Times of Oman
On the ball: Young athletes need focus and determination
November 14, 2017 | 7:07 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan
Training is very important to succeed, because if you don’t practice then you will never be able to do it on the pitch.
 
Sharelines

If your mum, dad, or any other well-wisher has bemoaned your compulsive use of social media, save your groans: they’re not the only people who think that way, and those who do are speaking out of experience, not borne from the consequences of using it, but from the benefits of not having it around has brought them.

Shahbaz Ahmed is General Secretary of Pakistan’s hockey association. Considered to be one of the best forwards in the history of the sport, Ahmed was recently in Oman to promote bilateral relations between the two nations, based on a foundation of strengthening unity through sport.

Having captained the team at both the 1990 World Cup, where Pakistan finished runners-up, and the 1994 World Cup, which they won, he knows a thing or two about the importance of focus and determination. One of the first things he was quick to decry was the almost addictive fondness today’s youngsters had for social media.


Considered to be one of the best forwards in the history of the sport, Ahmed was recently in Oman to promote bilateral relations between the two nations.



“When you watch the young athletes perform today, you see that they are not focused on the game at all times,” revealed Shahbaz Ahmed, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman. “When they are practising the game or playing it, they should not just give 100 per cent concentration, but 110 per cent, because that is what is required to succeed.

I see that they are often distracted, because they’re thinking to themselves about what they will do on social media after they finish their training.

“They’re thinking about what they will do on Facebook, or who they will be chatting with on Whatsapp, but this is a very harmful distraction, because you will always be giving some portion of your thoughts to that, and that will take away your concentration from the game, where you should be giving all your efforts,” he added. “Practising any sport, if you want to become a world-class athlete, is not just about the hours you spend training. You should have dedication to your sport 24x7.”

While his method might seem a bit extreme for some, it is one that will definitely help in the long-run, as athletes realise the rewards of success.

“If you want to become a good athlete, you must stop all distractions, and that includes social media,” he said. “Having it on for one or two hours a day is fine, but you cannot keep checking it every five or 10 minutes, because then your mind will keep coming back to that and you will be unable to focus on what you are doing. If that is the case, some other athlete who is more disciplined will overtake you, and you will be left behind.”

Discipline seemed to be the cornerstone of Ahmed, who is often hailed as the ‘Maradona of hockey’. Ahmed’s grimaces when it came to the vast amounts of junk food recklessly consumed by today’s youth said it all.

“These days, people are more concerned about immediate gratification,” he admitted. “They eat all the unhealthy items such as pizzas and burgers, sometimes even as late as two or three in the morning. When an athlete eats food, it should help towards his conditioning, because the food that you eat is what acts as the building block of your body.

“Athletes should eat healthy food that suits them best, because they need that to train hard and perform their best on the field,” added Ahmed. “Only if you eat properly, at regular hours, and in required amounts, can you train well. Training is very important to succeed, because if you don’t practice something in training, then you will never be able to do it on the pitch.”

[email protected]



STAY UPDATED
Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news