The issue of mental wellness in high-performance sport should not be taken lightly. While sport and physical activity are important for physical health and wellbeing, the treadmill of international sport can be equally as
The issue of mental wellness in high-performance sport should not be taken lightly. While sport and physical activity are important for physical health and wellbeing, the treadmill of international sport can be equally as detrimental to mental health and wellbeing.
Increasingly, it is seen as crucial to allow athletes and coaches to step away; to recharge their batteries and get alongside people – family and friends – who see you and love you for who you are, not for your professional role.
• Cricket: Fans fuming over Gary Stead's 'pre-planned break' amid Black Caps' horror run
• Cricket: Desertion? Jeremy Coney slams Black Caps coach Gary Stead for skipping ODIs against India
• Cricket: Black Caps coach Gary Stead responds to critics after series sweep at hands of Australia
Even with this in mind, it is difficult to make a case for Black Caps' coach Gary Stead being away from his squad this week.
That the team was struggling was no secret. When Stead took his leave of absence the national side had compiled eight hapless or hopeless losses in a row.
The team was embarrassed in Australia, and the loss of confidence resulting from the 0-3 test series no doubt played a part in the bizarre ways the Black Caps lost games in their T20 whitewash at the hands of India.
Stead too, was clearly struggling. The strategic direction has been questioned, as have selections. Rumours persist, as they tend to in losing teams, that it is not a happy camp and that Stead is not on the same page as his brilliant captain, Kane Williamson (who has also missed time, through injury, recently).
From a sporting perspective, the coach needed to be with his team to start the one-day series. If his absence was necessary from a health perspective, then New Zealand Cricket needed to do a better job of talking about it and, in the process, normalising it.