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Mental health and mindset is key under COVID19 lockdowns

Tampa Cricket League (TCL) Youth program  - Picture taken before the lockdown
Tampa Cricket League (TCL) Youth program - Picture taken before the lockdown
©Tampa Cricket League (TCL)
 

COVID-19 lockdown is worldwide and has either paused or stalled everything we used to do in our day to day lives. All sports are off the schedule with no real action possible for some time. Now is when mental strength along with physical fitness would be put to test.

It’s impossible to run on the road or practice at public parks with your teammates. In these unprecedented times, cricketers can improve their fitness, as well as work on the mental aspect of their game. Players must strive to improve their fitness and the real challenge is to do so with limited resources available at home, said Jatin Patel, a renowned cricket coach.

Physical Strength:

Further, Coach Patel expressed his view on how fitness, strength & conditioning can be improved through a multitude of exercise routines involving (but not limited to) resistance band, cardio, dead lifts, etc. There will be a time when the Corona Virus Pandemic will be over and sports activities will resume. With this in mind, a player must prepare to be ready once the action resumes. Now is the time one can sit down and think about their game, decide what they want do next and how they can improve further for their own betterment. At the end of the day, ‘the biggest room in this world is the room for improvement’.

Mental Strength:

Mindset matters the most and Mental preparation is huge factor in today’s sport and a lot of cricketers fail to reach their potential because of a lack of mental strength. This is a time when work can be done on this aspect of the game through reading books, listening or watching other sportsmen talk about their experiences, try to relate to things happening to sportsmen from across the world and find what suits them the best. Virtual/online-based training, mentoring or coaching is a huge beneficiary during these extraordinary times.
“The bottom line here is that there is a lot that can be done as a cricketer”- coach Patel.

Fitness matters most in sports and a key part of sport fitness is mental toughness. Cricket is played more in the minds than on the field. It constitutes to around 80% of the performance stack as compared to around 20% of player’s skill and talent. Mental skills that cricket demands are claimed to be higher than most of the other sports, and innovative, on-the-fly problem-solving is an asset in cricket which only the greats possess. It involves combating stress with the right attitude.

“The body achieves what the mind believes”.  Metrics like self-esteem, stress levels, mood swings, etc. are some important factors that impact better decision making. With the “Mind over body” ideology, one can maintain higher levels of concentration and stay focused. This helps in combating the many distractions that drag you into depression, fear of failure and performance anxiety.

Closing Remarks:

At the end of the day, what is the use of the muscles, the power and the dollars if one is not happy within himself/herself. A stable mindset and a well-balanced mental strength will help sportsmen perform well and stay ahead of the competition.

During a recent discussion about mindset & mental strength with coach Jatin Patel, who is also a pioneer in coaching education in USA, CEO of International Cricket Network – ICN360, Yash Khandor interestingly said – “If you don’t come out of this quarantine a better/improved version of yourself; you never lacked time. You lacked DISCIPLINE.”