There are two sides to any competitive sport: the mental and the physical. If the former is overlooked, a team’s or individual’s performance might suffer as a result of a lack of mental preparation. Part of the FNB Ikey Tigers’ resurgence this season can be accredited to their mental approach to the competition.
“I didn’t work on their technical skills or their physical skills, but on their mental skills. I saw them grow as individuals and as a team. They definitely grew in maturity and self-confidence,” said Luc van der Hofstadt, the mental coach who worked with the FNB Ikey Tigers this season.
Van der Hofstadt has been working in South Africa for one and a half years now, and is part of the South African branch of the global organisation known as ‘Mentally Fit Institute’, who aim to energise individuals, teams as well as organisations. Upon reading his long list of qualifications and achievements, you’ll notice that his time with the FNB Ikey Tigers isn’t the first time he’s worked with a rugby team, as he’s also worked with the national Springbok Sevens side.
Van der Hofstadt was first brought in right before FNB UCT’s win away to FNB Shimlas, proving that the mental side of rugby has a big impact on what happens on the field. Coming in, he assessed the team’s culture and their objectives. Were they happy to be one of the nine teams in the competition, or did they want to make the play-offs and eventually win it? These are some of the fundamental questions he asked while working with the squad.
“I really did see them grow, individually and collectively,” he said, “They have a collective intelligence, and they really grew in-between their ears.”
This is undoubtedly a positive outcome, as even though the FNB Ikey Tigers fell short of making the play-offs, they’ll be able to combine their renewed mindset and the experience they gained throughout the season to go even further next time around.
(For more information regarding the Mentally Fit Institute, visit their website http://mentallyfitglobal.com)
By Wessley Thring