Top Bet sponsored Mbarara City players enjoy a light moment after a swimming session Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

The loss of loved ones, isolation and stoppage of everyday activities have been caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Lifestyles have been crippled as finances also dwindle.

Jocob Kiplimo crossing the finish line Credit: IAAF

Most athletes have been caught up in the mix just like every other individual in their respective work space. Sport is demanding certain aspects remain important irrespective of the situation a player maybe entangled in.

Edgar Kazibwe – a psychologist and Kawowo Sports Editor – recommends these five techniques to help sportspeople transition best and minimize mental strain during this COVID-19 situation.

One of the most important is having an agenda and following it. This involves scheduling the day by dividing your it into work (if home working) rest, exercise, meals, hobbies and so much more. Many sportsmen at the top level are used to having a well-worked and designated rhythm of activities.

As they settle in their personal spaces during this time, their chances of veering away from the normal may be high. Following routines – with constant communication with their personal trainers to keep up their progressive activity helps on easing mental strain as well aiding transition from the core athletic identity.

Uganda Cranes players in a pre-training talk session at GEMS Cambridge, Butabika

Secondly, planning and setting goals remains vital in times like this. There is a lot of uncertainity especially with when the leagues will resume, or perhaps the end of lockdown in several countries. Planning therefore sticks out as very important. Timing out the activities of the day, including those that one enjoys facilitates the reduction of anxiety.

Uganda Rugby Sevens training squad

Training the brain just as the body also counts during this time. The art of knowing you have competition and that you can’t stop pushing yourself needs to remain. Even though you can keep up with routines of staying fit, cognitive workout like studying opponents or rivals, engaging in challenges among fellow sportspeople should be a bonus.

A sportsperson needs to know that whoever takes the best advantage of this will return with a competitive advantage. Playing online games or playing video games with an aspect of visuospatial reasoning, taking part in novel activities such as dance, art, and music can be another way.

Denis Onyango Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Embracing digital platforms to express how one is feeling. Anxiety and depression are common in this situation. Staying connected is priority and can be enhanced with Video conferencing, or over phone calls or just text or messaging. With proper support and engaging professionals, the chances of being in better mental health space are high.

Robert ‘Kara’ Odongkara (right) and Saladhin Bergecho scroll through a mobile phone at Hotel Tulip Credit: © Kawowo Sports/ JOHN BATANUDDE

Working as a team and building cohesion with fellow sportmen and sportswomen is vital in achieving a common goal of overcoming COVID-19. Taking on different tasks and achieving pre-set goals with a sense of belonging eases the sportsperson from possible mental strain as well.

Uganda vs Germany team hurdles before kick-off of final Pool C match. Credit: Kawowo Sports | MATIAS MATUS ACEBO

Deputy Editor at Kawowo Sports. He is an aspiring Sport Psychologist.

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