Focus is the key for local Olympic hopefuls

HOUSTON To perform at the highest level, it's more than just physical. Athletes, especially gymnastics, need focus. When the pressure mounts, they can't let anything mentally or emotionally get in their way.

"We work with techniques to help them overcome fear," said Robert Andrews from the Institute of Sports Pshchology. "As an pathlete, fear is the biggest enemy because it creates tension and constriction in the body."

Andrews is working with the Olympic hopefuls at the Houston Gymnastic Academy. It's all about controlling what they can control. At this stage, its more mental than physical.

"Finding that little bitty edge, tuning a car, that last little thing you need." said Olympic hopeful Sean Townsend. "A big part of that is your head, your mental edge."

"They'll be sitting between rotations, working on visualization techniques or breathing techniques or things that relax their bodies and calm themselves," said Andrews.

"Giving ourselves any edge possible in terms of working with people like Robert is key in competing at the highest level," said Olympic hopeful Raj Bhavsar.

Andrews is a former Friendswood football player. He played for the 1973 state champs. Injuries though cut his sports career short. He now works with injured athletes to help them bounce back.

"It's good for them to come in and talk to somebody and work through the emotional and mental aspects of an injury and once they do that, their performance gets better," said Andrews.

Strong body, strong mind equals Olympic gold

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