Coach Yourself

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Delivering a variety of programmes that encompass: Game strategy and awareness Mental conditioning Technique Physical fitness Personal growth and leadership. Equipping with the Mental and physical tools required to perform consistently. Providing Customizable programmes that fit in with your particular circumstances.

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Physical conditioning evaluations. Workshops on the following: o Learn how to coach yourself to perform under pressure. - try to keep things
simple, he told me to keep things simple and play the natural game.
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Build an effective(strong impression) game plan.- cool head ,be aggressive Learn to manage fear, negative thinking and doubt. Build your mental plan for success. Learn to perform by combining your mental and technical preparation

Coaching Tips

Practice the way you want to play in the match - if one of your aim's is to not get out in the match, then the same should apply at your practice.

Paddy upton: Paddy, what exactly is your role as the team¶s mental conditioning coach? One of the main roles is supporting Gary (Kirsten , the cricket coach) and manning the management and strategic leadership of the team. While Gary talks to players, I watch what works, what doesn¶t, if the players are attentive and things like that. While Gary focuses on cricket, I focus on the energy in the team. I talk to players and get individual responses and then give Gary detailed feedback. What I basically do is monitor the team environment, just get a feel of what feels right and good. It¶s an intuitive role. You talk to players on a personal basis? Well, after we talk about the game, I do talk to them about what¶s going on in their lives, anything at all ± an argument with a friend, some tension in the family, anything that¶s distracting them from cricket, really. It¶s not uncommon for a player to go through a difficult time with his girlfriend (no, I¶m not going to take names!). I try and give them focus and clarity so they can refocus on the game. You must know a lot of secrets I¶m sure people would kill to know! That¶s true. Well, they only shared to the degree that they were comfortable, really. What exactly is mental conditioning? You know, it¶s a title given to something that nobody knows what title to give to. Let me try and explain: Mental conditioning means helping to influence an environment of a team or individuals to allow natural motivation to flow as freely as possible, and to allow that team or that individual to explore their talent and potential with a minimum amount of pressure and inhibition that could be reasonably expected. Err... In simple words, I help create a favourable performance environment for the team. I help remove distraction and make sure that the players are focused on preparation and strategy. I keep their focus on their performance rather than the outcome. It¶s really like walking into an exam: you make sure you¶ve done a certain amount of preparation so when you do sit down to write the exam, you have a certain amount of calmness and confidence. If a player has done all the preparation, he should be fine. So it¶s all about handling pressure. Let¶s look at pressure. It is one of the main causes of errors at the highest levels of the game. Pressure is placing high value on the result. You feel good about yourself only if you get a favourable result. Otherwise, you feel bad. But the expectations of a billion people rest on these eleven men. How do you cope with that kind of pressure? We had a conversation over a year ago, which went something like this: ³Are we ready to

win the World Cup if we were to play today?´ The answer was an overwhelming no. The World Cup would undoubtedly be the highest amount of pressure that they had ever faced in their careers. Of course the pressure of national expectation was there. So here¶s what we did to prepare them: In the first two years with the team, we placed very little attention on pressure. We downplayed it completely. For the last year, as the World Cup drew closer, we changed this to focus acutely on pressure on a game-by-game basis. By the time the Cup came around, we had had one year of simply talking about pressure. We embraced it, we looked for it in every game, we discussed it. We said, bring it on! What we knew was this: the team that wins the World Cup final is not that one that doesn¶t panic. It¶s the one that panics the least. Did you keep the players away from newspapers and TV channels? We suggested that players do not read newspapers, asking them if they were really going to find out something they did not know about their game by listening to a reporter or a newsman. In fact, on more crucial days, I did an early morning outing to remove all newspapers from outside their hotel doors (laughs). Any exercises to handle pressure? We didn¶t really do any specific exercises to manage pressure. What we did was to raise awareness in a pressure situation. For example, if we saw that a certain players or players found themselves in a pressure situation, we talked about it with them freely ± what happened, what was the player thinking, were they panicking, what was happening with their breathing, where did the mind go« things like that. What happens in a stressful situation is that people think too much into the future and they make rash decisions. I taught them to think calmly, to focus ball by ball and play smarter cricket than the opposition. We absorbed pressure rather than trying to run away from it. We also made a conscious decision right in the beginning about spreading the pressure across all the players. In the India-Sri Lanka World Cup final, everyone was in shock when Malinga took Sachin¶s wicket in the sixth over! It was like, oh s**t, now we¶re screwed. Exactly. As a player, the biggest mistake you can make is hoping somebody else does it rather than thinking about what you can do to turn things around. You hope Dhoni does it, you hope Sachin does it. What we really embraced this time around was genuine team performance. We made sure there was no individual pressure to perform. What about when the game is actually unfolding? Is the atmosphere stressful in the changing room? To calm nerves, we made sure soothing music was playing and that specifically Gary, Eric Simons (Team India¶s bowling consultant) and myself were displaying a calm and unemotional body language. That said, the changing room atmosphere was mostly calm and was respectfully treated as our team sanctuary. Everyone was going crazy about the India-Pakistan semi-final. Was that the most stressful part of the tournament? Actually, by the time we got to that match, our preparation to perform under pressure was

