A doctor's advice on questions of sport

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Today I am glad to welcome Dr Zeus Cordwainer, the controversial sports psychologist, to answer all your questions on sport and sports behaviour.

Could you please explain the function of a sports psychologist?

Dr Cordwainer writes: Surely. It is our function to advise, to motivate and to run on the pitch with the trainer.


Dr Cordwainer writes: You must have noticed these days that when a man is injured on the playing-field, very often two people come on to deal with the player. One is the physio, with the spray-on painkiller - and the other is the sports psychologist, or what the players call the psycho.

What does he do?

Dr Cordwainer writes: I whisper little things in his ear.

Like what?

Dr Cordwainer writes: Well, take last Saturday's rugby match, England v Ireland, for instance. When Will Carling twisted his ankle, the real reason he had a twisted ankle ...

Hold on! The real reason he had a twisted ankle was that he fell on a patch of soft turf!

Dr Cordwainer writes: No, my friend. If that were so, many more players would have had twisted ankles. No, the real reason he twisted his ankle and only Will Carling, not anybody else, twisted his ankle, was that he was afraid to shake hands with a member of the Royal Family afterwards.


Dr Cordwainer writes: Oh, for various reasons. Anyway, I went on the pitch and whispered a few words in his ear.

It didn't work, did it? I mean, he was stretchered off, wasn't he?

Dr Cordwainer writes: That was my advice, actually: "Why don't you get carried off and let someone better take over?" And he took it.

Do you think Frank Bruno would have benefited from your help?

Dr Cordwainer writes: Ah, but he did! I was there for the fight! I flew out straight from Twickenham to Las Vegas to advise Frank.

I didn't see the fight myself, but I gather from the press that he was a little overwhelmed.

Dr Cordwainer writes: You may have read the British press, but you should have read what they said in the American papers. Michael Wilson in the Washington Post, for example, wrote: "Bruno's performance was as fraudulent, pathetic, and disgusting as anything the heavyweight division has seen short of taking an out-and-out dive ... He was terrified. His strategy was to throw one patsy little punch like a kid in a schoolyard brawl, then cover up ... If he was that scared of the man, he shouldn't have gotten in the ring."

Gosh. That's bad. I wonder why Bruno was like that.

Dr Cordwainer writes: Because I advised him to.


Dr Cordwainer writes: To get the fight over with sooner and avoid unnecessary punishment.

Is that always your advice?

Dr Cordwainer writes: To British teams and competitors, yes.

So, who else have you been advising recently?

Dr Cordwainer writes: Well, the English cricket team against Sri Lanka. Nottingham Forest against Bayern Munich ...

I am beginning to understand ...

Dr Cordwainer writes: Oh, and Jonah Lomu ...

Jonah Lomu? The New Zealand rugby player? What has he been doing?

Dr Cordwainer writes: He's been getting married.

And he needed your help for that?

Dr Cordwainer writes: Didn't you read about it in yesterday's Independent? He was getting married, but was afraid that if his mother found out about it, she would try to stop the wedding.

Jonah Lomu was scared of his mum?

Dr Cordwainer writes: You've got it. So I advised him to get married in secret and not ask her. And he did.

So your advice to all sportsmen, regardless of circumstances, is to take the easy way out.

Dr Cordwainer writes: Yes. And quit sport altogether if possible. Why should Frank Bruno go on being a fading frightened boxer when he's got a flourishing panto and TV career beckoning? What has Will Carling got to gain? Why does English football pretend to be in the same league as Europe? Why is Terry Venables on a hiding to nothing ...?

Do YOU need help trying to give up sport? Just get in touch with Dr Cordwainer!