Former Indian mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton on Friday pleaded with sports agencies around the world, including the BCCI, to conduct extensive studies and prevent athletes from developing mental illness as a result of prolonged stay in bio-secured bubbles. Living in a biobubble has become the new norm for international athletes after sporting activities resumed during the COVID-19 pandemic and several cricketers, footballers and tennis players have spoken about the issue of mental health in a world scarred by the health crisis.
Upton said the governing bodies of sports aren’t doing enough research to address the problem.
“Because we haven’t done enough research to get feedback from different players – what were their unique challenges – all of these medical people have said that we can’t approve this drug and that drug until we do the trials, but we have the research collected?
“There are a lot of bio bubbles around the world, but I haven’t seen a large-scale intervention where the ICC, badminton boys, football players or BCCI say we need to do a comprehensive study to get feedback from players to understand the dynamics.” Upton said.
“I don’t think we have seen the consequences yet. There is a possibility that we will see more consequences with more mental problems and illness because of the extensive biobubble.
“I think some of them are preventable, but we’re not doing everything we can to prevent them, so we have to wait for that to happen, which is a shame for the athletes.”
Upton said that while extroverts seem to be more bothered by the limitations of living in a biobubble, it depends on many factors that need research.
“When players are left alone, your mind goes all over the world. When you have the discipline to find a good distraction or when you get caught up in fear and emptiness, extroverts struggle more in a biobubble because they need people. have, introverts are happy in their own space, ”he said.
Young players who are grateful to have played in a tournament like IPL early in their career bring enthusiasm and navigate the bio bubble with ease. But older players who are used to traveling, have families, introverted or extroverted, They really are struggling It’s so much harder.
“Even if a young player is new to a team that is not integrated, it becomes more difficult to integrate and some young people have had very lonely experiences because each person is in survival mode, so there are a number of factors.”
Upton cited battle legend Rahul Dravid’s example to emphasize how a positive culture can help young people achieve success.
“The culture around an athlete has the strongest influence on a player’s mind. That system and environment are constantly influencing their behavior and it is created as a result of how senior leaders manage and behave themselves,” he said.
“So if you have a coach and captain who screams and screams and gets disappointed when someone makes a mistake, I’ll show you a team filled with performance anxiety.
Major hitter Dravid received high praise for tending the next generation of players, including Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant, who recently played a pivotal role in the 2-1 Test Series victory in Australia.
“For someone like (Dravid) who doesn’t get mad about mistakes, he allows mistakes and really frees the minds of the players to express and perform and when they make mistakes, have a good conversation so there is equanimity and calmness, ”he said.
And that’s what then conditions the minds of those players. We saw in the last test match (in Brisbane) these youngsters get into high pressure situations, I think the fact that they got through Dravid is a big part of their success. is. “
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