SportsCosta Rica, the selection that meditates and reads neuroscience books

    Costa Rica, the selection that meditates and reads neuroscience books

    Costa Rican players meditating in a hotel.
    Costa Rican players meditating in a hotel.Photo provided by Felipe Camacho

    Costa Rica has greased before the debut against Spain (5:00 p.m., Movistar and La 1) in the modest Al-Ahli stadium, a half-hour walk from the old Doha airport. There the Ticos have warmed up their muscles, and also their brains with the help of a psychologist who talks to them about neuroscience (study of the nervous system), recommends books on this discipline and teaches them to meditate. “I am not a coach I don’t give them motivational talks. That is of very little use”, clarifies Felipe Camacho, a Colombian with easy verbs who has been accompanying his compatriot Luis Fernando Suarez, the Costa Rica coach since June 2021, since June 2021, as soon as he begins to speak. “We teach them how the brain works . And that requires repetition, time and patience. Create habits. This is not magic, but trial and error, ”he points out.

    In each session, he goes out along the athletics track that surrounds the pitch together with the coaching staff and the physios. It is not usual in football for a psychologist to go down to the pitch every day, and share space and tasks on site with the rest of the team. “At the beginning, I spend 15 or 20 minutes fixed and I mix my work with that of the physios. That moment of warming up incorporates a cognitive part: reaction speed, decision-making, concentration, memory, anxiety management… And always with the ball”, explains Felipe Camacho.

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    Later, in the afternoons, at the DusitD2 Salwa hotel, four kilometers north of the city, they often play what the psychologist of the Costa Rican team calls “educational talks”, half an hour or 45 minutes divided into three parts. “First I develop a theme; for example, sleep and sports performance. Then comes the scientific evidence and I show you the studies on that matter. And finally, the anecdotal evidence, the elite athletes who do all of this. That helps me win them over, ”he explains, convinced of his method. A speech before the staff that always ends with “recommended bibliography” on each issue; Nothing mandatory, Camacho warns that, in addition to these group sessions, he attends to the most personal issues that each one may have.

    Three players from Costa Rica, during an exercise to exercise the brain.
    Three players from Costa Rica, during an exercise to exercise the brain.Photo courtesy of Fel

    “It turns out that every week they send me a photo via WhatsApp of a neuroscience book that they have bought. We have been in many teams and we are impressed because it is the first time that so many players have asked us for books. It is not common for a footballer to read, and here 10 or 12 do. At each concentration I have to bring them several copies and they pay me for them. And I also entrust them to those who live abroad”, points out the Costa Rican psychologist. An assessment shared by those responsible for the coaching staff. “Camacho has a mania for books, which he wants everyone to read. In all the clubs he has tried to implement that, but they have never asked him for as many as here, ”says Luis Fernando Suarez. “They are very educated, they like to study,” concludes his second, John Jairo Bodmar.

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    ‘Software’ under mattresses

    Another of his objectives since he joined the team a year and a half ago was to persuade them of the benefits of meditation before going to sleep. On the way to the World Cup, he has gathered them in the hotel rooms, he has laid them on the floor and he has taught them how to do it. “You have to educate them,” she warns. “I showed them the latest scientific findings on meditation, how it changes the brain, lowers stress, and improves sleep,” she says. In his search for quality rest, the Costa Rican psychologist has also installed a software under the mattresses to measure the hours of sleep, how many times they move or get up.

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    Technological devices are common in neuroscience. If he uses the ball in the morning on the field, in the afternoon at the hotel he uses devices to do sensory training. “Now the sight works a lot because it is the sense that the brain pays the most attention to. We, among others, have an instrument with lights to measure reaction speed and decision-making”, Felipe Camacho develops, pointing to Keylor Navas as one of the most dedicated players in this current. “Even before important games with his team, he writes to me and asks me to do a little meditation or asks me how he can visualize some situations,” reveals the psychologist, who follows the games from the box.

    The arrival of neuroscience in football was already known. A few months ago, after the agonizing penalty shootout (11-10) that gave Liverpool the Carabao Cup title against Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp helped publicize it by confessing that they had relied on a company of this discipline to choose the pitchers. Costa Rica, however, goes a step further: the players also read neuroscience books. “But hey, we already know how the issue works: if you lose, nobody talks about it,” Camacho settles.

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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