THE EDITOR: When is the once mighty West Indies going to turn back the clock or change its misfortunes?
I am tired of reading that “we must improve;” “West Indies need solutions;” “West Indies crash;” “the fielding was not good enough; the bowling let us down and batting-wise we have just got to find ways to build more partnerships.”
The complaints range from team selection to captaincy, to salaries, to batting to fielding, to bowling. Captains looking for improvement, coaches hoping for betterment and the public looking for victories.
Expectations are high but no one has a road map directing the performances to repeated victories. If the ingredients are substandard, isn’t the final product going to be defective?
Brian Charles Lara was able to amass scores of 400 and 500. West Indies could barely manage 250. Has anyone ever interviewed and investigated this batting legend to unearth the secret behind these massive scores? I am sure his revelations will point to the mental preparation preceding his batting prowess.
Many might dismiss the achievements as “lucky days.” If this is so then let’s go for lucky days.
The use of sports psychologist Dr Rudy Webster was the way to go, but where did it fall short? The training camps were too short and he was charged with teaching “old dogs new tricks.”
The West Indian mentality is: “If you can’t play like me, you can’t teach me. If you know so much about cricket, how come you don’t earn half my income? And sports psychology is hocus pocus.”
Webster should have withheld his formula and directed our cricketers to go and “mount their bats” or bury a “black cent” on the pitch the night before or even give the players a “bush bath” before a series.
“Nobody eh fraid we again.” People steups when they hear West Indies touring. Buying a five-day pass to a Test involving the West Indies is risky business. Apparently the team is always in a hurry to go and shop. When we win, we win by flukes for we are unable to duplicate a victory. The West Indies is now the bobolee team in cricket.
Sports psychology is the way of the modern athlete to control anxiety and to improve performance. The mental aspect of the game must be taught as much as, if not more than, the physical, technical and tactical elements. At what age should this be done? Train the tree how you want it to grow.
Let us document and teach the mindset of the run machine Lara to produce cricketers that are mentally tough.
My teachers always told me to pay attention in class but they never taught me how to pay attention. If we want to be at the top of the world in sports, let us put emphasis on teaching the mental side.
LENNOX FRANCIS via e-mail