Tag: Cricket

What Mental Mockery Can Do To You?

KL Rahul( Cricket Country)
KL Rahul in action against Australia in Dharamsala test.

( picture from cricketcountry.com)

On 26/3/17 the second day of the fourth test match between India and Australia at Dharamsala: Post lunch session- Opener K.L.Rahul who played with a lots of patience and responsibility since play began in the morning was batting on 60 and facing up to Pat Cummins, who was bowling a spell that was hostile, intimidating and fast with speeds of over 145. In that over after every ball, Pat Cummins muttered something to Rahul: the first time Rahul ignored it: the second time he stared back and nodded his head in dissent. The next ball was bounced: Rahul instead of allowing the ball to go past him decided to slog it over mid-on but ended up giving a simple catch to mid-off. Rahul even in his wildest dreams would not play such a rash shot. All the good work was undone with one shot. It was a simple case of rush of blood, lapse of concentration, and momentary brain fade. What led to this? Obviously, it was Pat Cummins mental mockery. In the end it was Pat who had the last laugh and Rahul was forced to leave dejected and defeated. Pat forced Rahul in to mental disintegration coaxing him to play a reckless shot. In fact, Rahul tried to give-it- back- to- Pat Cummins by playing an aggressive shot- which was the wrong thing to do.

A sporting contest normally is an execution of different skills to get the better of your opponents to gain supremacy over the other. But, when things are not going their way: it has been a customary practice with the players to play mental games to regain control of the proceedings. In cricket, players indulge in verbal bashing commonly known as sledging– especially on the batsman in order to irritate, provoke and intimidate. The result is that the batsman loses concentration- internally, by his own frustrating & irritating thoughts and externally, by all the drama that is going on around him.

Mind games are not restricted to cricket alone: we have seen it happen in Tennis, where players like John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were infamous for using negative tactics to win matches. Whenever the opponent was holding the upper hand they held up matches-by picking up fights with spectators, protesting against linesman, referee or officials. In the melee the hapless opponents waiting for the game to restart would get irritated and frustrated and by the time the game started they would have lost their concentration and rhythm. Ultimately, fortunes would change and they would end up losing the match. Time wasting, irritating habits, verbal abuse, negative body language are also some of the mind games players’ play to fox their opponents in to submission. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid were not two batsmen who let sledging get in to their mind nor did they react negatively to the abettors with all the drama happening around them.

How to deal with mental mockery?  

  1. The best thing would be to ignore and look elsewhere.
  2. Do not look directly in to the eyes of the person engaged in sledging.
  3. When sledging is happening around you, focus on something different like the pitch, the stumps, and the greenery of the turf around you. If you are playing a game like tennis- look around to spot something of a particular color like green, blue, white or yellow OR look at the strings of your racquet
  4. Take it with a smile and treat it just as another banter- with the guys trying to break your mind with their antics. The more you take it seriously the more stressed you are going to be. Change your thoughts to positive and focus on what is important at that point of time. Try to maintain your composure even under severe provocation.
  5. Hum your favorite tune or focus on your breathing to take away your mind from all the distractions.
  6. Mental preparedness using the above mantras is the key to handle mental mockery. You know you’ll be sledged – be prepared for it.

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

India needs to believe turnaround is possible

India Vs Austrailia
India Vs Austrailia

Australia have gained a first innings lead of 87 runs and at 11 am India have just come in to bat. India obviously will be under lot of pressure from the word go because there is turn and bounce for the spinners. With two and a half days to go India will need to post a total of at least 450 runs to make a match out of it. With Aussie spin duo full of confidence from their recent success the Indians have a tough task on their hands. It is important for the Indian batsmen to rely on their strengths,  be in the present moment, play the ball on its merits, not to focus too much on the challenges that lie ahead, be positive in their approach, play sensibly and occupy the crease as long as possible. They need to believe that a turnaround is possible at this stage.

 

Swagger and confidence makes for a winning character

Vivan richards and Virat Kohli

The very sight of Vivian Richards walking up to bat, chewing a gum and swaying his big square chest sent a chill down the spine of  bowlers all over the world.

Dennis Lillee with his trademark head band and drooping moustache was an intimidating sight even for batsman of the caliber of Sunny Gavaskar, Viv Richards or an Ian Botham.

The swagger of the beefy guys like Botham, Mathew Hayden was a sight to behold.

These days I like the swagger of golfer, Dustin Johnson, as he strides from one hole to the next. He has confidence written all over him as he displays a strong sense of self-belief that helped him win two majors last year. You won’t be surprised if his female followers drool over him saying `what a man! The broad chested Chris Gayle falls in this company.

I would like to add to this illustrious list, the names of Andrew Flintoff, Shane Warne, Virat Kohli, Kapil Dev, AB de Villiers, Rafa Nadal, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, golfer Arnold Palmer, Michael Jordan & Mohamed Ali. And not to forget the queen of tennis, the Iron willed lady- Serena Williams.

What is common between all of them and why would you put them all in one big golden basket of fame? They are all strong characters and possessed some common qualities like:-

  1.  A confident swagger as they move in the sporting arena.
  2. They show off self-confidence with lots and lots of self-belief oozing out.
  3. They look aggressive – but their aggression is positive and not destructive.
  4. They have the killer instinct that seems to say- `I am the best, I will finish you!’
  5. They are not overawed by their opponents; instead they put their opponents under `awe’.
  6. They seem to inspire millions on their own and create a huge fan following wherever they go.

Cricketer Virat Kohli is the heartthrob of millions in India and an Indian Idol, for sure. He symbolizes the youth force in India and is an inspiration to them.

He is such a true character that he has already lead India to many victories and most of his centuries have come after he has taken over India’s captaincy. He has passed the true test of character. Who wouldn’t want to emulate, Viraat-the-samrat.

For feedback and opinions, write to mnvnath@yahoo.com, you can also follow at.

http://www.facebook.com/viswanath.author

http://www.twitter.com/viswanathauthor