For Gagan, it’s all in the mind and Agashe knows it | other | Hindustan Times
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For Gagan, it’s all in the mind and Agashe knows it

This mental trainer has worked magic on Indian marksmen. On Wednesday, after Gagan Narang shot a world record score, those in the know of things started talking about the ace shooter and his mental trainer. Ajai Masand reports

other Updated: Oct 07, 2010 01:11 IST

This mental trainer has worked magic on Indian marksmen. On Wednesday, after Gagan Narang shot a world record score, those in the know of things started talking about the ace shooter and his mental trainer.

For Vaibhav Agashe, training Narang and a host of world-beaters from India, including Ronjan Sodhi, Anisa Sayyed and world champion Tejaswini Sawant among others, is a job to be performed to perfection, lest these special talents go into a downward spiral.

Ask him about Narang and Agashe says how difficult it has been to condition him mentally for the big games. “It's been the most difficult experience to condition Gagan mentally.

He is a very accomplished shooter with special demands. It's easy to train a young,
inexperienced shooter where you can have your way, but in Gagan's case, his mind is like a racing car, designed for high-performance. My job is to oil the machine and it's not an easy job,” said Agashe, who began actively training Gagan after the 2008 Olympics.
Agashe uses his Blackberry as the main tool.

“In his (Gagan's) case, 98-99 per cent of the training is through the Blackberry. It gives you instant access into the mind of the shooter. In the morning before matches, we strategise, evolve themes for conscious thoughts, points to focus on and how to direct one's attention. What Gagan told me in the morning today before competition, I cannot tell you as it is something personal, but I can tell you he was under tremendous pressure.”

Elaborating on his procedures, Agashe said, “There are three basic ways to direct one's mind: Talking to yourself, thinking visually and focussing on the feeling in the muscle parts. Muscles too have memory.”

Welcome to the world of mental training.