Brigginshaw's View: Mental fitness as important as physical

YEARS ago I read a sports psychiatrist's book that was a collection of articles by a dozen or more internationals in a variety of sports who gave their secret for success.

One thing emerged from all of them - in all sport the head is as important as physical fitness.

Former bowls international and television commentator Ian Schuback gives the same view in his Queensland Bowler coaching column.

"Your mind will and often does sabotage your performance," Shuey wrote.

"If you don't manage it, it will manage you."

Discussing "choking", he advised turning off concentration by relaxing between shots and thinking about anything but the game. "Just play, don't think," he said.

That coincides with the views of top-level players in the sports psychiatrist's book. They stressed the folly of trying to concentrate all the time.

Top cricket batsmen said they turned off, thought about anything but what they were doing, until the bowler came in with his next delivery.

I remember being surprised at this - I often had wondered how batsmen could maintain concentration, sometimes at the crease for days.

How many times have you seen a lawn bowler on 30 points in a 31-up singles game lose to an opponent he has led by a motza? The mind has taken over - a myriad of negative thoughts is in control.

Concentration when needed is important. But all sportsmen play best when that concentration is not clouded by overuse.



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