England players use Goalball in practice as secret weapon to win Ashes

England cricketers play Goalball during training © Getty Images

Aug 22, 2013

England players employed a bonding exercise which involves using black-out goggles in training and warm-ups to increase trust, communication and togetherness. This new exercise could be one of the secret weapons England have used against Australia in the ongoing Ashes.

The practice is used in a game called Goalball, which is for the visually impaired. Here big balls are hurled at competitors at around 60 mph. the balls weigh just over one kilogram and their circumference is between 76 centimetres.

“We used the equipment in one of our warm ups last year to give a bit of diversity to our training. We used it as a way to test our awareness and our trust in our team mates,” England pacer Stuart Broad said as reported by Mirror.

“When you lose one of your senses and in particular your vision then you rely so much on your team mates and communicating with them.

“The biggest thing we got out of it was the communication you need to have with your team mates in order to function and that helps us in every form we play.

“We used it just the once last year and it was something the guys enjoyed a lot actually. It scared us a bit, losing your sight is a hard thing to deal with, but it showed how much trust we have in each other too.”

Adam Knott, an 18-year-old Great Britain goalball player, further said, “If the England team can work together without one of their key senses then they will be unstoppable in The Ashes.

“Without the benefit of sight, you have to switch on your other senses to maximum and trust your team-mates completely. Playing goalball is about putting your own skill into a team effort.”

England have retained the Ashes and won the series and are now leading 3-0 with the fifth match being currently played at The Oval. In a series where there has been a lot of speculation of Australian cricketers not being together, the England players have gotten along very well. One could say that the practice has worked.