“Accept and adapt”
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the world, India’s Olympic shooting gold medallist and IOC Athletes’ Commission member Abhinav Bindra offers his advice to athletes as you come to terms with how the pandemic is affecting you…
- Abhinav won gold in the 10m air rifle at Beijing 2008 and is now an IOC AC member.
- He believes athletes have the power to adapt to the tough situation they currently face.
- He also suggests you can use the pandemic as an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones.
Obviously, there is no question that this is an extremely tough scenario for you. It is not an ideal situation; there is absolutely no denying that fact. This is the period where you would normally be in intense training. But obviously all of that has gone out of the equation at the moment.
Accept the situation
I think the most important thing is to accept the situation. This is not a situation which is ideal, but I think acceptance of the situation is critical. I think it is very, very important not to resist the situation, because when such a situation happens, I think you can create a lot of self-resistance. That will only make things tougher. Mentally, it will only make you also fall out in other ways. So, I think it is about accepting the situation, adapting to the situation, and trying to do the best in the given circumstances. That is all that you can do.
This transcends sport
I think it’s very important to follow whatever the guidelines are that are given by each government. They have to be keenly followed; I think that is critical. If that means you have to miss a little bit of training, you have to do it, you have to make those sacrifices, because the scenario that we are facing right now transcends sport. It is about humanity, it is about life, it is about being responsible.
As an athlete, you can adapt
As athletes, to perform at the highest level, you always need to adapt. You need to adapt to variables that often you have never taken into consideration. You have to adapt to changing environments. You have to adapt to changing situations. That is a skill that elite athletes possess. I think this is probably the time for all athletes to bring those skills out. I think it is also a situation where you have to be patient and, again, that is something that you have from performing at the highest level.
You have to adapt to changing situations. That is a skill that elite athletes possess. I think this is probably the time for all athletes to bring those skills out.
Take joy in small things you might usually miss
In this situation, I think it is an opportunity for you to try and find the joy in the little things in life. You can spend time with loved ones and bond with them or reconnect with them. For athletes, we sometimes tend to ignore daily life or normal life, but this gives you the chance to enjoy the little things. It is a very difficult situation, no question about that, but to get through this you have to look at those little joys, and you have to try to find happiness from them.
In moments like this, you have to keep a good, safe mind, and remain positive. You can only achieve that, I think, by finding that joy in small things. Maybe it is something that you’ve not had the time to do over the years; you can devote some of this time to that.
Be socially responsible
This is also a chance for the athlete community to stand up and act responsibly. I think athletes are normally that way, and in this situation will do whatever it takes to help get life back to normal.
With social media and the internet, there is a lot of access to information, but we also have a lot of access to misinformation. I think it is very, very important for you to get all your information from credible, reliable sources, which you can then share with your fans or social audiences. That’s why I think the Athlete365 platform is so important at this moment, because it can give you credible information, it can give you up-to-speed information, void of any sort of speculation. I think it is very important to follow that.
You should also follow WHO and your own national guidelines. I think it is important to be aware of everything that’s going on. But I think it is also important to find that right balance, because there is also a lot of misinformation just floating around.
For more expert advice on how to manage the psychological impact of COVID-19 on your life and the impact on your training schedule, click here.