NEW DELHI: Former India skipper MS Dhoni feels players in the country still hesitate to simply accept that they have some weakness when it involves mental health and that is why a mental conditioning coach should constantly be with the team.
"In India, I feel there's still a giant issue of accepting that there's some weakness when it involves 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 during a session conducted by MFORE.
"Nobody really says that, once 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 deal with that?
"This may be a small problem but tons of times we hesitate to mention it to a coach and that is why the connection between a player and coach is extremely important to be it any sport," he added.
Highlighting the importance of mental conditioning coach, the 38-year-old said: "Mental conditioning coach shouldn't be the one who comes for 15 days, because once you come for 15 days, you're only sharing the experience."
"If the mental conditioning coach is consistent with the player, he can understand what are the areas which are affecting his sport."
Speaking on how players can overcome difficult situations through mind skill training, current India skipper Virat Kohli said: "I think psychological state and mental clarity is the most vital factor in life; not just in sports."
MORE is a non-profit initiative launched by former Indian batsman S Badrinath alongside Saravana Kumar aimed towards offering mind conditioning programs to attain peak performance in sports.
"Badrinath and MFORE helping these cricketers will go a long way in them understanding themselves better and going out there and performing despite the conditions and situations being difficult for them," Kohli said.
Badrinath's former Tamil Nadu teammate, Ravichandran Ashwin also spoke about the MFORE initiative and said: "It's a rare initiative on Badri's behalf. a great deal of individuals address skills, discuss the mental aspect of the sport. But nobody can really put a roadmap and say what really a cricketer needs mentally.
"How are you able to disconnect the mind when you' 're playing? These are things that are crucial for any athlete. Your mind constantly cross-questions you and offers negative vibes from inside which is simply natural.
"So, to be able to create a platform for such people to ask for assistance is a tremendous initiative. I urge people to be more honest about themselves and understand that they need help. Understanding and asking for help by itself is incredibly courageous," he added.
MORE has partnered with Star Sports to launch a series called 'MIND MASTERS by MFORE' on Star Sports 1 Tamil starting this Sunday. The five-episode series will feature top sports personalities interacting with Badrinath on the importance of mind training and mental toughness in sports.