complete. We didn¶t need to raise the team energy, we didn't need to practice. We just needed to do what we had been preparing to do. What I told the team at that time was this: This is like a movie. The script has already been written. The main actors have already been chosen. Now all that remains is for us to go out and play our roles according to the script« and we will cross the line. It was the same philosophy we followed for the finals. There was a deep, underlying confidence. You were confident of winning, then. Listen, it wasn¶t brash overconfidence. It was a deep, quiet confidence that we were the best prepared team. What we discussed throughout the World Cup was this: you are not walking out on to the field with the nation¶s expectations on your shoulders. You are walking out with the nation holding you by the hand. And so, it paid off in the end. It was surreal. What we felt was a mix of pride, gratitude, elation and a tiny bit of relief. Because we wouldn¶t have been happy with anything less. It¶s like if you start climbing a mountain unprepared and manage to reach the summit, you feel ecstasy. But when you reach the summit fully prepared, you feel relieved, because you¶re supposed to get there. And we got there. Paddy¶s µstay stress free¶ tip for YOU: Whatever you do, be it business or sport, invest at least as much time in bettering yourself as a human being. ³I like to get a little philosophical here,´ says Paddy. ³If you consider the notion that we are an instrument of God and God plays his music through us by playing cricket or doing business, what you want to do is spend time honing yourself as that instrument so that the melody you play is beautiful. If you are tired, stressed out or lethargic, you are not going to be your best. Whatever you do, be the best person you can and the best results will follow.´ The most important bit of advice Paddy gave to the Indian cricket team: Spread the pressure and play for a cause greater than yourself. Pigeon Hole them!

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Kirsten consulted Upton rather late in his playing career²before his 101st and final Test match in 2003. But it was enough to show him the importance of understanding how the mind works. Kirsten and Upton sat down and analysed the lack of footwork that had caused Kirsten¶s last three dismissals, and came to the conclusion that he was subconsciously scared of the short ball. ³I learned that it was the same thing that had got me out in all three innings. In fact, it was the same thing I struggled with my entire career, but never admitted to anyone, not even to myself. I got out because deep down, I was scared of the short ball,´ Kirsten said at

the time. ³It was only in my 101st Test match, batting under possibly the most stressful conditions I had encountered, that I was able to understand my emotions while batting and do something about them.´ In 2006, the two became business partners and started a consultancy called Performance Zone in Cape Town. Strategy to suit players Upton joined the Indian cricket team as mental conditioning coach in December 2007. Apart from him, the Indian team was also treated, from time to time, to the motivational presence of Mike Horn, the South African explorer whose intrepid feats include negotiating the Amazon for six months and circling the equator, alone and without the aid of motorised transport. India¶s World Cup victory and the team¶s ascent to the number one ranking in Test cricket can be seen as a victory for specialist backroom personnel, and the often intangible benefits they bring. For most of his stint, Kirsten had four local assistants: Ramji Srinivasan (physical trainer), CKM Dhananjai (video analyst), Ramesh Mane (masseur) and Nitin Patel (physiotherapist), were an important part of a set-up where nothing was left to chance. Just before the World Cup, yoga instructor Manoj Kumar joined the team since the Indian players wanted alternative fitness regimes. Not all backrooms work well with all teams, though. The key to the success of India¶s support staff was the fact that they never imposed anything on the players, or on each other. ³I think the thing that made the journey so enjoyable and obviously successful was that nobody was trying to be king of the heap,´ says Eric Simons, India¶s bowling coach, who joined the team two years after Kirsten and Upton. ³The players were important and we never worked for personal glory.´ Strategies were designed to suit the players. Two hours into their first session with the team, a three-day camp before the home series against South Africa in March 2008, Kirsten and Upton tore up their pre-planned strategy map, and consulted the players instead. ³Gary presented the thoughts that we had come up with before coming here about how to move forward. And two hours later, we sat down to have lunch and realised that it didn¶t land. So we had to change our tactic two hours into our three-year contract,´ says Upton. ³We went back to the players and said, µOk, you have a 50 per cent win ratio over the last eight months. What are the things that you¶re doing that are working and you¶re enjoying? What is it that¶s working for you in this environment?¶ And we had a brainstorming session and went away and organised that into what¶s working on the field and off it in terms of practice and strategy. We grouped the stuff that was working and presented it back to the players, saying, µHow about this for a strategy?¶ And really, what we were doing was giving the players a strategy that they were already enjoying.´ Gaining the trust of the players was the next step, and that happened over time. ³That first three-day camp we had, I was amazed at how open the guys were. And Tendulkar was one of

