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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Calls for a sports psychologist grow louder from India women’s cricket team camp

Indian skipper Mithali Raj spoke to the indianexpress.com and agreed to the fact that such an addition to the backroom staff will definitely help the team since the girls have become celebrities now.

Written by Rahul Sadhu | Updated: July 27, 2017 11:29:11 pm
After India lost the ICC Women’s World Cup final match against England at Lord’s  the atmosphere in the Indian dressing room was palpably low. (Source: Reuters)

After the dramatic loss in the World Cup final at Lords against England, the atmosphere in the Indian dressing room was palpably low. While some shed tears, a few kept quiet and a few others kept awake the entire night thinking about the loss. In an extremely high-pressure game in the finals, the Indian eves lost their way in the final moments as seven wickets went down for just 28 runs, succumbing to the pressure. Now, after their return to India, the indianexpresss.com spoke to a few members of the runners-up squad and all of them had the same viewpoint that a mental conditioning coach or a sports psychologist would be beneficial for the team in future tours and tournaments.

India skipper Mithali Raj spoke to the indianexpress.com and agreed to the fact that such an addition to the backroom staff will definitely help the team especially since they have become celebrities now.  “Well yes, during our camp preparation we had a couple of sessions with a sports psychologist to building the mental strength of the girls. But getting into such a huge tournament in the current situations, yeah why not?  Now that the girls have become celebrities there will be so many expectations from them and a lot of responsibility will be on their shoulder in the coming tournaments. So having a sports psychologists or a mental conditioning coach will not harm the team and will rather play a good role.”

In one of the matches, during the World Cup, Mithali was seen reading a book before coming out to bat. She said that it calms her down and helps fight the jitters before stepping out to bat.

Mithali was seen reading a book before coming out to bat. She said that it calms her down and helps fight the jitters before stepping out to bat.

A strong foundation of mental conditioning skills can often help athletes develop their mental toughness. Not only does it help to improve confidence, focus, composure, intensity but also athletic performance.

Agreeing to this India’s middle order batter Veda Krishnamurthy said that on long tours it helps when you have someone to talk to about things other than cricket. “A sports psychologist or a mental conditioning coach would be a great addition to the staff. This is because we would get to talk to someone and that person can analyse what the mindset is”, Veda said. Recalling the World Cup campaign she said, “We were out for a month, playing a long tour and so if you have someone to talk to about things other than cricket then it will benefit us. We have had sessions but not anyone travelling along with us. If we do have it will be a great thing.”

Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gaekwad also concurred and said,”It will be good if someone of that role stays with us because we play such high-pressure games and sometimes we succumb to pressure. During those moments we are sometimes clueless as to how to get out of it so someone in the role of a sports psychologist or a mental conditioning coach will be good for the side.”

It may be recalled here that the 2011 World Cup winning team (men’s) had Paddy Upton as the mental conditioning coach. Not only did the side win the World Cup they also went on to become the number one side in Tests. Hence, in future, if the BCCI does add one member to the support staff of the Indian women’s team, it will definitely be a valuable addition.

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