Ace international shuttler Arvind Bhat’s world come crashing down when he suffered an ankle injury in 2006 that put him out of action for virtually the entire year. Contemplating retirement at 26 and even deciding to resume his studies, he found second wind when Sachin Tendulkar gave him a little pep talk. Bhat listened, reversed his decision and achieved his career’s best soon after. Arvind Bhat I had been attending neuro-linguistic programming sessions when I was forced into a sabbatical thanks to an ankle injury in 2006. Little did I know that I would learn the most important lesson in NLP from Sachin Tendulkar. I was depressed and contemplating retirement at 26 as my ankle injury showed no signs of healing. I was forced to miss tournaments and my rhythm was badly affected. It was then that I got an opportunity to talk to Sachin.What I remember of the conversation was that he was in no hurry to hang up. Actually I was thinking I might be disturbing him. But he was relaxed, explaining to me for about 20 minutes how I can emerge out of the injury.

Sachin said the best way out of an injury is to visualize its healing. He had done that all the time when he was injured, even as he was attended to by doctors and physios. ‘Close your eyes for a few minutes, watch the cure happen and imagine yourself getting back into action. Injuries healed at least five percent quicker’, he had said.

This was precisely what NLP had taught me: train your brain through language to achieve what you want. In my case, I wanted my ankle to heal. But in the state of mind that I was, it didn’t work. I told Sachin about NLP. But he said although he had heard of it he hadn’t attempted it. I am sure he learnt it on his own.

Another point that Sachin stressed was on focus. When he was in the zone, he said the cricket ball resembled a football. Prakash (Padukone) Sir shared similar thoughts. Obviously, great minds think alike.

What appealed to me about Sachin was his attitude and relaxed nature. I was into Sudarshan Kriya for a while where I was told that the lesser you breathe the longer you live. That Sachin has lasted 24 years as a cricketer, lapping up all the pressure, only reveals that his relaxed, self-assured ways helped him prolong his career.

The chat with Sachin inspired me to work harder towards a solution. I didn’t want to be a quitter. Some of my best achievements – the national title, my rise to the top 20 in world rankings – came after the gyan.