The game of rugby league is physically demanding.
It requires grit, hard work and determination. All of those.
It also requires mental strength.
When Hymel Hunt played for the Melbourne Storm in 2015, he learnt that valuable lesson from coach Craig Bellamy.
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His words of wisdom had an impact on the then young Hunt.
“I remember having that conversation with Bellyache,” explained Hunt.
“He said ‘you have all the right skill sets for an NRL, or even more a test player, but it’s in-between your ears that you need to fix.
“It stuck with me forever.”
And getting through, that nothing could rival a player who put in the hard yards.
“I remember him saying, ‘hard work always pays off’,” Hunt added.
“’Even if you do all these little things right, I guarantee it will fall in your favour’.
“Ever since then I changed my mindset into implementing little things in my life.”
It led him on the path to help better his game off the field.
Not just Bellamy, but his next coach, Michael Maguire, was also a big part of that process.
He introduced Hunt to meditation. To relax his mind and focus his energy.
“When I went to Souths, Michael Mcguire taught me heaps about meditation,” he said.
“Clearing the mind and relaxing because he could tell, when I saw red, I saw red.
“I got very angry and he could tell that.
“That’s why I wasn’t playing very well, I wasn’t focusing properly.”
Hunt worked on his concentration with the help of mental health trainers employed by the club.
“They came in at pre-season, sometimes twice a week, even more,” Hunt maintained.
“Every individual they asked if you wanted to have extra training.
“Every time we had a team camp, he (Maguire) was huge on that.
“I remember him saying that mental health was such a big thing.
“He spoke about the Chicago Bulls and apparently they were massive on mental training.
“That’s where he got it from and that’s when it stuck with me even more.”
Their efforts off the field showed; the bunnies started their 2016 season well.
Now, Hunt is a massive advocate for meditation and its benefits.
He starts most days with at least five minutes of meditation.
“Obviously not everyone likes it, some footy players I know just laugh, they’re just trying to fart or do something silly,” Hunt added.
“If some footy players can tap into that, it’s a huge success and it has been used in all facets of sport, all major sports around the world.
“If it wasn’t for him opening my eyes through meditation and relaxing the mind, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now, I guarantee that.”