In referring to the choking issue that haunts the South African cricket team, the coach Gary Kirsten spoke about a dark mist that hangs over the team at knock-out tournaments.
On a metaphoric level the image of a dark mist refers to the restriction of vision and sight. It points to the team not having any clarity or insights when dealing with the pressures in these knock-out tournaments. In addition, the image also refers to the inability and despondency of the leadership since they themselves do not know where to look in order to resolve the problem. So drawing a rather blunt conclusion; the side and its management feel blind when dealing with the unpredictability of tournament play.
I have previously written about the team having to deal with a self-fulfilling prophecy as the choking experiences over time, build up layer upon layer of emotional and mental scarring. This accumulation of painful experiences eventually shuts down the free-flowing energy and information of the team at critical points during competition; to the point where the team feels it can no longer see its way forward in the situation that they find themselves. It cannot see a reality of success! Its vision becomes impaired.
Darkness and mist do not impede movement. They are not solid in nature. But in order to move in mist and darkness you need to trust your own internal navigational system.
Darkness and mist are also transient. In time, darkness eventually turns to light and mist burns off as the sun rises. However, the inability of the team to learn from its past mistakes prevents the team from moving out of this dark misty place. The team is stuck in a time warp. So darkness and mist are experienced as being indefinite and continuous; with no relief and possibility of change.
A new approach is necessary in preparing the team for future tournaments. We need to shine light on all of the fears that exist in the team. Fears exist in those dark unconscious places of our psyche because avoidance, denial and repression continue to feed them. But will the team have the courage to look internally at the fears? I have my doubts. Instead, I anticipate that the leadership will again incorporate hyped up motivation techniques and team-building in their preparations to resolve the choking issue. I believe that these external interventions actually get in the way of the process of honest intimate dialogue that is necessary in the team to resolve their emotional and mental pain. I am also of the view that these motivational interventions will actually intensify the choking issue further since the team gets hyped into up into believing that they can win, when in fact, their unconscious fundamental beliefs may suggest otherwise due to the ongoing historical pain that has occurred over time.