Last month’s article and video of Asafa Powell 9.74 100m World Record brought the attention of the subject “Sport Psychology”
I’ll bet you’re thinking Asafa Powell is having meetings with many Sport Psychologists, before the Beijing Olympics in 2008) thinking he can’t win the “big one” or that “he is a choker at big meets” (source: Letsrun.com forum)
Why do people think Asafa is a “choker”? Let’s recap:
- 5th and out of the medals in the 2004 OG Athens
- Loss to Tyson Gay at 2007 WC
- The three 9.77 WR were not in big meets requiring multiple rounds
- He set a WR in the heats at a small no-pressure meet (see the video and the low numbers of spectators and the “relaxed” atmosphere around the track, especially behind the 100 meter start line)
Personally, I think the reason why Asafa lost was the lack of races leading up to the championships. He was not prepared for running multiple rounds in a major championships. Tyson Gay had to “qualify” at USATF by running 3 rounds in the 100 meters and 3 rounds in the 200 meters!
Adarian Barr has another good theory, posted on his blog.
For a 100m sprinter, you should run between 5-7 races. A 400m needs less, perhaps 3-5 races.
I lost the 400m Canadian Masters Championships in Calgary (2004) when I was certainly capable of running faster. I only had one race prior to the championships and I simply went out too hard (visions of Innocent Egbunike come to mind). I ran 52.4, 52.63, and 52.64 the year before (2003, age 39) and the winning time for the championships was 53 mid.
Going back to Sport Psychology, on the hockey front, Anthony Robbins was called by Barry Melrose’s Los Angeles Kings in desperation during the 1993 Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadians.
But the Habs still won the Cup.
Tomorrow, I’ll list several good resources of Sport Psychology.