Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson recently opened up on the mental aspect of the gentlemen’s game. During a training session, a player focuses on his skills and has no pressure on him. However, when he gets into the live-action, he has to switch the mode and play responsibly under pressure.
The scenario was better explained by Watson who earlier joined the Delhi Capitals camp as an assistant coach for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. Speaking at the seventh episode of The Delhi Capitals Podcast, the former cricketer provided a masterclass on the mental aspect of cricket.
Speaking about why the mental side of the sport interests him, Watson said, “I find the mental side of the sport super interesting and I am obsessed with it. The players show incredible skill in the nets when they play without pressure. But once they go into the game, the players’ mental environment changes significantly.”
The Assistant Coach further added that he is looking to pass on knowledge about the mental aspect of the game to as many cricketers as possible, “I have spent a lot of time developing my knowledge about this side of the game. Everything is always built around technique. Usually, coaches try to correct players’ technique, but there’s no chat about mindset and if your mindset is not right, then you won’t be able to execute your skills. That’s why one of my main focus points as a coach is to pass on the knowledge of the mental side of the sport to as many cricketers as I can.”
The Australian also spoke about how he has helped Rovman Powell be at his best during IPL 2022, “Everyone has an internal dialogue going on in their minds. We are in control of those dialogues, but most of us don’t exercise control over those dialogues. Usually, the internal chats are negative thoughts such as fear of failure, don’t make that mistake again, you should be better than that and so on and so forth. But if you want to, you can be in control of your thoughts and redirect them to the right thoughts at the right time, which helps from a performance point of view. Rovman understood that and was able to redirect his thoughts.”
Watson also spoke to Powell about defining the best version of himself, “We never really deeply define the best version of ourselves from a mental skills perspective. Working with Rovman and deeply defining his best version helped him. And you could see in the game that he got us home against KKR (Powell scored 33* runs off 16 balls). He was there to own it when he walked out to bat. He was exactly where he needed to be. In the end, this doesn’t guarantee you the results you’re looking for, but you’ve given yourself the best chance and that’s exactly what Rovman did.”