Sachin Tendulkar: The Preparation and the Focus

Successive coaches/ physios/ trainers learnt to let him be, not interfere, because Sachin's preparation was meticulous, his routine settled.

Updated: November 06, 2013 00:56 IST
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Sachin, a master of his craft, understood his game and body better than anyone else, he knew what worked for him and prepared accordingly. Successive coaches/ physios/ trainers learnt to let him be, not interfere, because Sachin's preparation was meticulous, his routine settled.

On tour, he normally stayed in, kept to the hotel room, preferring music, movies and room service instead of going out for a meal. He ate early, hit the bed in time to get enough sleep but admitted to anxiety and nervousness ahead of every game.

His practise routine varied, depending on he felt about his batting. Not one to hit hundreds of balls or bat for hours in a net he opted for focussed training, working specifically on aspects that needed fine tuning. During the six week 2003 World Cup in South Africa Sachin hardly ever had a net, choosing to knock regularly -- this despite not scoring enough runs. Asked about his methods, he replied: I am batting well, so there is no need to aimlessly hit balls in the net.

The same flexibility extended to physical fitness. Sachin was not hot about gym sessions or lifting weights yet understood the need to look after his body. An Indian physio told me he did have to make a programme for Sachin because there was no need -- he knew exactly what to do.

Sachin's followed a set match-day routine. He would be among the first to board the bus, holding match bat in hand, a light bag slung over his shoulder carrying music and other essentials. Once at the ground, he unpacked his kit bag (which has images of Ganapati, the tricolor and photographs of his kids on the inside flap) taking out his gloves, pads, shoes from polythene covers. His corner of the dressing room was invariably neatly arranged, unlike the untidy clutter seen around other players.

Once settled, he went out to the middle to look at the pitch, carefully walking along it, occasionally running his fingers over the surface to test it for firmness, checking his batting spikes to detect traces of moisture.

After this, the final crucial check as he stands next to the stumps to satisfy himself about the sightscreen. On many occasions, across the world, he got ground authorities scurrying to raise the height at the last minute, and in the process losing prime spectator seating behind the bowler's arm.

After the mandatory warmup drills, a short football or volleyball game, and catching practise he would pick up his bat to play a few gentle cover drives. Satisfied that feet were moving nicely, reassured by ball meeting the middle of his bat, he then receded to the dressing room waiting for the battle to begin.

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