Indiana University cricket
Coach Jatin Patel (right) during one of his coaching session.

By Jatin Patel
The 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 and no real action is possible for some time. It’s impossible to run on the road or practice at public parks with your teammates.

In these unprecedented times, cricketers can do a lot of improvement using this period to work on improving their fitness, as well as working 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 coach and a pioneer in coaching education in the USA.

Coach Patel further expressed his views on fitness, strength and conditioning, by adding that it can be improved through a multitude of exercise routines involving, but not limited to resistance bands, cardio, deadlifts, etc. There will be a time when the Coronavirus 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 for one to sit down and think about the game; decide what one wants to do next and how one can improve further for one’s betterment. At the end of the day, ‘the biggest room in this world is the room for improvement’.

Mindset matters most and Mental Preparation is a huge factor in today’s sports. A lot of cricketers fail to reach their full 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. You can 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, said, coach Patel.

Fitness matters most in sports and a key part of sport fitness is mental strength. Cricket is played more in the minds than on the field. It constitutes around 80% of the performance as compared to around 20% of the player’s skill and talent. The 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 and metrics like self-esteem, stress levels, mood swings, etc. are a few of the important factors that impact better decision making. With the “mind over body” ideology, one can maintain higher levels of concentration and stay focused while combating the many distractions that drag you into depression, fear of failure, and performance anxiety.

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 cricket players or any other sportsperson perform well and stay ahead of the competition.

Based on mindset and mental strength related discussions with Jatin Patel, renowned coach and pioneer in coaching education in the USA, Yash Khandor, CEO of International Cricket Network – ICN360, says – “If you don’t come out of this quarantine a better/improved version of yourself; you never lacked time. You lacked DISCIPLINE.”