• Calder: Smartphones impact on skills

    Dr Sherylle Calder has warned England's Six Nations squad members to spend less time on their mobile phones as she believes it has a negative effect on players' skills and visual awareness.

    The South African visual awareness specialist, who was recently added to England's backroom staff, has worked in various sport codes across the world and says the decline in skill and visual awareness of pro-athletes over the past six years is due to constant staring at mobile screens.

    'We have seen in the last five to six years when we assess elite players in different sports that there is a deterioration in skill and awareness levels,' said Calder, who worked with England's 2003 and South Africa's 2007 World Cup-winning squads respectively.

    'When you look at your phone there are no eye movements happening and everything is pretty static. We are losing the ability to communicate well.'

    While England players won't be forced to discard or spend less time on their smartphones, Calder was optimistic that they will heed her advice.

    'We can't stop them but we will teach them good behaviours. We've got time until 2019, that is our aim,' Calder explained.

    'If you don’t see something, you can’t make a decision. So one of the skills we work on is being able to see, or pick up, something early. The earlier you see the more time you have to make a decision. That’s a trainable skill.'

    'If you make every player make one decision better on the field, that could be 15 or 22 decisions. I said to Clive Woodward in May 2003 that the teams who made the most effective decisions were going to be the ones who win.'

    Full story here

    Photo: Gallo Images

    Post by

    Mariette Adams