robert Korzeniowski (three times winner of the Olympic gold medals in walking) an athlete who single-handedly can manage his own perfect preparation and support. The problem, therefore is worth undertaking and particular attention should be paid to synchronizing the activities of various members of the team supporting an athlete.

ICID 891889

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