the people who was completely open. I invited people to tell me about some incident in their life that had a significant impact and the players shared their stories very openly and I was amazed, only to realise a little bit further down the line, that they shared more out of politeness than because of a genuine openness,´ says Upton. ³But as the relationships built, so did the trust. Someone like Harbhajan Singh is very quick to trust and very quick to open himself up while someone like M S Dhoni takes a lot longer. We allowed those natural human interactions to unfold at a comfortable and natural speed. We didn¶t try and force anything.´ Preparing for the finals To prepare the side for an event such as the World Cup, Upton told the players to ³seek out pressure and embrace it´ in all the matches leading up to the big event. Well before the World Cup even began, the players were talking about situations they might face in the final. ³We used the language, µwhen we play the final in Mumbai¶, whenever we spoke about pressure over the last year,´ Upton says. ³So when we arrived there, we had already been talking about it, planning for it and it was already in our day-to-day language that when we play, we will be in the highest pressure situation. The fact that we were two-down when we lost Sachin, it was a high-pressure situation, but it didn¶t catch us by surprise because we knew at some stage, that this was going to happen when we play the final in Mumbai.´ In the group stages, however, the emphasis was on treating the matches in a low-key manner. ³We weren¶t really worried if we won or lost one or two games or we finished second or third,´ says Upton. ³We weren¶t worried if we were to even finish fourth, because we knew it was a long period of sustained pressure, particularly in India with all the expectation.´ To ensure that players didn¶t feel the anxiety of fans and the media, they were cut off from newspapers and television. ³What¶s important is your analysis of your own game along with your fellow players and your coach. There is no value in watching some person sitting in a studio analysing you, someone who is not in the gym or in the nets. We said to the players, µyou work it out, how much TV you want to see and how much emphasis you want to place on what is being said,¶´ he says. How Yuvraj turned a corner Among the players who went through a major transformation during Upton¶s tenure was Yuvraj Singh, who went from getting a contract demotion to ending the World Cup as Man of the Tournament. ³He was going through a fairly tough time. And it was his decision to say, µokay, I can either walk away from the game or I can do something about it¶. And all credit to him, he decided to work on his game, on his fitness and on himself as a person. My role in that was to help a guy and accompany him on that journey of discovery. So on this journey, my role as a mental conditioning coach was to walk them, ask them questions, in a way like a navigator,´ says Upton. Munaf Patel was another success story. ³To me, he was one of the greatest joys to watch over the last three years. For the first two years, he was in and out. Munaf, by his own admission,

didn¶t have really good energy. He wasn¶t an energetic guy, and was quite lethargic. And about a year ago, he did a 180-degree turn. In his own words, he decided to change his attitude. Over the last year, I don¶t think I have seen any player in the team smile as much as Munaf and be a positive contributor of energy. If a guy dropped a catch, or if there was a guy struggling in the nets, Munaf would be the first guy to be there to encourage him,´ says Upton. With the mental and emotional demands that the crowded international schedule places on players, more teams might follow India¶s example and appoint specialists like Upton. ³What is going to happen with full schedules is that you will lose players through illness, through injury and through loss of form and mental fatigue. That¶s going to happen anyway,´ says Upton. ³I just hope that going into the future in world cricket, there are these support groups put in place. And the players feel comfortable to go and seek out that kind of support. It¶s all well to say that they get paid well and they get treated well. But they are human beings. A lot of times, people from the outside look at them as superstars and have massive expectations from them. But they are just like you and me and have the same fears.´ Team Support Paddy Upton, Mental conditioning coach Before joining the Indian team, Upton was with South Africa's national cricket and Western Cape Province rugby squad. Played a big role in preparing the players for the high pressure games. A patient listener, that¶s been his big strength. Eric Simons, Bowling coach Played 23 ODIs in the 1990s before he became South Africa¶s bowling coach. His Indian stint started in 2010. Very strong tactically, Simons sat with bowlers to plot the fall of rival batsmen. Despite injuries to key bowlers before and during the World Cup, he used the resources available to him wisely. Nitin Patel, Physiotherapist Following the stints of Andrew Leipus, John Gloster, Paul Close and Adrian Le Roux, Team India finally got a homegrown physiotherapist in Vadodara¶s Nitin Patel. Having worked closely with Sachin and Zaheer during his stint with the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team, Patel had an insider¶s approach to treating them. Ramesh, Masseur Masseur of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team in 2003-04, he was drafted into the Indian setup during their famous tour of Pakistan in 2004. Affectionately called Mane kaka, he is a father figure in the team. He¶s also the one who arranges mithai for them on hectic tours to other countries. Ramji Srinivasan, Physical trainer Srinivasan rose to prominence during his stint at the MRF Pace Foundation, where he helped Sachin Tendulkar recover from a shoulder injury. Ramji who joined Team India in

