Athletes are known to be some of the most rigorously conditioned people on the planet. However, this does not exclude them from the many effects of nature on our physical and mental health.
Chennai Super Kings faced a recent loss in the 13th season of the IPL where fan favourite player MS Dhoni was unable to perform at his peak. This led to severe criticism on his capacity as a player. However, there are many factors involved that can affect a player’s fitness during a critical match.
Weather and Location
A player playing in his home ground versus the same player in a foreign atmosphere can completely change the outcome of any match. The IPL is currently held in UAE, which is known to have soaring temperatures. Though an athlete, as experienced as Dhoni, is well aware of his abilities and the need for hydration, empty stadiums and the impact of the pandemic on athletes has shaken the sports world. This can reflect in with a dip in mental and physical performance for athletes where they might not be able to perform well due to foreign atmospheres and lack of proper support such as cheering fans. Weather conditions were also new to Dhoni, who mentioned having a dry throat after the match.
Fitness and Capability
The lockdown resulted in everyone staying indoors. Athletes did not have the fullest of facilities to train, and despite home training being continued by many coaches, it does not replicate in the same atmosphere. Cricket being a team sport, it can have better fitness results when athletes train in a certain environment. Training together in a team sport leads to higher motivation, which was absent due to the pandemic. Despite athletes being able to afford extensive training, the need for a proper training environment replete with a coach and other team members is very important for an athlete. Mental training also plays an important role which can be done better in person, similar to physical training.
A veteran athlete like Dhoni has shown the world of cricket many records and is still considered as one of the best captains that the Indian cricket team has seen. However, age may catch up to an athlete eventually. Though this does not mean that the athlete stops participating in the very game they are passionate about, this leads to a good opportunity where the best in the game can teach the next generation. Handing over the ropes and teaching the next generation gives the player a different perspective as a coach and still contribute to the game in a major way. The level of testosterone in the human body declines with age, which is a very important hormone present in both men and women. Fighting the effects of aging does not result in a victory; however, an athlete can make a big difference by passing on the torch to an athlete who is at his prime and can make a big difference to the outcome of a game.