Veteran New Zealand Women’s all-rounder, Suzie Bates, has rated cricket as one of the worst sports for mental health on Saturday (October 13).
She further went on to explain that the women's game is continually moving towards professionalism, which has brought different challenges, saying even she realized the drastic changes in her own schedule as compared to the time when she started playing Internationals for the White Ferns in 2006.
Bates told stuff.co.nz, “It is probably one of the worst sports, well I think, for mental health. I think previously in women's cricket that wasn't such a major issue. You have your work life or your uni life, and then you went on tour for maybe three or four weeks then came back into that routine.”
She further added, “Now there is your life with cricket and you are away. Also when you come back you are not necessarily coming back to work and study to get away from it, you are coming back to train again. Cricket has definitely brought a lot more challenges than it used to when I first started to play.”
While explaining about the mental issues brought by a tough schedule, Bates said, “You do, a little bit, just get used to it. Which perhaps isn't always healthy, but I know the first year I played in England I absolutely loved going over to the England summer and playing over there. It was a new environment, a fresh environment. I remember coming home and it was the start of our season and I was like, whoa, I feel like I am at the end of my season and I have got to start again.”
She further added on the same, “I remember the first year I really struggled with that. After the first year, I learned that I had to be a lot better planned with my time off and actually block out times to completely get away from cricket. I don't think I will ever nail it, but I do feel that in the past 18 months I have learned a lot more about how to cope with being a full-time athlete.”
Meanwhile, Bates said that cricket is a mental game, which has an individual aspect to it despite being a team game, and it is bringing out many challenges. She explained, “Just because of the individual aspect to it in a team game. At times when you might have a poor performance and let yourself down and the team down. Once you have made that level there is a lot of mental skill rather than physical skill. You do learn to deal with it but there are some tough times especially when you or your team aren't going well. It is a lot harder to be away then, than when everything is rosy and you are winning.”
Bates signed off by saying, “Sometimes we will get girls who come into that environment at 24 and they have never been exposed to the professional environment because the women's programme isn't like that. So there is kind of a bit of a shock and there is some learning as you go, rather than being ready when you hit that environment. There is a handful of their female players constantly playing around the world and they are starting to realize they need to manage that a bit better as well.”
(Input: Stuff Sport)