World-renowned physiotherapist John Gloster, who has been working with the Abu Dhabi T10 team Delhi Bulls for the last five seasons, believes that the players’ mental health needs to be given as much importance as the physical health for better performance on the field.
A former physio for the Indian cricket team, John Gloster told Abu Dhabi T10 about the pressure of the changing work environments and how he helps players recover from the bio bubble blues.
“A lot of these players have come straight out of the World Cup and the IPL… Managing mental health has become more critical now. We realise how little effort we put into managing the mental side of the game,” Gloster said.
Although Gloster’s field of expertise is focused on physical health, the shift in the way players, teams and tournaments function due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced him to upgrade his abilities too.
“The role of the medical staff has grown incredibly over the last two years because of the COVID factor.
“To work as a physio and sports medicine specialist in this format, you need to have a more holistic skill set, encompassing mental health, team environment and working on understanding the player a lot more.”
So, apart from providing top-class physical treatment, John Gloster fosters a positive environment in the bio-bubble by taking care of fine details in the hotel, where players spend most of their time.
“The hotels we choose, the facilities players have access to, the food, the chef – these are really important in how we manage our cricketers better.”
Food for thought
Food, according to John, is a major player in the mental health of a cricketer in a bio-bubble.
“Sometimes you are in a bio bubble for up to three months at a time and if something as simple as food cannot be addressed, then you have lost the players from day one.
“Because there is no other escape, players can’t go to a local restaurant, can’t go for a movie. For many of them, that escape is food and the comfort from that.
“The cultural relationship particularly the Asian players have with food… So, it’s important that we can provide food from north India or Kerala or Gujarati food or Rajasthani food, all in the hotel,” said Gloster, who has worked with athletes, including Olympians, from across the world.
Food, however, isn’t the only thing that helps keep the players on top of their game during the long stay in hotels.
A bigger room, a balcony for access to fresh air, access to a swimming pool 24 hours a day are the little things that help bring out the best from players.
“These environments are more conducive to positive mental health outcomes and therefore better performance outcomes,” he asserted.
“I want them to leave my bio bubble saying ‘wow! that is one of the best bubble experiences we have had’.”