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Racing

'We have to set different times so jockeys don't run into each other'

On this week's Friday Night Racing, Dr Ciara Losty discussed the reluctance within certain quarte...



Racing

'We have to set different times so jockeys don't run into each other'

On this week's Friday Night Racing, Dr Ciara Losty discussed the reluctance within certain quarters of the horse racing industry to embrace sports psychology. 

A lecturer in Applied Sports & Exercise Psychology at WIT, it is Dr Ciara Losty's role as a sports psychology service provider with The Jockey Pathway that led to a discussion concerning the willingness of jockeys to embrace this service.

"We're a little bit behind the curve in the racing community," explained Losty of the current situation. "It is changing, but there is definitely a little stigma attached to it still. It is seen as a weakness to see a psychologist."

"It a lot to do with how masculine some of these environments are. Racing is an incredibly masculine type of environment and even though these guys in the weigh-in room are your friends, they're your competitors too.

"So showing any 'weakness' is problematic."

In her work with a jockey, Dr Ciara Losty can focus on any range of aspects impacting their performance.

"It is about redefining what we understand as success in what they do," she explained of a sport that has far more losers than winners in any given race. "Winning and losing is a poor evaluation of performance, and you can apply that to any sport.

"A jockey could go in and perform mediocre enough but a decent horse gets you through first. But getting a tune out of a mediocre horse and maybe getting them placed could be a great performance.

"Evaluating performances and the process is more important than if you've just won or lost."

Ciara Losty Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Despite the suggested benefits, however, Losty has experienced plenty of reluctance among a group of sportspeople that remain vividly aware of external opinion.

"It is an issue getting them in the door," she admitted, "but if I get that vibe off a jockey, I'll just tell them to sit in their car and when the person before you has left I'll come out and get you.

"We have to make time slots different so they don't run into each other coming in and out."

Unlike other sportspeople she will work with, it is not lost on Dr Ciara Losty that jockeys inhabit a somewhat fundamental relationship with their sport.

"The development of dual identities or dual career development is really non-existent in racing," she noted of the all-encompassing importance of racing in a jockey's life. "If you're doing anything else other than racing, other jockeys will perceive it as a weakness or that you're not focused on your career.

"We just try to make it as flexible and easy for the jockey to engage with me in a comfortable and open manner."

You can listen back to Dr Ciara Losty on Friday Night Racing in full here

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Ciara Losty Friday Night Racing Horse Racing Jockey Sports Psychology