India gets sports psychologist ahead of Intercontinental Cup 2023

The Senior Men’s National Team is set to have a sports psychologist Shayamal Vallabhjee in the National camp for the first time, ahead of the Intercontinental Cup, in Bhubaneswar, the All Indian Football Federation said in a statement on Monday.

“A renewed focus on mental health is among the Federation’s driving objectives to not just maximise potential and performances, but also create an environment of trust and togetherness among players.

The addition of a sports psychologist will also address situations of burnout among players and ensure that they have recovery mechanisms available to them to work through it,” the AIFF said in a statement.

Vallabhjee at the national camp ahead of the Intercontinental Cup 2023.

Vallabhjee at the national camp ahead of the Intercontinental Cup 2023.
| Photo Credit: AIFF Media

Vallabhjee has previously worked on the ATP Tour, with IPL franchises and professional golfers across the world.

“Players are physiologically monitored on a regular basis, with every aspect of their physical wellbeing scrutinised and worked on. It is important to do the same for them psychologically. I am proud to be part of a new Indian Football project and hope to help them achieve success here,” he told AIFF.

The Indian national team is preparing for the tournament in Odisha and will play Lebanon, Vanuatu and Mongolia before travelling to Bengaluru for the SAFF Championship.

The Blue Tigers are preparing for the AFC Asian Cup next year, a tournament it has earned consecutive qualifications for very first time, and is grouped alongside Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria.

Igor Stimac expressed hope after the appointment of Vallabhjee.

“We will start with understanding how each player’s personality type responds to pressure and then go on to create a coaching mechanism that helps them become emotionally resilient to external pressure,” he was quoted telling the AIFF website.

“Conversations with a psychologist will provide the coaching staff a window into how every player absorbs information, which will then enable us to create communication strategies that optimise their learning.

“Mr Vallabhjee has experience in sports psychology and is here to help us improve in many points we haven’t had time to work on before. Making player profiles will help the coach staff communicate better within themselves and with the team.”

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