RCB needs Psychological Reconditioning

RCB Disappointment in IPLGame after game I watch with disbelief, RCB lose its matches in the present edition of the IPL – that has pushed the side to the last spot. I wonder – ` Is there an end to this royal team’ misery?  

RCB on paper always looked like winning the IPL title hands down- but that was not to be- it has never won the cup. The closest they have come was the 3 finals they made in 2009, 2011, & 2016.

Why have the RCB not able to live up to their reputation? Let’s analyse:

  • Batting has always been RCB’s strength with stalwarts like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle & AB De Villiers in its wings. The latest addition being Shane Watson. RCB’s fortunes have always been dependant on the success of this quartet and whenever one or two of them clicked RCB has done well. This makes the team top heavy without the wanted balance in its batting composition.

 

  • The RCB selection committee has invested a large chunk of their budget on the likes of Gayle, Kohli et al and with the remaining meagre budget available they compromise and end up buying mediocre players [especially bowlers]. So the fine balance is lost.RCB Images 2
  • Bowling has never been RCB’s forte – time and again they have failed to restrict the onslaught of the opposition batsman and at times when they were given respectable totals they have not been able to defend it.

 

  • Players have been known to perform well after they were bought from RCB – and why they didn’t perform well with their earlier franchisee [especially the bowlers] is one question that the chief mentor and the bowling coach should answer.

 

  • The aura of some of the players in the RCB ranks is so great that it over shadow’s the performances of other players making it difficult to bask in their own glory. It is the duty of the support staff to make them more comfortable.

There is a dire need for a sports psychologist in the RCB team for these simple reasons:

1.This IPL X season the famous quartet of Kohli, Gayle, AB De and Shane Watson has not delivered. Injuries or otherwise they have been dubbed to be out of form. Remember it can happen to the best in this world and they are all humans. A psychologist in its ranks would have lent them the psychological support to tide over the situation.

2. The team’s think tank on many occasions has admitted that- they have worked very hard in the nets and tried everything. Trying too hard, over thinking and analysing will only lead to – paralysis by analysis. The resultant effect is pressure, stress and decrement in performance. The presence of a sports psychologist would have helped

3. Most teams of the IPL comprise of senior and junior players. Often the junior players are left cooling their heels not sure whether they will have a role to play. The team management has to take them in to their confidence and prepare them mentally to contribute big time when the situation arose. They need to be assured that their contribution is important to the success of the team. Paddy Upton, Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne, and Shane Watson did it successfully with the Rajasthan Royals. The well-known sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster did it for the KKR in 2012. Who will forget the cameo effort of Manvinder Bisla against the CSk that helped win the tournament?

4. The support staffs of the RCB headed by chief mentor Daniel Vettori does not seem effective enough to fill this role. A sports psychologist in the ranks of the RCB would have done wonders to its fortunes.

M N Viswanath, author of Success Mantra In Sports and sports performance coach, he can be reached at viswanath.author@gmail.com

The book Success Mantra In Sports is available on Amazon and flipkart. To book your copy you can click here, amazon

You can also follow at

facebook

linkedin

 

Setting goals motivate sportsperson to stay the course longer

anthony-ervin

Elite swimmers Michael Phelps [USA], Ian Thorpe [Aus.] and Anthony Ervin [USA] all made their Olympic debut at the Sydney Olympics 2000. Ever since Michael Phelps who has participated in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics: winning a total of 28 medals with 23 of them are GOLD:  is the most decorated Olympian of all times. Ian Thorpe also took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics since Sydney 2000 and has 5 Olympic gold medals to his credit. Whereas, Anthony Ervin after winning his first Gold medal at the Sydney Olympics 2000, surprised everyone by announcing his retirement, at the age of 22. But, by staging a comeback and winning an Olympic Gold after 16 years ever since he first won gold medal [2000 summer Olympics]: at the age of 35 years – Ervin has scripted the greatest comeback in the history of sports.

