Dr William Kwabena Owusu, a Brain Specialist, has said that about 75% of sportsmen and women in Ghana and Africa lack the mental toughness required for competitions.
Dr Owusu, who is also an expert in Philosophy of Mind, Psychology and Sports Science, said the lack of mental toughness was the biggest enemy of the sportsmen and women in Ghana and Africa, attributing it to the absence of mental training.
He said competitive sports is 85-90% a mental game, but unfortunately, the physical aspect of the game is emphasized at the expense of the others. He underscored the need to include mental training in order to curtail the challenges in our sports.
In an interview with GNA Sports, he noted that the lack of mental toughness causes sportspersons to give up and underperform during competitions, hence, the need to consistently focus on, train, and practice mental toughness in Ghana and Africa.
He said the level of a sportsperson’s success is in direct proportion to the level of mental toughness.
“As a specialist, I have noted that when mental toughness training becomes a habit, sports personality can perform at the upper range and ability.
“Mental toughness better equips sportsmen and women to handle obstacles, interference and difficult circumstances without losing confidence or motivation.
“Mental toughness is comparable to fitness level, the more we train, the more fit we become. When we stop training, our fitness level sinks. If we fail to attend to our mental fitness consistently, our mental toughness level begins to reduce.
“The influence that psychological factors have on our sports performance is becoming increasingly critical and prominent today. That is why coaches, athletes and sports administrators in Europe and other advanced countries have recognized that raw physical talent alone cannot guarantee success, however, in Ghana and Africa, mental training has never be our priority,” he said.
Dr. Owusu noted that although there is research that supports this theory, the concept is yet to be accepted in Ghana and in Africa.
“Although this view is endorsed by various researchers and sports developers, within Ghana and African, there is still a concerning lack of belief in the influence of sports science and psychological intervention, and it impact on performance.
He said in Ghana and some part of Africa, the mental element is overlooked when faced with difficulties in performances, and whenever situations that require an enhanced level of performance come up, the immediate reaction is generally to adjust all levels and phases of their ‘physical’ training routine long before the mental aspect of performance is even considered.
He stated that every sports contest was a contest of control; control of the peaceful mind, and body connection. Yet, Ghanaian sportspeople consistently and persistently continue to train harder physically at the expense of mental training.
He said the biology of the human body was designed to regulate its very existence, and this regulation stems directly from the central control system, the brain, and the mind.
“Athletes that engage mental in training and performance have a more significant advantage over their colleagues who don’t do so.
“Regardless of the physical attributes that athletes or footballers may possess, the ‘tougher’ athlete or footballer will most often prevail,” he noted.