England players warned over mobile phones before Six Nations begins

Dr Calder and Ernie Els
Dr Calder has also worked in other sporting fields, such as golf with fellow South African Ernie Els
Six Nations 2017
Dates: 4 Feb-18 March Coverage: BBC TV, Radio and online

England rugby union players have been asked to cut down their use of mobile phones and warned their ability to concentrate has "deteriorated".

Sports scientist Dr Sherylle Calder has been brought in by England head coach Eddie Jones as the team's visual awareness coach.

Asked if rugby players use mobile phones too much, she told BBC Radio 5 live: "Yes they do, we all do don't we?

"And elite players more than others because they have more spare time."

Dr Calder worked with the World Cup-winning England squad in 2003 and her native South Africa, who won the 2007 event.

She has also worked in numerous other sports including with professional footballers, golfers and cricketers.

"You're really looking in onto a small little screen," she added. "If you think about what they do on this huge field, having to make decisions on what they see, it's not ideal to do that.

"You're losing awareness and we really live in an age of distractions. One of the skills that is really deteriorating is the ability to concentrate and that's probably one of the first skills any coach asks of a player; make sure you concentrate in the first five minutes of a game.

"Because we're in distraction mode all the time and the phone has a role to play in that, that ability to concentrate has deteriorated."

England's Six Nations campaign begins against France on 4 February and Dr Calder has asked players not to use the mobile phone as much, adding: "We would advise them closer to competition on what they should be doing, what habits and behaviours to have.

"The science offers quite a lot of knowledge in that respect."

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