Yulo to sharpen mental toughness

Carlos Yulo competes during the Men’s Floor Exercise final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, northern England on 5 November. Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP

Carlos Yulo knows that he has to be mentally tough if he wants to come up with a strong performance in future major international tournaments, including the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Shortly after winning two medals in the 51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship over the weekend, Yulo declared that he is still far from perfect and he has to develop his mental strength if he wants to go far.

The 22-year-old gymnast from the area of Leveriza in Manila fizzled out in his pet events – floor exercise and all-around – but still went on to win the silver medal in vault and bronze medal in parallel bars to salvage his campaign in the prestigious event at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

Still, things could have been different had he displayed mental toughness.

 “It’s a test of mental strength since the finals of the apparatuses were non-stop,” Yulo said during a virtual press conference last Monday.

“I’m still insecure about the things I can’t control but I’m slowly accepting that.”

Unlike in the Tokyo Olympics where he crumbled to pressure, the shy, soft-spoken gymnast is slowly making progress in his mental health, thanks to Dr. Marissa Guinto, a sports psychologist and association professor at the University of the Philippines.

Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion said she is happy with the mental fortitude that her prized ward had shown.

“They talked to each other online. Her reports are good and built a lot of confidence in Caloy,” Carrion, who was at the sidelines when Yulo competed in the world event, said.

With a slew of competitions coming up next year, including the 2023 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Series in February and the Asian Games in September as well as the Paris Olympics in 2024, Yulo knows he has to train as if his life depended on it.

“For training, I have to train thinking of the competition and not do it half-heartedly. That’s what I realized,” Yulo said.

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