Oz cricketers turn to ex-’Top Gun’ pilots to build up Ashes teamwork

Monday, November 15, 2010

SYDNEY - Australia’s Test cricketers have turned to former “Top Gun” fighter pilots to help build teamwork as they plot Ashes redemption.

The Herald has learnt that Cricket Australia has employed corporate team builders Afterburner, run by former RAAF pilots, to help improve the team’s sometimes fragile dynamic.

Players were put through a series of exercises at the team’s midyear camp in Coolum and again on the recent tour of India.

One initiative adopted by Ricky Ponting’s team - using the model all fighter pilots follow - is a five-minute debrief after play each day “without recriminations”.

This means any player, regardless of pecking order in the side, can express his feelings about that day’s developments and issues within the side. The Herald has also learnt:

CA public affairs manager Peter Young said: “They did a really impressive session at Coolum, and by chance they were in India.’

“It’s not a leadership program. They emphasized the importance of pre-missions, clarity across the whole team, and they emphasized the importance of team debriefing right at the end of the mission when it’s still really clear in everyone’s minds. There is a clarity debrief on exactly what the team expectations are and all the individuals within the team. Then afterwards, they do a very straight, no recriminations, full debrief on how it all went. The Australian team has used it and is quite enthusiastic about the power of the process,” he added.

A spokesman from Afterburner said categories included “task distractions”, where players were briefed on how to eliminate distractions from achieving their main goals, “debrief”, giving everyone, regardless of pecking order in the side, a say, and “flawless execution”. (ANI)

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