Watson: Players need mental support


Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson says there is a growing need for players to have more support behind the scenes, especially if they are being criticised in the media or going through a slump.

Watson feels that players are increasingly exposed to negative comments, online and elsewhere, and that it would have helped him a lot to have someone to talk to about that, especially as he was injured so often.

Watson said on the CA website: "One of the things I really want to do now that my playing days are finishing up is, I think sports people, and cricketers especially, are left on their own too much.

"The coaches are there a bit, but you've got to try and find somebody who's been through similar things to you and they can relate to exactly what you're going through, to normalise it a bit more and also help you with some extra information that they might be able to give you that might make it easier to get through those periods of time.

"Through my experience you're left to your own devices to deal with it as well as you can. I tried to do it the best that I could, but if there was someone who had been along similar lines to what I'd been through, and it didn't have to be cricket, it could have been other sports or walks of life, but could have helped me navigate my way through it a bit easier, that would have made a huge difference.

"That's something that I want to get into now that my playing days are finishing up."

Watson said that some of his worst times were when he was injured, because there was a heavy backlash against him when he got his place back over and over, with critics feeling he was not consistent enough.

He said of those times: "In the end the biggest battle was always within myself to try and get fit. That was the hardest part because I hated not playing.

"But what came of that was all the public feedback and everything that I'd get quite consistently, whether it was written in the media or just (what) the general public would relay back to me.

"In the end I dealt with it as well as I possibly could with the mechanisms and the support networks I had around me.

"Sometimes I didn't deal with it that well, internally, in and around my family. I absorbed it as well as I possibly could."