Pirates star opens up on mental help


Orlando Pirates have been assisted greatly by a sports psychologist during the current pandemic and one star has opened up on the experience.

Pirates striker Zakhele Lepasa has discussed what the team is currently going through with PSL football having been suspended for almost three months.

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With plenty of uncertainty around when the 2019/20 season will resume, this is understandably beginning to have a greater effect on the players’ psychological state.

However, The Buccaneers have a listed mental coach on hand, and Lepasa says these sessions have helped them a lot in coping with the situation.

"We sometimes have psychological sessions with Mr Jannie [Putter]. He’s always been with us in our journey, so he tries his best to help us stay mentally fit,” explained Lepasa during an interview on the club’s Youtube channel.

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In a recent interview with TimesLive, Putter, who previously also worked with rugby sides Blue Bulls and Lions, gave some insight into how players can overcome the current situation of being in lockdown.

"Lockdown in your mind is a negative word. You think you’re confined‚ restricted and a victim of the situation," he explained.

"The moment you do that you start thinking like a victim because now you can start sleeping in because you can’t do anything and no-one is checking.

"I have stressed that this is not a lockdown but a time-out. In sport, the term ‘time-out’ is used as an opportunity to regroup‚ refocus‚ reset and recover."

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The North West University masters graduate has also stressed that players shouldn’t get caught up in their state of physical restriction and allow it to take control of their mental freedom.

"Often players' families suffer because of the amount of time the player is on tour. They are also public property. This is the ideal time to reset and get into agreement about where we are heading in our lives," he added.

"We are restricted in physical movement by government but no one is taking personal choices away from you in terms of how you should think."

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