Bob Woolmer-A Dream Coach

Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2003, 18:23 [IST]
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Bob Woolmer-A Dream Coach

What is the difference between a bowler's and a batsman's thought process?
In an ideal world the batsman should think of nothing but just watch the ball. The bowler however has to think the batsman out and at the same time remain in a concentrated state so that his action remains smooth so he can deliver what he is thinking. The bowler asks the questions the batsman has to make the correct answer.

How do you teach mental skills to cricketers?
Repetition, experience,! By learning the hard way. Using a sports psychologist, by relating experiences. The bottom line the mental skills come at a young age. Determination, never giving up, these are genetic traits. They can be learnt as you would any skill. As I said by repetition.

Are reflexes in-born or can they be developed?
Some children have better reflexes than others at a younger age but in general, if there is co-ordination it can be improved.

Physical fitness, mental strength and cricket skills - what would be the required proportions in your view?
The stronger the body the stronger the mind the fitter the body the more one can practice the more one can practice the better the skill levels. It is a never-ending loop! The proportions are equal.

What are the coaching / training aids you would advise?
Coaching takes place through Reading (eyes), Listening (Ears), Understanding (Brain) Watching (copying), Repetition, practice. The digital video camera has short-circuited a lot of the above. The use of computer technology will outline the problems but the answer lies within the player. Bowling machines, slip-catching cradles are all a help but video technology has revolutionized coaching. Some of the many myths of the past have been exposed and some have been confirmed.

What do you think separates the Aussies from the rest?
Understanding that working together towards one goal gets them there quicker than bickering about how to spend money. They have set their goal to be the best have identified how and spent the money making themselves the best.

Your advise for up and coming cricketers
Always think you can get better, always enjoy the game, always be humble in victory and defeat and always want to be part of the game.

Your message to the coaches
Simple. We are custodians of the game for this generation. We must pass on all the correct messages and knowledge of the game so that the next generation can pass it on again so that the game stays strong and lives forever.

Well. That was Bob Woolmer answering all the intriguing questions. He comes straight and simple. I guess this is the secret of his success. His simplicity proclaims his greatness. There have been many coaches and more will come along, but the coach who helps a budding talent realize his potential and helps him enjoy the game should be deemed as a dream coach. And I guess I found BOB WOOLMER to be just that.

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