Local expertise called up at national level

Johan Van Zyl -- Tue, 01/24/2017 - 09:45

NWU expertise called up at national level

Another one of the experts at the North-West University (NWU) has been called up at national sports level to assist with a national sports team.

Prof Ankebe Kruger, a sports scientist and psychologist at the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus, has just been contracted on a consultation basis by the South African Hockey Association to provide assistance and expertise to the national women’s hockey team in preparation for the World Cup Tournament in 2018.

Ankebe says that at elite level there is a very fine line between winning and losing, and in order to perform optimally, it is vital for players or athletes to perform at their best at all times – in sport as well as at personal level. “I believe that I can offer the team a comprehensive service that focuses on team performance as well as the welfare of individual players.”

In 2016 she was involved in NWU Hockey’s first women’s and men’s teams, and feels she was lucky to work with coaches who realise the importance of psychology in sport.  That was where she drew attention. Sheldon Rostron is not only the coach for the NWU’s women’s team, but also coaches the national women’s hockey team, and approached Ankebe to become involved in the national team.

Ankebe’s role involves spending time with the players to get a thorough understanding of the individual and team dynamics, and also to give the players time to become used to working with a psychologist on board and to build a relationship with her. “Observation during practice and matches is an important aspect of my job, because I can then see how individual players react in high-pressure situations and also how they deal with adversity. I offer sessions to the team on psychological aspects that play an important role in performance in sport, and at individual level I offer support to individual players who experience problems that do not necessarily relate to sport, but that can affect their performance on the field.”

She says that the biggest challenge will probably be to balance her work as psychologist to the SA hockey team with her other duties as lecturer at the NWU. “I am geared for this and look forward to this wonderful opportunity that has crossed my path.”

Prof Ankebe Kruger, a sports scientist and psychologist at the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus, was recently contracted by the South African Hockey Association.