2010, also runs a popular health club in Chennai and is Mumbai Indians¶ physical trainer in the IPL. CKM Dhananjai, Video analyst For his indepth analysis of the game, Dhananjai, who joined Team India as video analyst around the same time as MS Dhoni took over as skipper, is credited with charting out its recent success on the international stage. He¶s part of the Sports Mechanics firm that procures and processes data to provide coaches. Manoj Kumar, Yoga instructor The newest recruit to the team¶s support staff had earlier upset the BCCI for being part of the dressing room despite being only a personal yoga instructor to Zaheer. He had to leave the camp but was reinstated later as the team¶s yoga instructor. Kumar, who practises dynamic yoga, helps players recover with stretching.

Paddy Upton is almost certain to be appointed as India's first mental-conditioning coach. Cricinfo spoke to him on the challenges ahead

What exactly would be your job description? All international cricketers are highly skilled and they are able to technically score 100 runs every second time they walk to the wicket. There are not many deliveries at this level of the game that are unplayable or that a bowler genuinely earns a batsman's wicket. Probably 90% of the time it's due to the batsman's own error in judgement error in thinking that causes them to get themselves out or allow themselves to be worked out by the bowler. So my work will be to try and eliminate as many as those self-made errors as possible. And that has been my work with the cricketers in an individual basis before. And from a team's perspective I will look at maximising the different individual's contribution to the team. So my work would be in capacity of mental conditioning coach. Can you break it down to specifics Let me speak from my past work. I will help a batsman to see how they are getting themselves out, help themselves understand where their mental weak point is - for every batsman it's at a different place and I would help them construct a strategy to turn that weakness into strength. Let's say a batsman is getting out to really quick bowling; there might be some fear around that short-

pitched or quick bowling. They are not getting into line or they are not getting into the best positions. I would help them understand that and work with it so that it's no longer a weakness. Then there are some batsmen who tend to relax or get over excited or over confident when they get into 30 and 50, and start playing a bit more expansive cricket that leads to them getting out. There is something in the player's mindset that does them to switch over to when they reach 30. So what exactly do you tell that player? Very few of the batsmen that I have worked with, when we go to a very deep level of awareness, are actually aware of what their problem is. You can see them on a TV or a coach can spot that they are not moving their feet or they are getting overexcited but what actually is causing it is what is ticking behind that player's mind. The mind causes the body to play that incorrect shot. If the body were to left to its devices it would react and respond appropriately to the ball that is being delivered. But the mind is causing the problem. For example with Jacques Kallis, it took us seven or eight hours to find out where exactly he would make his error. With Gary Kirsten, it took about six hours and then one needs to work with it on a regular basis. So it's not simple as a batsman saying. 'This is my problem'. So what exactly was the problem with Kallis and what was the solution suggested? That's completely confidential. I haven't told anybody and each player I work with I can't go and speak about it. It would be not correct. For example I go and work with an Indian player, there is no way I would tell about it to any body in the world. That's the nature of my work. OK. Let me read what a player has said about you. Graeme Smith, after he became captain, said: " We have been putting practical systems into my everyday life to help me cope, and it's helped a lot. I am a lot calmer and less emotional now. For the first time in my life, I have someone to bounce things off and talk things through with openly and honestly." How long does it take to arrive at such a personal equation with a player? How do you proceed? I would proceed cautiously. Relationship is one of the key factors because its just not cricket. As you can see from that Smith quote he hasn't mentioned anything about cricket. I was talking more leadership and about managing the pressures in his life off the field. So if that's impacting and creating stress in a cricketer's life and impacting his performance on the field, I would work with non-cricket related matters. And that's really dependent on the level of our relationship and it requires total confidentiality; so that the player knows he can say anything to me and I am 100% bound by confidentiality. In business top guys have coaches now; executive coaching is the second fastest growing profession in the world where business executives have somebody to share their thoughts, bounce his ideas and sometimes just offload and discussing something that he cant discuss internally. Similarly, if a particular cricketer finds a situation stressful they are never going to tell the coach and Gary [Kirsten] is fully aware of it. That's why he would like somebody like me in the midst. If a player has got

