World Mental Health Day – Mental Fitness in Elite Sport – Jos Buttler Q&A
Ahead of World Mental Health Day, we caught up with Castore brand ambassador Jos Buttler to discuss the importance of mental fitness in elite sport and to gain insight into his thought processes and coping mechanisms.
How do you prepare your mind for competition?
I like to prepare my mind for competition by knowing I have put the work in. If I know I have ticked off my cricket skills in practice, my physical work in the gym and my homework on the opposition it allows me to feel more relaxed in my mind knowing I am fully prepared. Then I like to do some visualisation and meditation.
How do you keep focus under pressure?
Under pressure I try to remind myself to take an extra second. I like to slow down, focus on my breathing, and only face up to the ball again when I am clear and committed to facing the next ball.
How do you take care of your mental fitness?
I like to do a mixture of meditation and visualisation. I find it relaxes me and gives me a lot of clarity. It is also important to get enough rest/sleep to allow your mind to refresh.
When travelling how do you cope from being away from family and friends?
I like to try and stay in touch as much as I can and try and fill dead time with reading a book or playing golf. Occupying the mind with something else is a good way to energise when I’m missing home but also allowing myself time to say its ok that I’m missing home, pick up the phone and talk to the people I’m missing.
How do you stay grounded after a match? Does this process differ after a win or a loss?
I try to review the game without emotion and be logical. Whether I have done well or not I review my preparation for the game i.e., did I give myself the best chance to perform. If the answer to that is yes if we win or lose it doesn’t matter. If I need to prepare better, I must address that before the next match.
How does routine affect your mental health?
Having a routine allows me to keep my mental health in check. It is a nice way of staying in a good headspace by having a routine to your day. In that routine every day I will try and include physical exercise and reading.
How important do you think keeping active in terms of taking care of your mental health?
I think keeping active is key to your mental health. Exercising release endorphins triggering a positive feeling in the body. It is also a great way to relive stress and re centre yourself.
How important do you think the open and honest discussion of mental health in sports is?
I think it is vital. We cannot move past how we are feeling or get the help we need unless we are honest with ourselves about our feelings and are willing to share that with someone who can help.
With the massively important focus on mental health and mental fitness, what is one piece of advice you’d give to any athlete trying to achieve their best?
Be clear on what you want to achieve and if you want to get there enough make sure you give yourself the best possible chance by looking after your mental and physical fitness.