Friday, January 7, 2005

It's All in the Mind -- Taking the Cheap Single

In his column, Talking Sport on Express Cricket, Harsha Bhogle cites Greg Chappell's article in the December issue of Wisden Asia Cricket. Chappell talks about the connection between the mind and the body of a sportsperson. He points out how the dialogue between the two impacts the sportperson's performance.

Building up on what Chappell says about how a "brain will give you what you think about," Bhogle points out how the mind of a sportsperson may work.
"It can make a hero out of a mortified soul, give tired legs the power to run, make a man with no sleep feel fresh. Conversely it can make a champion worry about his next run, an athlete hesitant to get on the track again."

Bhogle than quotes Chappell again, this time on Tendulkar:
"Because his focus is not clear he often finds himself looking for cheap runs on the leg side early in his innings. Early in his career, when his mind was clearer he would walk in and meet the ball with the full face of the bat."

It is this idea of cheap runs that Bhogle finds fascinating.

All people, Bhogle elaborates, have days when they believe they cannot be at their best. In such a situation people look for the cricketer's equivalent of a single to get by instead of the boundary that they in a more confident frame of mind would have scored.

Soon such people fall in a rut and start thinking only in terms of singles. They forget that they were ever capable of hitting the ball beyond boundary.

It is when the singles become more acceptable that people should start worrying, for it is a sign of stagnation. It is the time for such people to realize that something is wrong with them, to look within themselves and come up with not only new goals but also plans that will get achieve these goals.

It happens to the best of us. It happens to all of us. How many times have we fallen in a rut in our work, in our education, in our lives and let things drift. How many times have we merely being content to take that easy single and see the sun set on yet another unremarkable day. It speaks poorly of us that we make no effort to peer into ourselves and do something about it. On the other hand we don't allow our sportspersons such luxuries and expect them to deliver everytime. Why not expect the same from ourselves?

Excellent thoughts. I think for starters we should get our hands on a copy of Greg Chappell's article and relate his thoughts to beyond sport to our lives as well.

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