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Sports psychologist to help Bermuda in World Cup quest - The Royal Gazette

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BCB Interview: Cal Blankendal and Arnold Manders (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Cricket Board is sparing no effort in their quest to qualify for the 2024 T20 World Cup.

fifteen days ago, The Royal Gazette revealed that a fitness program has been introduced by new head coach Niraj Odedra, but it’s not just the physical side of the players’ game that is being worked on with a leading sports psychologist brought in island to help them focus on the mental side of the game.

Dr. David Scott is an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada with a particular focus on using psychological strategies to improve athletic performance. In recent years, he has published 15 articles in psychology journals and given 30 national and international conferences. He also works with the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League.

BCB Chairman Arnold Manders and Executive Director Cal Blankendal are delighted to have retained Scott’s services and look forward to his arrival next month.

“He’s highly respected and is a sports psychologist with one of the top professional hockey teams in Canada,” Blankendal said.

“He also worked with Cricket West Indies in 2016 and they were successful in that time. The reason we’re bringing him in isn’t just for on-the-job training. In our culture, which is very small and we all know each other, we are used to saying things to each other, we can accept it and move on.

“In an international match there is no tomorrow, so if you are not focused and you lose a hold, we have to bring that mental toughness. We have the talent, we have the players, we have the will and finances, but it’s not all about the individual, it’s about the team.

Sports psychologist Dr David Scott will help the Bermuda cricket team

This is where the sports psychologist comes in not only to get into the minds of the players but also of the coaches and to educate us all. We want to raise the profile of the sport, but sometimes we need people outside of Bermuda to give us that information. We need them because gamers will gravitate online and they’ll see this guy has worked with some of the best professional gamers and will listen to him.

An incident in Antigua last year during a game against the United States left some Bermuda players with ICC demerit points and Manders is keen to point out the difference a sports psychologist can make.

“We all have to work on ourselves and it wasn’t as bad as things were supposed to be,” Manders said.

“The American players were provoking and pushing but instead of reacting, if you bowl, throw them, if you hit, keep hitting and smash them. Every time they react badly, one of them goes out or they let go of a hold and lose focus.

Bermuda are the smallest country to qualify for a Cricket World Cup after taking part in the 2007 tournament in the West Indies, but a drop in funding combined with disappointing results made it almost impossible to reach that level again according to Manders .

“The country is only 60,000 people strong and it was a great achievement to qualify and we’ve punched well above our weight already,” Manders said.

“The problem is we didn’t have that durability because most of the guys retired after that and the young players weren’t at that level. We’re rebuilding but when you run out of funds you can’t prepare. properly.

“We are no longer one of the top associates so we are not getting high profile funding. After 2007 we received $800,000 from the government, now we receive $100,000. It’s not blaming them, it’s just the way the economy is. We can’t play any games at home because the pitch at the national stadium is not suitable so when we fire our team the government will pay the government employees but a lot of our money goes to paying the players for travel rather than youth programs.

The International Cricket Council is a poor cousin to football’s governing body Fifa, which has revealed it expects to make $11 billion in the next four-year World Cup cycle, with big revenue paid to some of Bermuda’s premier league clubs, but cricket is not so lucky.

“Take the money that North Village got for their new lights, it’s all from Fifa,” Manders said. “It’s a Bermuda Premier League club, an amateur league. They got $875,000 just to put up lights and we get $410,000 to run all of our programs. We’re running a national program halfway through. cost of a football club’s lights. It’s a challenge.”

But that challenge is one that Blankendal and Manders are tackling head-on with a do-or-die approach to World Cup qualification. Bermuda’s task looks easier on paper with the United States already qualified as hosts and the final qualifying leg set to be hosted at home.

“We’re putting all our eggs in one basket because now it’s easier to win,” Manders said.

“We are shooting from all sources and there are developments that we are postponing because we have the perfect opportunity. I know the players we have can do it with the right training and now they have a good coach.

“If they work and get games under their belt, we can beat Canada and get to the World Cup. I know that for sure. Now we just have to win a group. Before that, we might get out of the Americas and have to win another world one.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Manders, Blankendal and Odedra have big plans and pull in all their resources and they support their players to produce when it counts.

“They have talent and I think we have to give the players credit,” said Blankendal.

“Sometimes players are told they won’t or they can’t and lack pride but these guys work 9-5 and then potentially do four nights of physical training now with no compensation for it .

“They have pride, but they have lives and they have mortgages and they always put themselves forward for the country, so they need respect and admiration.”