India wicketkeeper-batsman and former skipper MS Dhoni feels that players in India shy away from discussing mental weakness related issues and in the country, such problems are termed as mental illness.
“In India, I feel there is still a big issue of accepting that there is some weakness when it comes to the mental aspects, but we generally term it as mental illness,” Dhoni said while sharing his experiences with top coaches from various sports, including cricket, volleyball, tennis and golf in a session conducted by MFORE.
The former India skipper believes the relationship between a player and coach is very important as it helps the player to talk freely about his fears and come to a solution.
“Nobody really says that, when I go to bat, the first 5 to 10 deliveries my heart rate is elevated, I feel the pressure, I feel a bit scared because that’s how everybody feels – how to cope with that?
“This is a small problem but a lot of times we hesitate to say it to a coach and that’s why the relationship between a player and coach is very important be it any sport,” he said.
Stressing on the importance of a mentor, the 38-year-old said that the mental conditioning coach should constantly be with the team.
Highlighting the importance of a mental conditioning coach, Dhoni said: “Mental conditioning coach should not be the one who comes for 15 days, because when you come for 15 days you are only sharing the experience.
“If the mental conditioning coach is constantly with the player, he can understand what are the areas which are affecting his sport,” Dhoni, who led Chennai Super Kings captain to three IPL titles, said.
India skipper Virat Kohli was quoted as saying that mental clarity was important in life.
“I think mental health and mental clarity is the most important factor in life; not just in sports,” he said.