Top Australian athletes target a new edge

13 Sep 2017

ATHLETES based at the national centre of excellence at SASI now will have both their physical and mental preparations boosted with the help of a highly rated sports psychologist from Greece.

Dr Nektarios Stavrou recently vistited shooting athletes for a month to work with them and provide feedback and tips on preparing for key competitions from the mental perspective.

With a strong background working with elite athletes, especially with target sports including the Greece National Shooting team, it is expected Dr Stavrou will continue to work with the Aussies in the lead up to Tokyo 2020.

That includes, consulting with him remotely via video link-up and catching up when in Europe and possibly returning to Australia another time.

Dual Olympian Dane Sampson, 31, based at SASI, said Dr Stavrou had been an excellent addition to the program.

''When we started with SASI we were asked one of the things we needed,'' he said. ''At the time SASI did not have a sport psychologist in our program so we suggested that would be good for the program.

''We heard that Dr Stavrou was quite good and he has been. I really like him, he's the perfect choice and I like the way he goes about things. His experience with other shooters was a plus.

''He teaches you how to learn to use your skills. I knew my skills could be at a higher level but mentally I needed more.

''When he came to Adelaide for a month we felt he was part of the team.

''I am in Europe a couple of times a year so I will aim to catch him when I am over there.

''His strengths are that he focuses on the individual athlete because everyone has different needs. His greatest skill is getting the approach right, teaching us how to focus and saving energy during competitions.

Sampson, already well on the way to representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games, has a busy schedule ahead.

The rest of the year is a domestic focus with two more qualifying competitions in mid October in Sydney and the first weekend in Brisbane in December.

In January Sampson hopes to go to Europe for an air rifle tour, a world cup in Mexico in March and the Commonwealth Games shortly after that.