To find out what happened in the in-between years of Ervin’s life watch the video below:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThQ7ZvJlRnI

When you look at the dramatic happenings post the first gold medal win [Sydney Olympics] it becomes clear that his goal setting and his motivation factor did not support a long celebrated career that a Michael Phelps or a Roger Federer enjoys. Ervin Anthony has admitted that his dream was to win an Olympic gold medal- once that was achieved he stopped enjoying the competition and felt jaded. He lost the sense of purpose and meaning in life and chose to retire. This was a clear case of a lack of a long term goal and an intrinsic motivation to be the best- that would have helped him to sustain his motivation to continue for a longer period of time.

Ervin rediscovers the magic

It was after he was invited to New York to teach kids swimming he rediscovered his love for water. The joy on the faces of the children sparked a new found motivation in Ervin. He felt that the fire left in him was still burning. He took to the pool and worked hard. Soon, he became a member of the US Olympic squad to the London Olympics 2012[finished fifth]. He has expressed that it was during this period he felt unfinished and wanted to do more- through effort he continued to grow and improve [Intrinsic motivation]. At 35, 4 years later at RIO [2016 Olympic Games] he won the gold again.

Message for the aspiring youngsters 

When you look at Michael Phelps [5 Olympic Games- 28 Gold medals] and Roger Federer, two of the greatest athletes in the modern era- you are astonished by their longevity. What keeps them going is the burning desire to be the best in business and wanting to get better and better all the time. This is what intrinsic motivation is all about. It is the intrinsic motivation that prompted Ervin’s return to water. And how well he proved he could be the best at 35. Federer talks of wanting to improve & become better in this video:-

https://www.Goalcast.com/2017/04/03/roger-Federer-never-stop- improving/   

So, guys set your goals in line with your most cherished dream and vision. Your goals must be to follow the intrinsic path and the external motivations [rewards, name-fame, money, material comforts, titles, honours etc] will take care of themselves. Don’t restrict your goal to one big achievement as Ervin did. Take steps to sustain your motivation that can stretch your goals towards a long celebrated career.

 

BIO feedback the way forward to better performance

Biofeedback - M N Viswanath

India had never won a gold medal in the individual event of the summer Olympics since its inception, until Abhinav Bindra did on the 11 August by winning the 10M Air rifle event of the Beijing Olympics 2008. He also has the honour of being India’s first gold medallist of a world shooting championship.

Indeed the Olympic gold did not fall in to his lap one day from above nor was it bought like the way a publisher in Delhi crudely suggested: Abhinav had to work hard for it in every way and he left no stone unturned in its pursuit. He tried everything- hiring foreign trainers and coaches, running on the Alps in bitter cold, climbing a 40 feet pizza pole, walking on a swaying bridge and climbing walls-to conquer fear, dry firing in dark room, the Samadhi tank, training at the US Olympic training centre and training with the bio-neuro feedback equipment to obtain psychophysiology recordings. Abhinav tried his hand on the neuro [bio] feedback equipment with the help of Tim Harkness, a sports psychologist from South Africa-before the Beijing Olympics. Abhinav Bindra agrees that neuro-feedback is a fantastic tool with a powerful effect on performance. The last mentioned is of curious importance to me- as a sports psychology coach and as a proud owner & practitioner of bio feedback technology. Let me explain on what is Bio-feedback, its applications & uses.

Bio-feedback [of which neuro-feedback is a part]   is a computer based technology by which it is possible to know what is happening with in our body and brain as we think, feel and perform. The BFB & NFB recordings are utilized for:

  1. In controlling anxiety [stress management].
  2. Reduce or induce energy& intensity.
  3. In improving attention.
  4. To facilitate injury rehabilitation.
  5. To improve performance consistency. [Athletics, music, dance etc].
  6. To improve overall conscious brain functioning.
  7. To treat repetitive strain injury- i.e. posture defects like low back pain.

