By Neto Baptiste
Although physical training is important, one former internal cricketer and coach, Kenneth “Flipper” Benjamin, believes that not enough focus is placed on developing the mental capabilities of athletes both here in Antigua and across the region.
“I think it is overlooked because when people hear mental they think you’re talking about psychologist and books and so on, but that is not it at all, the game itself is mental. There are so many talented athletes that we have seen in Antigua like the Daryll Greenaway, John Pope, the player [footballer] Kim [Kimoy Alexander] from Swetes, and so on, and you don’t’ want better athletes anywhere in the world so why is it that if they were such good athletes they didn’t make it. Obviously, the mental part of it just wants to be developed and paid attention to,” he said.
Benjamin, a former West Indies fast bowler and current coach of the successful Liberta Blackhawks cricket team, adds that there are signs of mental weaknesses in the everyday routine of most players and that they are often missed or overlooked by most.
“At the end of the day the game is 98 percent mental because everything that you do is mental and if you are not mentally strong you are not going to know how to deal with certain situations. We have a lot of talented young athletes in all sports across the country and across the Caribbean but if we don’t develop that mental capacity because mentally tough starts from training which is very early,” he said.
“The ability to get up and go to training on time, the ability to go to training and your intensity is high,, the ability to follow the plan and all of that is mental and when people don’t go to training because they just don’t feel like it and so on, it is being mentally weak,” he added.
Benjamin, a former right arm fast bowler, played 26 Tests ad 26 One Day International matches for the senior West Indies team. He claimed 92 wickets in Tests and 33 ODI scalps.