Table Talk: Mental Health in Sports

Apr 09, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print

The emotional well-being of athletes is topic of latest Table Talk presented by Siesta documentary.

Euroleague Basketball's latest documentary film brings together players, a coach and an executive to look at the importance of emotional well-being in Table Talk presented by Siesta: Mental Health in Sports. Jayson Granger of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, former EuroLeague champion Sofoklis Schortsanitis, coach Aleksandar Dzikic, and general manager Maurizio Gherardini of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul sit down with Radha Balani, the Director of Design and Facilitation at thinkBeyond, to discuss how important our mental health is in all aspects of daily life, and specifically in professional sports. Alex Abrines of FC Barcelona and Josh Huestis, formerly of FC Bayern Munich, also share their experience on the topic.

During the 30-minute program, the protagonists share their own experiences and those of others around them concerning how to cope with difficulties, to counter the stigma of depression, to handle change and injury, and to achieve mental balance.

"I believe that you cannot separate your physical call it 'condition' and your mental call it 'condition'," said Dzikic, who has coached three different clubs in the EuroLeague. "I saw players being physically on their peaks and mentally not on their peaks, not performing well, but I saw the opposite also."

Schortsanitis, who won the EuroLeague with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2014, while he was dealing with difficulties in his personal life, summed up: "Basketball spills over to your private life or your private life spills over on the court."

The Fenerbahce general manager, Gherardini, offers part of a solution. "We cannot look at it as a weakness," he said of depression. "We need to look at it as an illness, like any other illness, any other injury."

"Mental health and physicality should be on the same page," Granger, who has dealt with a series of difficult injuries in recent seasons, shared during the discussion. "I think working with professionals before that serious injury happened to me helped me a lot and I'm right now in a situation that I'm trying to recover as fast as possible, working hard every single day and keep working also with a therapist and with the trainers."

The film is the third in the Table Talk documentary series produced by Euroleague Basketball. The original feature, Table Talk: Women in Sports, was released to commemorate International Women's Day on March 8, 2019. Earlier this year Table Talk: Athletes' Retirement examined what happens in the lives of Europe's best basketball players when their playing days come to an end. These films add to Euroleague Basketball's commitment to premium, long-form content by taking the discussion beyond the court to encompass all aspects of the sport and its protagonists.