If you have skills, you don't need psychologists: Proteas coach Russell Domingo

Unruffled by the 'chokers' tag given to South Africa for their tendency to crumble under pressure, Proteas cricket coach Russell Domingo said his team does not need a sports psychologist as good skill-sets will be enough for the players to handle crunch situations.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 19, 2015, 15:01 PM IST
If you have skills, you don't need psychologists: Proteas coach Russell Domingo

Melbourne: Unruffled by the 'chokers' tag given to South Africa for their tendency to crumble under pressure, Proteas cricket coach Russell Domingo said his team does not need a sports psychologist as good skill-sets will be enough for the players to handle crunch situations.

"In my year-and-half as a coach, we haven't had a psychologist for the past 8-9 months. I wouldn't say we have had psychologists travelling with us all this time. Paddy (Upton) was more of a life-coach. He was not qualified sports psychologist as such," Domingo said ahead of his team's World Cup match against India on Sunday.

"I am a firm believer in having proper skills. I believe that if you have your skills, you will be in a mentally good space to execute under pressure. It can never be the other way round. You can be mentally strong and have bad skills but that won't get you success," said the 40-year-old in his assessment of the issue.

"The thing that you need to be mentally strong is good skill-set. If we can do the good things with bat, ball and on the field continuously, I believe we will come good in tough situations."
Talk about South Africa and the 'chokers' tag attached to the side since the 1992 edition is always a topic of discussion. Domingo is aware but gives little importance to that.

"In every series, that we have played recently, we have had some mention of World Cup coming up in few months time. Whether playing Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka or Pakistan in Dubai, there has always been a subtle mention of World Cup questions. So we have started dealing every match as a pressure match," he said.

"There was one series against Pakistan where were down 1-2 and we treated the next two matches as World Cup quarter-final and semi-final games," he reasoned.

Domingo said that Mike Hussey and Gary Kirsten's presence in the support staff has been inspirational but at the same time the duo have not imposed their thoughts on him or other players.

"Gary and Mike are good people and they come across as professionals. They don't impose themselves and respect you about the space and don't try and flood information into players," Domingo said.

"Gary is an experienced coach and knows when to give information and when not to pass on any information. They understand what input they need to give. It is only second day for three of us together and I don't expect we will give five hundreds at the start. But their experience helps as inspiration," the coach reasoned.

He praised Hussey's approach towards the role of a consultant.

"His presence itself is a big plus for us. He has won the World Cup as a player and been through pressure situations. He has played under these conditions for a long period of time. His presence alone will serve as a big form of motivation to our players.

"Hussey is known as a thoughtful cricketer and he plans his game meticulously. Hopefully, he can pass on his experience to our players. Mental preparation or tactical strategy, thinking under certain conditions, he has a lot of expertise."

Domingo feels that having the players' families around will be a "welcome distraction for the players in a big event like World Cup."

"The amount of time which you spend outside home can only benefit you as a professional. But then just training and going back to your hotel rooms, thinking about the game can mentally drain you out.
Rather a quiet dinner with wife, having kids around can be a good distraction as it keeps your mind off from pressures of the game," said Domingo.