I knew Shane Watson as his Australian coach from 2002 to 2007.
I employed Performance Psychologist, Dr Phil Jauncey to work with players & support staff around understanding themselves better, and in turn, understanding those around them better.
In so doing, I believed it would be very helpful in moving individuals to a state of ‘being their own best coach’; that is knowing their game, technically, physically, mentally, tactically inside out in order to be able to make better decisions in games, more consistently, and therefore could be more reliable in a leadership sense for the group.
From a team perspective, the more that everyone else knew ‘each other’s game’, the greater the likelihood we could have 15 ‘coaches’ available, rather than just the designated head coach & a couple of his assistants.
Phil Jauncey’s role was to have all players explore their preferred mode of interaction with other people, and provide education to how best to work with and alongside each person.
With this knowledge, more open and honest conversations are made possible. Consequently, the capacity for the individual and the group to learn and to grow is significantly increased.
Among his tool kit, Phil Jauncey used a personal profiling system which outlines personal patterns based on being a Mozzie, an Enforcer, a Thinker, or a Feeler.
Watto is what we term a ‘Thinker-Feeler’.
He internalises a lot of emotions, and unless he can work his way through these methodically, and have detailed conversations about what is causing him to feel and act the way he does, then these bottled up emotions will explode at some point, or with someone, or with himself.
As a young cricketer into the Australian environment, we would often hear Shane shouting at training as he sought perfection in everything he was doing. He would castigate himself over seemingly trivial events to most of those around him; but for Shane, these were simply indicators that he was not doing whatever the task was at the time to the level he expected of himself.
Ricky Ponting and I would have a number of conversations with Watto about these outbursts, trying to explain that we appreciated that he was seeking exceptionally high standards; however, if he was unable to meet them, then it did him little good, and the group similarly, to shout the house down – we needed him to problem solve instead.
He likes detail, being organised, structured.
And his feeling side means he needs to know he is loved, he is liked and he is contributing to the group.
Consequently, Watto has become an ‘everywhere man’ in cricket as opposed to a ‘specific man’.
Selectors, coaches, captains have thrown him into so many roles with bat & ball and across all formats that in the end he had no specific role which a person like him craves.
At the same time, he does this because he wants to be liked. He wants to be valued. He wants to be liked by all those around him.
Internally though he is knotting. He cannot say how he really feels as that can upset the people whom he wants to like him; and also it works completely against him being totally organised, totally planned.
In the 2007 WC we gave Watto a very specific role, and trained accordingly – he excelled in his few opportunities.
I think Watto’s time in the Australian setup is almost done. Having said that, if there is a gap somewhere in the Australian lineup during this Ashes, or indeed in the ODI & T20 squads, and no obvious selection or direct replacement, Watto will be used to fill the gap, because he is the ultimate allrounder!