In a special series on NewsX presented by CatFit titled – ‘Importance of mental, emotional and psychological fitness in sports’, two of the young leading sportsperson – Arundhati Reddy, International Cricketer and Shrishti Jupudi, FMR International Badminton player shared their journey as a sportsperson in India and how mental health plays a major role in delivering the best performances. The discussion revolved around the mental, physical and emotional well-being of a sportsperson, the importance of physical fitness, and the need for mental health counseling.

Addressing the importance of mental health and training in sports, Arundhati spoke about how she entered the world of sports at a very fragile age and at the time when she was playing domestic cricket there were certain days when she wasn’t able to perform. She said how she barely knew the importance of mental well-being or a certain frame of mind a sportsperson has to be in to enhance their skill and perform better on the ground. ”Especially at such a top-level, when you know that you are under scrutiny all the time, it comes out to be a huge responsibility and the pressure to perform well is always there and it is very important to be mentally strong and tough” she further said.

Adding on to Arundhati’s remarks, Shrishti who herself embarked on the journey at a very early stage in her teenage years talked about her psychological and mental training. She stated how at the top level when you are an international and professional sportsperson, it becomes more of an act of psychological warfare. She explained the formula that functions in international sports is 20:80 where 20% constitutes of one’s skill set and physical training whereas the larger part i.e 80%  constitutes of the mental toughness and the psychological mindset of the player.

”Playing at the top level and surviving in a highly competitive environment has made me realise how strong-headed one must have to be. I myself started following my mentor’s and coach’s advice for my mental well being and started to observe the changes which occurred in a linear manner and eventually I made it my routine” Shrishti added.  She also spoke about her own mantras that have helped her to keep moving forward and have given her strength and resilience. Shristi underlined that one must constantly visualise their goals and work on their growth and progress.

Arundhati, who is an international level cricket player talked about her training regime and how a lot of effort has to be put into hardcore strength and physical training. ” We, the Indian team put a lot of effort in preparing well for tournaments. For me, it’s more about visualisation of my goals and it was during lockdown when I started paying attention to my mental health. I realised that I have not taken a break in decades. During covid-19 lockdown, I had a lot of time and that’s when I began to do meditation regularly and it has helped me a lot” She further added.

Catfit, as an organisation has been playing a significant role in the overall mental as well as the physical well-being of sportspersons. Talking about the initiative, Mr Arpan Dixit, Global head Catfit said ”We started out back in 2017 when we realised that how there is a lack of mental health awareness for people in sports and there is need of some mental and psychological trainers for people in sports. Catfit arranged a team of trained psychologists, mental health trainees, nutritionists, physical fitness trainers and began a regime called- ‘Military application and Special forces tactics for sports’. Explaining further about this regime he underlined how within this special regime, sportspersons are first given a psychological questionnaire where the team analyses what level of resilience each person has identifies the issues and concerns and churn out a plan for their training and assign them a psychological and mental toughness trainer who is from the special forces and the black cat commandos.

Speaking about the careers in sports and how parents often hesitate to send their children to the field, Arundhati said that her mother has been an inspiration and has given her constant support. ”Being a sportsperson herself, my mother has taught me a lot and has always motivated me to pursue my dreams and I think every parent should just let their child do what he/she dreams of” She said.

Adding on to the conversation, Shrishti said that India holds a lot of scope in terms of sports and many government policies and incentives are now there which helps even those coming from poor financial backgrounds and different social hierarchies. ”Even if I have quit playing badminton, I think that my active engagement in sports shall help me forward in the leadership path that I want to embark upon. There are many incentives like Khelo India and different type of quotas available for sportspersons and there are different avenues one can choose from,” she added.

Watch the entire telecast here: