Psychological aspects that influence soccer players’ performance in Costa Rica
José Pichel Andrés/DICYT Millions of eyes are set on the soccer players who are participating in Brazil World Cup. They are very talented players with great physical qualities; however, their success depends very much on their capacity of obtaining the best performance. Definitely, Costa Rica is one of the teams which has accomplished it, because according to FIFA rank, it occupies a modest 34 position; nevertheless, it is the greatest revelation of the Cup because it occupies the first position in a group in which it had to confront Uruguay, Italy and England, three World Cup champions. Before the World Cup started, ten Costa Rican soccer players participated, with many other elite athletes, in a research about the aspects related to performance and recovery, a research which showed that not only physical questions are important but also the psychological ones.
Braulio Sánchez Ureña is the person in charge of this study. He is a researcher of Human Movement and Life Quality Science School of Costa Rica National University, which analyses the psychophysiological processes associated with athletes’ recovery. The scientific magazine Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte has published an article that explains this work, in which Costa Rican elite athletes participated, among them 10 soccer players who have been defending, with great success, Costa Rica in Brazil. This work’s conclusions may affect training planning, which should take into consideration not only biological factors.
239 men with many years of high experience in sports have taken part in the research, most of them soccer players (189), but also basketball and beach soccer players, to whom a famous stress-recovery questionnaire for athletes (RESTQ-SPORT) has been applied. The idea was “evaluate a subjective state which is related to personal perception of stimuli, in training as well as in daily life, which benefit recovery or accelerate stress”, the expert explains to DiCYT.
The research shows that the preparation should take into consideration not only the training load, because in addition to physical shape, other factors that stay on the sidelines affect sports practice like sleep quality and strictly psychological factors like pressure, which people naturally suffer.
Costa Rican athletes in good state
In general, the study has shown that Costa Rican athletes present a favorable stress-recovery state without many differences related to age, years dedicated to the activity or specific position in the field, in the case of soccer players. That is, “even though there is a high demand for them as athletes, the spaces intended for recovery and stress confrontation strategies are sufficiently effective to keep them with a positive profile”, the researcher comments. At the end of this work, the recovery punctuations have exceeded the stress levels not only in terms of sports activity, but also in everyday life. Without a doubt, the results of the World Cup seem to corroborate these conclusions.
Braulio Sánchez emphasizes that “the athlete is also a person” and, consequently, he has a personal dimension, with social or economic events which are relevant to sports performance. “The athlete is a global being and will always be evaluated under this perspective”, he assures.
The athlete’s opinion
This line of research helps to understand that the individual’s opinion is acceptable and should be taken into consideration. “For several times the biochemical or physiological signals show that everything is all right; however, perhaps there is another situation which is affecting sports performance”, the expert points out. In conclusion, it suggests “in very practical terms, not only keeping control and use of training load through biology methods”.
The Spanish researcher Julio Calleja González of the University of País Vasco has also participated in the publication. He is an expert in the area of exercise physiology and, more specifically, in recovery, which is strictly related to Costa Rican scientists. In fact, this is not the only study that they have carried out together.
Next objective: Central American and Caribbean Games
This line of research does not stop at this point. The next objective of the scientists is focused in Costa Rican teams that are going to participate in the Central American and Caribbean Games, which are going to happen in Veracruz (Mexico) from November 14 to 30, 2014. “These results may help manage the training process; and, if necessary, establish interdisciplinary mechanisms which favor recovery processes”, Braulio Sánchez states.
Sánchez Ureña, Braulio; Ureña Bonilla, Pedro; Calleja González, Julio. Subjective levels of stress-recovery in athletes Costarican high performance. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, vol. 14, 1, 103-108.