a problem and they couldn't talk to the coach, because it is difficult and might compromise them there is somebody to talk them through it and clear it so that it doesn't interfere with their performance.

Indian cricketers are like superstars here. They lead a life of a celebrity. How do you plan to work with people like that? Will they open up? The more of a superstar one becomes, the lonelier one actually gets. Certainly, the top businessmen I have worked with, the superstars of South Africa, it can be sometimes a very lonely place. But with respect to the Indian cricketers, I would need to discover that myself when I get there. For everyone it's very different. While I am familiar with the Indian culture I am certainly not completely familiar. So I would need to be cautious and take my time and be humble about the potential beginnings. How familiar are you with the Indian culture? I have toured with the team and I have travelled to India personally. I started my own spiritual path there; my spiritual life is formed out of India and I also got married in India in a traditional Vedic ceremony. So I am not a stranger in that respect. I got married to a South African in one of the Indian ashrams. Sandy Gordon did a study he conducted with current and former Indian cricketers over an 18-month period from July 2003. Do you plan to speak to him? I would certainly do as much preparation as I would be able to. If Sandy is prepared to share some of the things, I certainly would seek that. At some point of time, Virender Sehwag preferred to talk to Rudi Webster than Sandy as he felt more confident with experience in cricket. What's your in that regard I had played first-class cricket and been a captain in provincial cricket. When I spent four years with the national team I was involved in all the strategy, all the planning sessions with Hansie Cronje and Bob Woolmer. So I have an exceptionally deep understanding of the game. I had retired from playing cricket to take up the position with the national team. So it was the choice between playing cricket as a profession or moving to fitness training as profession. And I had completed all available cricket coaching courses in SA and earned distinctions at all the different levels. I left fitness training in 1999, realising that there is something more important than getting the body supremely fit to perform at the optimum level at the highest level. I did a two-year masters program in business leadership and performance coaching. And my thesis in that program was to look at the coaching approach that was used at that time in all south African national and provincial level coaching for a 12-year period and comparing it with best international practise. Then my work in the last seven years have been preparing for success in high-pressure environment. In sports its focussing on people to get them ready to work with their minds rather than their minds working with them.

Which cricketer's development gave you the most joy? It would have to be Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten. I have also really enjoyed working with Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince. Have you been following the Indian team? I have followed them and have had conversations with Gary. The talent available is great, they are a wonderful bunch of talented individuals. That's the thing that really excites Gary and me. What kind of response are you looking from the Indian players? I would start off with humble beginnings, arrive there, and try to understand before I try to be understood. What's the time frame you are looking at? The type and level of work I do is relatively new in world cricket. In 1996, when I started as a fitness trainer, I was the first full time fitness trainer in international cricket. It was difficult then to say how it was going to work out but we decided to make a start and see what works, and if it doesn't work, change it and make it work. I see myself in a very similar position 11 years later in that while there have been some sports psychologists who have done bits and pieces of work with national players, my approach is fairly unique and fairly new. Having spent a considerable amount of time researching the thinking available not only in sports - I have gone outside of sports into business, philosophy, theology, spirituality and taken the best of all of them and see how this works in sports. And the results of sportsmen I have worked with suggests that something is working very well. So it can't be a short-term stint at all? This kind of work is longer term and Gary understands that because I have worked personally with him as a player and also in his academy. He has personally seen and experienced the value of work I do as a cricketer and later as a coach; we both complement each other. It's not a quick fix. People have tried workshops. That doesn't work. I would not want to get involved in that kind of a thing. I don't believe in that approach as it's not deeply effective and not long lasting. I would say the minimum period I would need is six months. Then let's take it from there. We need the inputs from players, management and see what works out. It would really be something that we have to think carefully and work together.

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