Sports psychologist joins Indian men’s football team national camp

Bhubaneswar, 22 May (PTI): Asports psychologist has joined the Indian men’s football team for the first time as part of ”a renewed focus on the mental health” of the players, the national federation said on Monday.
Shayamal Vallabhjee, who has previously worked on the ATP Tour, with IPL franchises and professional golfers across the world, joined the national camp of the players who are preparing for the Intercontinental Cup here next month.
After that, the Indian team will play in the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru, followed by other international commitments lined up till the Asian Cup in Doha in January 2024.
”A renewed focus on mental health is among the federation’s driving objectives to not just maximise potential and performances, but also create an environment of trust and togetherness among players,” the All India Football Federation said in a release. ”The addition of a sports psychologist will also address situations of burnout among players and ensure that they have recovery mechanisms available to them to work through it.” Head coach Igor Stimac is hopeful that Vallabhjee’s addition to the staff will help the team in the longer run by creating a stronger team culture and a sense of belonging within the locker room, in addition to helping them develop strategies to deal with self-confidence, concentration and nerves under pressure, as individuals and a team.
“We will start with understanding how each player’s personality type responds to pressure and then go on to create a coaching mechanism that helps them become emotionally resilient to external pressure,” said Stimac.
“Conversations with a psychologist will provide the coaching staff a window into how every player absorbs information, which will then enable us to create communication strategies that optimise their learning.
”Mr Vallabhjee has experience in sports psychology and is here to help us improve in many points we haven’t had time to work on before. Making player profiles will help the coach staff communicate better within themselves and with the team.” Expressing excitement at his appointment with the national team, Vallabhjee said that initial conversations with the players and the coaching staff had yielded positive results. ”Players are physiologically monitored on a regular basis, with every aspect of their physical wellbeing scrutinised and worked on. It is important to do the same for them psychologically. I am proud to be part of a new Indian Football project and hope to help them achieve success here,” he said.