The body and mind react in different ways during training and competition as well as during poor performance and successful performance. A teacher, coach or trainer will not be able to identify through the naked eye, these subtle differences across situations. So, a competitive situation is simulated in the lab settings and the performer [athlete, dancer, musician, singer, student, patient, computer professional etc] is trained to read the body’s feedback through the feedback mechanism[ NFB, BFB] – sweaty palms, shallow breathing, muscle tension, changes in heart beats and brain wave patterns are sure indicators of stress. The client is taught to bring these readings to control as required and then trained to take on the field in competition without the aid of the feedback machine and to perform in an Ideal performance state [IPS].  The modalities of biofeedback commonly used are- sEMG – to measure muscle tension. EDA/GSR- to measure arousal- indicated by sweat & perspiration in the hands. HRA- to measure variation of heart rate. Thermal feedback to measure- skin temperature. Respiration- to measure rate of breathing. EEG- to measure brain waves and study brain functioning.

The most successful application of Feedback technology is the `PEAK PERFORMANCE’ related to sports and performing arts. This technology is widely used in the west to train Olympic athletes of both summer and winter Olympic Games. It is extensively used to train the archers, shooters and golfers Generally BFB& NFB can be applied to any sport or any performance as such.

A mind room using the BFB & NFB technology was created for the 2006 Soccer World cup winning Italian team. The Chelsea football club also has a mind room with feedback technology- created for its players.

A paper published recently shows the positive results of NFB to reduce symptoms of Anxiety and depression.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/just-published-scientific-paper-shows-positive-results-of-neurofeedback-to-reduce-symptoms-of-anxiety-and-depression-300425036.html

M N Viswanath, author of Success Mantra In Sports and sports performance coach, he can be reached at viswanath.author@gmail.com

The book Success Mantra In Sports is available on Amazon and flipkart. To book your copy you can click here, amazon

You can also follow at

facebook

linkedin

Brain fade’ a veiled threat to all performers

Brain Fade - Steve Smith

The recently concluded India-Australia test match at Bengaluru in the first week of March 2017 was a scintillating cricket match, but mired in controversy.

Steve Smith, unhappy with the LBW ruling that went against him, looked toward the dressing room seeking to get some help on whether to go for a review or not.

This incident turned the match on its head for other reasons. The Aussie captain was accused of cheating, as it was against the rules to look for counsel. Later, at a press meet, he admitted his guilt and said he was under a moment of brain fade.

After Virat Kohli got out LBW, by not offering a shot – through misjudgment of the line and length of the ball, Mark Waugh said this was happening to Kohli because of brain fade.

The new coinage, brain fade, seems to have gained currency after the match.

‘Trevor your underarm stinks’.

Let me take you down memory lane to the year 1981. On February 1st, Australia were playing New Zealand in a one day Benson and Hedges World series match at the MCG.

Here is a glimpse of the video.

The chase came down to the last over and last ball with New Zealand requiring seven runs to win with Brian McKechnie at the crease.  The Aussie captain Greg Chappell instructed his bowler Trevor Chappell [his younger brother] to bowl underarm, which the bowler promptly did, preventing the Kiwis from scoring six runs that would have turned the match into a tie.

The Aussies won the day but drew a lot of flak for not playing within the spirit of the game. Though at that time bowling underarm was a legal delivery [later abolished by the ICC], it was unfair and contrary to the tradition the game is known for.

The reason Greg Chappell attributed to his infamous decision was that – he was too exhausted, frustrated, stressed and under pressure.

Brain fade??   What is that!!!?

The lexicons describe it as a temporary state of inability to concentrate or think clearly or simply get confused and make a poor decision.

Psychologically speaking, I wouldn’t compare it with the more severe condition known as choking, brain freeze, falling apart under pressure or mental meltdown, where the brain goes blank completely and the person seems lost – unable to know what is happening. However, in both the instances the primary reason for the effect is- Pressure.

The cerebral cortex in the brain is the place where decisions are made, which is why it is referred to as the thinker of the brain. It is the seat of intelligence, imagination, analysis, planning and judgment. In short- it is the seat of mental activity.

When everything seems to be normal, the cerebral cortex will take the correct decision by analyzing and judging the situation based on past experiences, perception and knowledge.

But when we are under intense pressure and are threatened, the usual process is bypassed and an important part in the brain – the amygdala springs into action by initializing the fight or fight response.

It is like an emergency alarm going off, triggering an SOS or distress call for help. It will see that the primary objective of the human being is taken care of – that is to oversee the threat. That is why some of the reactions can happen without even thinking. The primary emotion below this is fear – the fear of loss.

