S. Badrinath launches MFORE to improve mind skills

Former India and Chennai Super Kings batsman S. Badrinath feels the mental conditioning initiative will help athletes come out better post COVID-19.

Former India and CSK cricketer Subramaniam Badrinath feels his enterprise MFORE will help athletes come out better post the COVID-19 crisis.

Former India and CSK cricketer Subramaniam Badrinath feels his enterprise MFORE will help athletes come out better post the COVID-19 crisis.   -  V. Ganesan

Former India batsman S. Badrinath and Saravana Kumar have launched MFORE — a non-profit initiative offering mind skill training to athletes and the stakeholders in the sports ecosystem.

He feels the enterprise will help athletes come out better post the COVID-19 crisis. They are starting with online lessons but later, there could be an office space.

“[If] a golfer wants our sports psychologist to be with him throughout the four-day tournament, we will do that. But now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is going to start with online sessions. We have a website, mfore.in, and any athlete or any team can go and access that for details. We will straight away get in touch to talk about their needs.”

“They can ask questions and ethically, we won’t share who we are working with and how we are working with that athlete. Every month, we will do at least two webinars to create awareness which will help the athletes, family, the coaches and the entire sporting fraternity who are upset sitting at home at present and not feeling motivated enough. They are going through anxiety,” Badrinath told Sportstar in a Zoom session on Thursday.

Coaching after lockdown

Badrinath’s team wants to attend practice sessions of athletes to study their methods. “We can see how they are preparing and then, we will design a program. We will give them challenges and then, the reports to the players, as to who is best suited to handle the situation. We will be able to watch and provide information in one-on-one sessions,” he said.

The idea occurred to him while playing golf with a friend. “I realised I had played a poor shot. I knew I had the skill-sets to play the right shot but my mind was weaving stories about a tree in front and the water. It was telling me things that was not needed. Mind is so powerful that it can take over yourself, so you need to train it properly,” said Badrinath, agreeing that he could have been a better cricketer had he known these a decade ago.

“I had to work hard to earn my dues. I was not a naturally-gifted cricketer. Complete awareness of the self is very important. There is a saying that if a man is hungry, you need not feed him a fish but you have to teach him how to fish better, said the right-hander, who played the IPL for Chennai Super Kings.

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Talking about the importance of mental conditioning in cricket across formats, he said, “You are going to be nervous in the first 10 balls, not only me, it happens to M.S. Dhoni, happens to Virat Kohli but you need to handle it. You need to understand the emotion that goes through you. For me, it could be not talking to my father also. He wants me to play well but I may not be talking to him the day before the match. It is a small thing but it can make a huge difference.”

“In Test cricket, the mind plays differently. You need to be aware of the conditions, wicket, which bowler will bowl at what time, where your off-stump is from a batsman’s point of view. A bowler will be bowling 20 overs a day; he needs to manage his spells. After the tea session, the conditions change and a bowler may feel like it is his turn to bowl in full boom.”

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Badrinath said that a player must forget failures and move on in T20 cricket. "You need to react faster. The plan changes with ever ball and every match. You may have got out for a duck, but you have to close that thought and move to the next venue. You have to get used to hitting the ball in the air, get the body used to it and not worry about getting out. What positions you can pick those shots from and from where you can pick the yorkers," he said.

He wants the IPL to happen if there is any window. "It is a challenging time for all players who were supposed to play, they would have had goals, use IPL as a platform to perform and go further. It is time to reassess goals, clean the slate and realise that the whole world is standing still," said Badrinath.

Star Sports 1 Tamil will launch a new show 'Mind Masters by MFORE' on May 10

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