The former mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton of the Team India has termed the cricketer turned politician Gautam Gambhir as “mentally the most insecure” that still didn’t deter him from becoming one of India’s most successful batsmen during his time.
In his book ‘The Barefoot Coach’, Paddy Upton discussed the myth of mental toughness of elite sportsperson and how they react to situations.
In the book Upton has said that he did work with Gambhir during the time he was named Test cricketer of the year but that has little to do with the work Upton did.
“I did some of my best and least effective mental conditioning work with Gautam Gambhir, the International Test Cricketer of the Year’ in 2009. I worked with him up until that time but I had little to do with him being named world’s best cricketer,” Upton has written in his book.
In the book Upton recalled how the left-handed opener would be in “agony” even after scoring a hundred and stressing more on the mistakes he might have made.
Upton termed Gautam as someone who was wired towards the lower end of the optimism/pessimism scale if 100 stands for “uber-optimistic” and 0 stood for pessimistic.
“Let’s say his range was 20 to 40 with 30 being normal. When he scored 150, he would be disappointed in not scoring 200.” Upton wrote that no matter what he and then coach Gary Kirsten did Gambhir was “negative and pessimistic.” Upton then explained the contradiction and myth associated with mental toughness.
“Using popular notion of mental toughness, he was one of the weakest and mentally most insecure’ people I have worked with.
“But at the same time, he was undoubtedly one of the best and most determined and successful Test batsmen in the world. Something he would prove yet again in 2011 World Cup final.” Upton then explained that positive self talk, which is “a pillar or sub-component of mental toughness — It would work for about 50 percent of them, those who are lucky enough to be wired on the optimistic side of the scale.”