Emotion has a thinking mind of its own and sometimes when threatened can act independently of the cognitive thinking mind, seemingly illogical.

That Smith and Greg Chappell were under pressure is true

Pressure is what could have forced Greg Chappell to make an instinctive decision to instruct his brother to bowl underarm to save the threat of loss [defeat].

He later admitted he was frustrated, exhausted, pressurized- the whole thing can be called as Distress or simply, stress.

In the Bengaluru test, Steve Smith’s presence at the wicket was crucial to lead Australia to victory and avert defeat. When he was adjudged LBW, he might have gone into a brain fade sensing defeat and reacted without thinking.

Emotional intelligence is the key to handle such pressure related situations.

( M N Viswanath, author of Success Mantra In Sports and sports performance coach, he can be reached at viswanath.author@gmail.com)

The book Success Mantra In Sports is available on Amazon and flipkart. To book your copy you can click at http://www.amazon.in/Success-Mantra-Sports-First-Viswanath/dp/8193194039

Reputation can play havoc on opponents

 

AB De Villers
AB de Villiers at IPL 2017 – Photo – Hindustan Times

AB de Villiers had to miss the first two games for RCB since he was not fully fit.

On April 10, 2017 he staged a sensational comeback from injury, with a spectacular 89 [46 balls, 9×6, 3×4] but his effort was not just good enough to ensure a huge total for the RCB [148 in 20 overs] that could take them victory.

Ultimately, Kings 11 Punjab got the better of RCB [150 in 14.3 overs] with more than 5 overs to spare. This match would have been a low-key affair but for the heroics of AB De Villiers towards the end on the RCB’S innings. From the beginning the King’s X1 bowlers-bowled a tight line and did not allow RCB to do some quick scoring –runs had started to dry up for RCB even with AB de at the crease, it appeared at one stage that RCB would not even reach 150. Then AB De let his strings loose and runs started to flow for RCB. The Kings X1 bowling that looked effective and economical suddenly started to look mediocre in AB DE’s hands: he was at his destructive best as he threatened to hit every ball out of the stadium [9×6].

At this stage I was left wondering- how do batsmen of the likes of AB DE, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Chris Gayle, Brendon Mc Cullum, Glen Maxwell, Virat Kohli, Carlos Braithwaite and David Warner make mince- meat of good bowling attacks? Bowlers who have looked menacing till then look like novices bowling against these destructive batsmen at their best. These hapless bowlers end up bowling to the batsman’s strength, offer a lot loose deliveries and freebies. As I searched for the answer my intuitive mind told me it was the REPUTATION & EXPERIENCE of these batsmen that does the trick. Against any other batsman the same bowlers would be at their best, executing their various skills while dominating the batsman in the process: but, not against these marauders. Why?

  1. The bowler’s- when they are bowling against a batsman with a reputation of explosive batting- are under pressure and feel threatened [especially so in T-20 cricket].
  2. Instead of thinking of what they need to do under the circumstances they fear what may happen to them [fours and sixes]
  3. They think negatively of what they should not do in order to escape being whacked- in the end do the thing they should not have done.
  4. Sometimes this fearsome reputation puts so much pressure on the bowlers that their brain goes in to a freeze: the resultant effect is that, they are unable to think properly and end up doing something foolish.

5.They are afraid of their own reputation and think of the sense of shame they have to bear with –if things went against them. Who would like to be another Stuart Broad in the hands of Yuvraj Singh [6×6]?

What would be the best possible thing for a bowler to do under these circumstances?

Bowlers when faced against batsman in destructive mood must first, get their brains working by taking some deep breaths. Talk to themselves and change their thoughts to positive. Bring the pressure bearing thoughts to control. Forget that they are bowling to a batsman A or B of repute: think the opposite batsman is like any other batsman. Think of what they need to do. Think of their strengths and visualize executing successfully in line with their plan of action.

M N Viswanath, author of Success Mantra In Sports and sports performance coach, he can be reached at viswanath.author@gmail.com

The book Success Mantra In Sports is available on Amazon and flipkart. To book your copy you can click here, amazon

You can also follow at

facebook

linkedin