Hans-Dieter Hermann: “It’ll be sad for us to start World Championship after losing to Armenia”

Hans-Dieter Hermann
Hans-Dieter Hermann

Photo: European Newspaper Congress

Mediamax’s correspondent Mariam Manoyan met with sports psychologist of German national football team, professor Hans-Dieter Herman in Vienna. He was taking part in “Europe Press Conference 2014” with his “Journalists are like footballers, but will they be able to build their own team?” presentation.

After the presentation, Hans-Dieter Hermann agreed to answer Mediamax’s questions ahead of Armenia-Germany friendly match due on June 6.

- German national football team will be playing with Armenian team soon which has been playing quite well especially with strong teams. Are you preparing for the match?

- We know that Armenia has a very good team and we’re training very well. It’s a special match for us as it will be German team’s last game ahead of World Cup. It’ll be a kind of a trial match before the World Championship. It’s going to be an interesting match and it’ll be sad for us if we start World Cup after losing to Armenia.

-Footballer of Armenian national football team Henrikh Mkhitaryan plays in one of the leaders of Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund. Do you watch his matches?

- Yes, I have seen several matches where he played. He is a very good footballer but I think he needs some time to fully adjust to the team. One always needs some time to adapt to the new lifestyle and playing style of a new team while moving to another league. Overall, he’s an excellent footballer.

- Some people think that a football team doesn’t need a sports psychologist as the coach is the best psychologist for the players. What do you think about it?

- Trainings are getting more and more difficult in modern football. A coach has many assistants - technical assistant, physical trainings assistants, physiotherapist etc. So, having a psychologist is quite normal as well. Naturally, new specialists who pay attention to individual players are needed to build a team which is a very responsible thing to do. Other assistants of the coach are responsible for the team’s physical training while psychologist is the one who bears responsibility for their mental training.

- Are you working with the coach as well?

- Yes, I do, if he needs my help. We talk to the coach of German national team from time to time and shape our further plans.

- What do you do when a sportsman has some issues but refuses your help?

- If a player thinks he doesn’t need psychological help we can’t do anything about it. We don’t have the right to start anything. But as a rule, they are very well aware of the need to do so.

- And how do you help a sportsman who for instance has lost his hope and feels guilty for the team’s failure?

- Of course, it’s a very wrong way of thinking. We ask the player to speak out and share with us with his worries and on how he can correct his mistake. He can think over his mistake for 2-3 days and then we ask him not to focus on the thought any more. And he won’t make the same error next time.

There are various mental strategies and mechanisms of shaking away the stress which help sportsmen overcome the obstacles and use their potential to the fullest.

- Does a psychologist also encourage and motivate players?

- All the players of German national football team are professionals and they don’t need individual motivation. But before important matches we do work with a team to prepare them mentally.

Mariam Manoyan talked to Hans-Dieter Hermann


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