We see it all the time…
So many players that are down on confidence and really struggle with their game and results.
A common theme when we speak to parents or coaches of players in our programs about young players performing is “they just seem much more confident”.
Having confidence and riding that wave of good feelings makes your cricket so much more enjoyable but also makes you feel 10 feet tall!
Being able to be free of the shackles and score with ease, have no pressure on yourself to perform and really feeling like you can do no wrong.
We’ve identified some very similar mistakes that we find a lot of players are making that affect their levels of confidence and in turn, their performances.
- Fear of failure
This is a massive one.
So many players openly speak about the fear of failure and not wanting to disappoint their team mates, parents, coaches and themselves.
Having this fear of failure can really hold players back and mess with their confidence levels.
So how do we change this you may ask?
It’s about switching your mindset around. Creating a positive training environment, and also just relaxing and understanding that failure is the most important aspect of learning and improving.
In our programs we really promote the opportunity to learn and take the game on. Making mistakes is fine and as long as you have the correct review process in place to identify how you can change these mistakes.
My advice if you are feeling like this is a common occurrence for you?
Identify the situations that really put you under pressure. Take note of these and maybe write down when these happen and a response that can be positive.
This ensures that you are able to identify these feelings when they happen and take the appropriate course of action.
Secondly, trying to create a thought process or environment that enables you to make mistakes and know that these are natural. No one is PERFECT! The best player’s in the world still fail.
It’s about identifying these mistakes and finding ways to work on them and make plans to not do it again.
2.Not taking time to understand your game
So many players find they lose their confidence due to not performing, and when I ask and delve a little bit deeper, it’s really quiet evident that they don’t really have a good understanding around their game and their strengths.
It’s so important to create plans around your game and identify your areas of strengths.
If you have this understanding you’ll find that you will be far more calm and confident when you are put into situations.
Think about it, when you are under pressure there are so many things going on in your head.
Add into that your need to then make quick decisions on the field.
If players don’t have a true understanding of their game, they will continue to make these mistakes, and continue to feel the pressure.
My advice if you are feeling like this area of your game is contributing to a lack of confidence?
Spend time to sit down and speak to your coach/parent’s/mentors and identify your strengths of your game.
From there you can start to develop a sound game plan on how to approach the game. Knowing your strong areas you can capitalise on loose deliveries, how to get off strike if you feel you are clogging up dot balls for longer periods of time.
Having this clearer understanding of your strengths and your game plan enables you to reduce the stress in these situations, but also find an easy way out of that particular part of the game.
3.Spending too much time in the past/future
This may sound a little unusual, but what I mean by this is spending too much time thinking about what has happened previously, or what is going to happen.
For example thinking about the team you are playing on a Saturday and being too caught up repeating the last few times you played them and gotten out cheaply,.
Or it may be going through the team list and seeing big names of players that you think are way too good for you.
Maybe it’s thinking too far ahead. Playing and missing a few in a row while batting and thinking your definitely going to get out!
Not enough time is spent having people be aware of being in the moment.
These past and future thoughts slowly compound and really start to place a lot of pressure on players and they find that this is a key reason to why they lose confidence throughout times of the season.
How do I change this mindset for the better?
If you feel this impacts you during a game, it’s really about trying to create your own in between ball routine or process.
Using your time more effectively in between balls to distract you away from these negative thoughts that can influence your thinking and confidence so much.
This may look like positive self talk, controlled breathing, anchors that take you through a host of steps to ensure you are staying present in the moment and not letting your mind wander to far ahead of behind (just to name a few).
If you find that these thoughts affect you after games and throughout the week, it could be really important to start to review your sessions/games after they happen.
By reviewing your performance it enables you to identify the areas you may not have done well (and areas you have also done well) and quickly move on from it.
4.Your preparation leading into a game.
I know many players who find this is a driving factor to their comfort levels and confidence.
Whether it’s the amount of time they’ve spent (or not spent) training and preparing to perform leading into the weekend, or having things completely out of your control such as missing a session due to the weather.
Your preparation is key to how you are feeling coming into a game. It’s so important to you to have that thought and feeling that “i’ve done enough”.
If you haven’t it really can be an inhibiting factor to your performance and how you feel.
If this is a familiar feeling how do I change this?
Having these feelings is very much in your control. You are wholeheartedly responsible for your actions and these actions dictate your thoughts and feelings.
If you somehow miss sessions for once, maybe positive self talk or even just understanding that one session isn’t going to effect how you play (just make sure you don’t use this and it becomes a habit for laziness!).
Know that you can say yes/no to anything and try to avoid distractions in the lead up to the game ahead.
If you do miss a session, think of ways you can make up for it. Training too wet to bat or bowl maybe? But you can definitely still use that time to review your batting or bowling plans, speak to your coach about your role or even go off and do some physical work to get some sort of benefit for the session.
All in all, confidence is about feeling comfortable. The more comfortable and prepared you are, the more likely you are going to succeed!
Written By Joel Hamilton - Co Founder