Sportsmen are human beings too: Coach
MOOLOOLABA performance coach Bo Hanson says cricketer Phillip Hughes's death is a reminder that elite sportspeople are human beings and not immune to the emotional impact of tragedy, grief and shock.
The four-time Olympic rower operates Athlete Assessments with wife Liz, helping coaches and athletes perform at their best.
The pair works across 24 different sports, including with teams in the NRL and AFL and others overseas.
He said the nation's professional cricketers would be feeling precisely the same emotions as ordinary people in the wake of the 25-year-old's untimely death.
"There's always a level of shock when something tragic happens like this," he said.
"Then there is denial, not believing it. Then they'll be thinking about themselves and how it could happen to them as well.
"But part of coming to terms with it is knowing you can't change it, and then they get to the point where they can start to move on and refocus on the future."
Mr Hanson said players lining up for the first Test against India next Tuesday would be feeling heightened emotion in the circumstances, but he doubted that would affect their performance.
"Given they are professional athletes, I would expect they have some quality coping mechanisms, a good coaching staff as well as their own family and friends," he said.
"Eventually they will come to terms with it and put in a performance on the field that makes themselves, the nation and Phillip proud. As a group, they can support each other and do something special for Phillip.
"The general public would like to see them galvanise and produce something significant, but it also puts cricket and sport in perspective. This has shown there are more important things in life - relationships and the people around you are the critical elements here.
"There may be a level of apprehension on both sides, whether they are batting or bowling, but one of the key things you know as an athlete is when you hold back, you lose that focus.
"You learn when you are not fully consumed in the moment and your mind is not on the job, you may jeopardise your performance."
Mr Hanson has had experience working with teams after tragedy.
"They are in a fortunate position in as much as they have this strong group of people around them who are all on the same page and wanting to support each other," he said, adding the best way to deal with it was talk about it.
"Pay attention to people you work with and your family and be a bit more alert to the cues if they are stuck in those emotional states where they are finding it hard to move on."