Smith determined to beat nerves

29 March 2012 / 17:07

British weightlifting star Zoe Smith hopes sports psychology will help her avoid a repeat of the crisis of confidence that struck in the build up to the Commonwealth Games.

Smith will offer her sport's greatest hope of winning an Olympic medal of any colour for the first time since 1984 when she competes at London 2012.

Almost certain to qualify at next month's European Championships, she fears a return of the mental anguish that appeared before Delhi two years ago.

Only 16 at the time, she was overwhelmed by nerves to the extent she was unable to pick up any weights, yet still finished with a bronze medal in the women's 58kg division.

"I haven't started waking up in the middle of the night yet - there's still a couple of months left," she said. "Before the Commonwealths I started having a bit of a mental breakdown about a week before I was due to fly out

"I forgot how to lift in the gym. I was picking things up and putting them back down thinking, 'oh my God what am I doing?'.

"Lifting heavy weights above your head can be scary and I was over-thinking it a bit because there was so much on my mind. My brain just melted on me. I had time to recover and think things over and eventually realised I was just being silly.

"Generally I'm not nervous before competitions, but when it's before something life-changing I suppose that subconsciously I am a bit nervous.

"I've still got the mental breakdown to come before the Olympics I think! I'll have to find a better way of managing rather than just falling apart this time.

"I managed to pull it out on the day, but this time I don't want anything to go wrong beforehand. This is why we have sports psychologists, to help us dal with the pressure and expectation."