Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 19th 2013 Contents A56
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, August 19, 2013
DR RUDI WEBSTER
Former WI cricket
Johan Cruyff the Dutch footballer once said
that six out of ten coaches actively damage
the team, two out of ten have no effect and
the remaining two have a positive effect. These
words should be taken seriously because
Cruyff was no ordinary player or coach.
In 1999 he was voted European Player of
the Century in an election held by the Inter-
national Federation of History and Statistics
and came second to Pele in their World Player
of the Century poll. After retiring from playing
Cruyff became a highly successful manager at
Barcelona and Ajax football clubs.
If Cruyff s observations are valid, in which
of his categories do the majority of West Indies
cricket coaches fit? There are now more aca-
demically qualified coaches in the Caribbean
than ever before. And yet, the need for good
coaching has never been greater. In the last
two decades our cricket has plummeted. Players
must take responsibility for their development
and performance but they will not reach their
potential in a coaching environment that inhibits
smart thinking, the expression of natural talent,
and the improvement of self-belief, self-con-
fidence, self- discipline and self-reliance.
Jacques Kallis the great South African all-
rounder feels that in some ways coaching today
is like a dictatorship. He says that players are
too dependent on their coaches and that coaches
don t encourage them to think for themselves
or stand on their own feet. He adds that when
something goes wrong, the player instinctively
goes to the coach for answers and instructions
instead of trying to figure out the problem him-
Negative thinking and negative communi-
cation dominate our culture. In 1982, Jack Can-
field an expert in self-esteem conducted a study
to discover how many negative and positive
statements a group of young children received
during the course of a day. He found that on
average each child received 460 negative or
critical comments and only 75 positive or sup-
portive comments, six times more negative
than positive ones. Regrettably, too many of
our coaches communicate with their players
in this fashion. The young mind is quite fragile
and can be harmed by the wrong words even
if they come from the right lips. Conversely,
the mind can be improved by the right words
even if they come from the wrong lips.
Improving players thinking, self-belief, con-
centration and motivation should be one of
the coach s first important priorities. Vince
Lombardi the great American football coach
once said that coaches who can outline plays
on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones
who win get inside their players and motivate.
Understanding the players personality, thinking
patterns and culture is critical. Motivation
depends more on the needs and aspirations of
the players than the desires and goals of the
coach. Coaches who do not understand this
often place their egos, needs and aspirations
above those of the players. Therein lies the
cause of their failure.
Fitness and good technique are vital for suc-
cess but they should be the servants not the
master. Most of our coaches believe that physical
skills are the ultimate component of perform-
ance and look at their players performance
through spectacles that focus predominantly
on technique and technical faults. These coaches
can learn a lot from the old African saying:
"When someone falls don t look at where he
falls but where he slips." So when examining
a technical fault coaches should find out what
went wrong just before the fault occurred. In
most cases the trigger will be found in the
mind, not the body.
The body depends on the brain for instruction
and direction before every action that it takes.
And yet most of our coaches place mental
training way down in their list of priorities. To
them it is just an unimportant add-on to that
list. Napoleon Bonaparte the great French general
highlighted the importance of strategy and the
mind in his successful war campaigns when
he said that in his campaigns, strategy and
mental control were to action what two is to
Sir Garfield Sobers once said to me: "If I had
a free hand in coaching, I would initially spend
most of my time teaching the basics of the
game. And then, I would devote an equal
amount of time teaching players how to identify
and handle the many different situations they
will face during the game."
Sir Garfield added that the main difference
between the great players and the others is the
capacity to identify the most important
demands in the situations they face; the ability
to think simply, clearly, sensibly and creatively
about those situations; and the competence to
tailor their skills, resources and strategies to fit
those demands." Sir Garfield went on: "I have
come across lots of players who have had more
natural skill than some of the great players but
they never made it because they couldn t think
clearly and sensibly.
No matter how good a player you think you
are you won t reach the top unless you develop
your mind. The top players know how to think,
how to concentrate and what to do in tough
situations." This is priceless advice from one
of the most brilliant minds in cricket. West
Indies coaches should take note.
Since the standard of our cricket is so poor,
coaches in the West Indies should look critically
at what they are teaching and doing and deter-
mine whether or not they fall into Cruyff s 60
per cent category of coaches that harms the
players. Their priority should be to do no harm.
They must work hard to improve their weak-
nesses especially in the critical areas of strategy
and mental conditioning. Then they will have
a chance of reaching the 20 per cent category
that impact positively on players development
and performance. To speed up that journey
they should ask themselves three questions.
First, what goals and standards do we want to
achieve; what do we want our players to
become, and why? Second, what do we believe
in and stand for and what are our values and
priorities? And third, will our action plan
improve the players thinking, concentration
and self-reliance and will it meet their needs
Rudi Webster is the author of the new
book, Think Like A Champion (Harper Collins
Who coaches the coaches?
Jacques Kallis...feels coaching is a dictatorship.
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
Before the flood:
Keep a portable radio, flashlight, emergency supplies and a
first aid kit on hand.
Monitor the radio for weather updates and evacuate immedi-
ately if you are told to do so.
Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your
home or place them high if possible.
Bring in all loose items from outside, like garbage cans and
yard furniture for safe keeping.
Turn off the main electrical switch and other utilities.
Place important documents and valuables in plastic and store
them in a safe place.
During the flood:
Do not walk through flowing water. Just six inches of moving
water can knock you off your feet.
Never attempt to cross a swollen stream, river or gully by
foot or vehicle. The force of these waterways can have deadly
If your vehicle stalls in rising water, abandon it immediately
and climb to higher ground. A mere two feet of water can
float a large vehicle, even a bus.
After a flood:
Clean and dry everything water-soaked.
Check appliances and motors for damage and do not use them
until they have been cleaned and dried.
Watch out for wild animals, snakes and centipedes.
Have your electrical wiring checked before turning on the
Purify water before using. Use chlorine bleach or water puri-
fying tablets. Boil tap water for ten minutes.
Are you ready for aflood?
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Floods are the leading cause of disaster-related death
in the Caribbean, but since most can be forecasted,
You should have time to prepare. Your Red Cross
urges You to get ready. There are simple steps You
can take to help protect Your family from a flood.
T&T Red Cross Society
Johan Cruyff...former Dutch footballer.
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