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“There was bullying: ‘Oh, you’re a wimp!’ How Medvedeva, Yagudin and others work with psychologists

Date: June 16, 2024 Time: 03:40:37

Psychological crises in athletes are not uncommon. At the last Olympic Games, Kamila Valieva and Alexandra Trusova had a hard time, but these are just the consequences of the unrealistic pressure that we saw. In fact, every day skaters fight with themselves so as not to give up and continue their favorite business, and then give their best at the competitions. And sometimes they need professional help.

Dmitry Aliev was able to cope with anxiety thanks to work with a psychologist, Alexei Yagudin defeated Evgeni Plushenko and won the Olympics, and Evgenia Medvedeva learned to live after the suspension of her sports career. Let’s talk about how it happened.

Working with a psychologist inspired Aliyev

The topic of athletes’ mental health is rarely raised in professional circles, yet mental preparation is incredibly important to achieving good results. Any competition is a stressful situation for an athlete, and the higher the status of the start, the more tense it feels. The right attitude leads to success, but sometimes a coach alone is not enough to feel confident.

As no one else knows about this Dmitry Aliev, who until recently was going through difficult times. Despite the support of Evgeny Rukavitsyn, the skater could not give his best during the rentals. He pointed out that it was not just suboptimal form (Aliyev had a bad back), but also an emotional breakdown. Then Dmitry surprised everyone when, after an unsuccessful short program in the Grand Prix final, he climbed to the second step of the podium, performing well in the free skate.

Dmitry Aliev

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship

The athlete’s secret turned out to be simple: he talked to a psychologist with whom he works regularly. “I have a personal psychologist. There was a phase of failure. But now I know for sure that I will get out of this state. We can say that I pushed from below and flew up. You need to find how to exist in the world of fighting. You know, you don’t want to win a random tournament when everything matches…the stars align. I want to show high-quality stable skating, to make it better and better.

The burden that I wasn’t okay fell off my shoulders. He gave me freedom. Now I want to push forward like a steam locomotive,” Aliyev said.

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Exaggerated expectations hurt Kolyada and Voronov

One of the most powerful levers of pressure on an athlete is unreasonable expectations from fans, but he is also influenced by the professional community, which also wants to see consistent high performance. However, no matter how good the skater is, sooner or later he begins to decline: fitness cannot be one hundred percent all the time, so participants in great starts gradually approach them so that, at the moment fit, athlete gives his maximum.

Sometimes this aspect is forgotten, and the athlete finds himself between a rock and a hard place, which negatively affects his psyche. The most striking example of this phenomenon in Russian figure skating was Mikhail Kolyada, who was commonly called “unstable and unreliable.” With great talent, the student of Alexei Mishin could not fully realize himself, although he tried. Kolyada also worked with a psychologist and they helped him.

“I worked for a while with a psychologist. He helped me, he gave me some tools with which I now keep track of my own conditions. I am convinced that everyone comes to this on their own. When mom said to leave, it won’t work. And if a person came and said that he had a problem, that it is such a pain that you need to get rid of it, then you need to solve the problem, “Mikhail said on the Championship podcast” Skating.

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Sergei Voronov found himself in a similar situation, from whom outstanding results were expected at one time. On the advice of his coach Alexei Urmanov, the skater turned to the psychologist Vladimir Safonov. Voronov tried several times to end his sports career due to the discontent that arose in competitions, but in the end he skated until he was 32 years old. Together with Safonov, they were engaged not only in preparing before the starts, but also in working out on physical fitness: the skater’s psychological tension was reflected in his body, and this prevented him from performing multi-turn jumps. In addition, Vladimir helped Sergey build relationships with each of his many coaches, including Eteri Tutberidze, Elena Buyanova and Inna Goncharenko. So, despite the skepticism of some representatives of the FFKKR (Valentin Piseev was sure that “even a psychologist will not help these bums”), the help of a specialist benefited the skater.

Did the black magician help Yagudin win the Olympics?

How exactly is the work with a psychologist built? There is no single set of rules – each specialist has his own methods. For example, Vladimir Safonov said that he had an agreement with Sergei Voronov to maintain eye contact during performances and give each other a certain signal. The same technique was used by Rudolf Zagainov when he prepared Alexei Yagudin for the 2002 Olympic Games.

The well-known story of how the figure skater defeated Evgeni Plushenko with the help of a black magician began with the fact that Tatyana Tarasova’s student needed a moral boost before such a responsible start. The mentor invited Zagainov to restore Yagudin’s self-confidence.

Alexei Yagudin (center) at the 2002 Summer Olympics

Photo: Henri Szwarc/Getty Images

The figure skater and the psychologist exchanged paper letters, the specialist even “confessed his love” to the ward – and it worked. But Zagainov produced the main effect on his opponent Yagudin. Both Plushenko and his coach Mishin were sure the “black magician” had mesmerized Evgeny, who fell out of his favorite quadruple loop in the short program and lost his chances for gold.

“I fell in a quadruple jump, which I know as “Our Father”. Coming out, I saw the silhouette of Zagainov. I caught the hard look from him. Then something inexplicable happened. Someone seemed to order me: “Open! Go to the landing!” And I obeyed, although it was still early,” Plushenko recalled that moment.

According to his confession, he himself later went to psychologists to understand what happened. From them, Eugene learned about different techniques that help athletes win and opponents lose. His competitor experienced the effectiveness of such a technique and finally recognized the expediency of it, simultaneously criticizing the position of skeptics:

“There was some kind of bullying: ‘Oh, you’re a wimp!’ But I don’t care what people think. I’m fine. If a person needs someone’s help, they go to a professional,” Yagudin said.

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Medvedeva allowed herself to live after the sport.

Skaters seek psychological help after the end of their careers. According to Vladimir Safonov, this is a difficult transition period for athletes looking for their place in the world. “They are personal crises and even a personal tragedy for 90% of athletes,” believes the expert. Therefore, it is important to decide on your future and switch to a new mode. The same did Evgenia Medvedeva.

“When I went through the fact that, most likely, I will not go out on the ice, I thought: okay, okay, you need to take at least one small step in real life, without training, schedules, strict diets. Allow yourself to have fun, live, sometimes not sleep at night. This required an escort. I needed a professional person who would say: okay, you can! From that moment on, I began to study with a psychologist,” Medvedeva shared in an interview on Rutube’s Alien Letters channel.

The experience of well-known figure skaters shows that working with a psychologist is extremely useful for an athlete, the main thing is to find your own specialist.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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