It’s not for everyone and the rules are absurdly complicated, but cricket is a fascinating sport, not least for the monumental levels of concentration required by its players. Last week, two Australian cricketers spent over six straight hours batting together in the field. That’s six hours of trying to hit a red ball coming at you every 40 seconds, often in brutally hot conditions, and with the opposition doing and saying anything they can to distract you (known as “sledging”). Staying focused and in the moment is key. But that’s not possible for six hours straight. You have to know when to switch off … and switch right back on. It’s no surprise that vitamin marketers Swisse and Vitabiotics have recruited international cricketers Ricky Ponting and James Anderson respectively for their advertising campaigns in the past, even if the physical benefits have been more heavily emphasised than the mental.
Of course, extraordinary levels of concentration are required elsewhere: for airplane pilots, long-distance lorry drivers or even Cirque du Soleil dancers, a second’s lapse of concentration can put lives at risk! And in a digital age where we are constantly distracted by so many bleeps and flashing lights from phones and laptops, sticking with what’s in front of us also takes astonishing amounts of concentration, even for young people. Too often older consumers, or simply students, are flagged up in ads as needing to concentrate more and/or forget less. In fact we could all do with a little more brain power to deal with the here and now. An angle which VMS players should be much quicker to highlight.