Sports psychologist the secret to Tahlia McGrath's success

Some one-on-one sessions with South Australia sports psychologist David Steventon over the last 12 months have helped McGrath simplify her game

Tahlia McGrath is in career-best form

Tahlia McGrath is in career-best form  •  Getty Images

Tahlia McGrath credits her meteoric rise to being the form allrounder of Australian women's cricket partly to her sports psychologist.
Player of the series against India earlier this month, McGrath has started the WBBL with a bang in Adelaide Strikers' unbeaten start to the tournament. But the 25-year-old is the first to admit she's had to learn that you can't put an old head on young shoulders.
An Australian debutant at 21 in the 2017 Ashes, McGrath managed just one international between that series and the start of this summer. She has made the most of her recall through injuries, averaging 79 with the bat against India while also taking four wickets.
That came before scores of 42 and 50 not out for Strikers, as well as 3 for 17 in the opening game against Sydney Thunder. It's made her a near-certain pick for the Ashes, despite the impending returns of Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen Megan Schutt.
"It's taken me a while and it's been a frustrating journey with lots of little glimpses and starts, but not consistent enough," McGrath said. "But it's just been simplifying how I go about my cricket.
"I've matured a lot as a batter and learned how to construct my innings a lot better, especially in T20 cricket. That's literally keeping it as simple as possible, playing to my strengths and not over-complicating things which I have fallen into the trap of before."
McGrath said her biggest change had come from sitting down with South Australia's sports psychologist David Steventon over the past 12 months.
"Initially I was a bit hesitant, thinking I'm not sure how much I can get a benefit out of that," McGrath said. "But he did a few group sessions with us, I liked what he said and had a few one-on-one sessions and it's gone from there.
"Cricket is such a mental game that I thought why not tap into that aspect of it? So much we can get caught up in our own minds and especially when we are batting, over-complicating things."
It's part of what she believes has helped make her more patient and willing to time her run with the bat.
"In the past, I took unnecessary risks early...I was getting too caught up in hitting boundaries," McGrath said. "It's just been about trying to get into my innings before I go to the next gear. I'm more mature and learning how to structure my innings a lot better in T20 cricket now."