Call me a dinosaur but I'm with Martin Crowe all the way over his lambasting of Leading Teams involvement with the Black Caps.
Filling out forms, evaluating your peers and touchy-feely discussions about how your inner self is doing will not erase the one simple fact about sport: hard work and fundamentals never die.
Why do we treat psycho-babble people differently from actual players and coaches if the aim is to win, to produce results?
If a player doesn't perform he gets dropped and if a coach doesn't perform he gets the axe (except Graham Henry). So how many World Cup trophies has Gilbert Enoka produced for the All Blacks? And likewise the Black Caps under the tutelage of Leading Teams?
Why do these wacky people get to hang around? Why don't they have to justify their results or lack of?
What the Black Caps need is Mark Richardson. I rarely sit up and take notice of New Zealand sports commentators because most of them are merely TV personalities. They only know what someone else has told them and very few have ever worn a jock.
But, the other night on The Crowd Goes Wild Richardson poured withering scorn on the batting efforts of the Black Caps in their second test against Australia. He actually called them crap, bemoaning the fact that now New Zealand is ranked eighth only ahead of one team that shouldn't be ranked as a test country in the first place. It could be worse if not for the fact Zimbabwe is no longer a test country after having every decent cricketer chased away by a sadistic dictator.
In other words New Zealand found themselves at the bottom of the heap.
And then Richardson did something I rarely ever see on television: he actually used the medium (pictures) to explain several points on batting technique he showed what they did correctly and then showed footage of incredibly crap technique (his words) and plainly shouted with passion that it wasn't good enough because it was "batting 101" and that the Black Caps were in reality just slack.
Every athlete no matter what his level must work on the basics, the fundamentals. There's no better example than Tiger Woods who at one point completely changed the fundamentals of his swing in order to get better.
It takes determination, persistence and hard work actions speak volumes and all the coddling in the world won't enhance your technique.
I played basketball for a tough son-of-a-bitch in the United States who benched me when I was the captain.
My response was to play harder. I smashed my team-mates around in practice like tenpins at a bowling alley.
The next week I was back starting and asked my coach what that was all about. He smiled and said that through my actions I taught the younger players on the team that you don't quit when things don't go your way.
I've always remembered that lesson because he didn't try to soften the blow when he dropped me with a lot of nice fuzzy warm words he expected me to act like the leader I was.
Maybe it's time to kick out all those head doctors who have no real athletic experience so the cricketers can forget all the pyscho-babble being sprayed around and actually get on with working on the techniques needed to be better players.
- © Fairfax NZ News