Can psychology help Nasser Hussain and the England cricket team?
Today, England's cricket selectors pick the team to face Australia next week in the next test at Trent Bridge. England are two nil down, and need to win this match if they are to have any chance of regaining the Ashes.
As well Australia's recent success in the test series, they've also just won the series against the British Lions, and even reached the final of Wimbledon! Do the Aussies have more athletic prowess or is it just in the mind? According to Glenn McGrath, he says international test cricket is very different to county cricket.
In fact he says that over 60% of 'talent' is down to mental strength. He is looking forward to the next test because confidence is high in the Australian squad. Sporting psychology is an increasing field. Many sports from football to athletics and basketball all have paid psychologists.
The England cricket team had a full time psychologist, but released him in 1999 and followed this up with a series of wins! However the Australians have a very scientific approach to the game. As well as using computer aids, they have a full-time psychologist available to the team at any time.
Dr Van Vught from the University of Southampton believes that Captains play an important role. He claims that if a captain has high standards and demands professionalism from his players, the team always do better. He says that a team approach is neccesary for success. It is important not to blame each other for mistakes, and this should not happen in an integrated team.
Bob Woolmer is a cricket coach. He thinks the future of English cricket will improve. He says they will need to raise their 'intensity levels' but is confident that the talent is there. He is also interested in expanding player's minds. He says that we only use 30% of our brain capacity, and if players can focus and raise this percentage to even 35%, the level of the game will greatly improve.
European Federation of SportsPsychology.
Association for theAdvancement of Applied Sports
Australian Cricket Board.
Australian Instituteof Sport Psychology page.