I’ve always been fascinated by the way people are so quick to discourage their abilities and automatically neglect the important elements of their game outside the technical side of cricket.
I see and hear so many cricketers talk the talk, “I want to play at this level” or “I’m going to have a big pre-season”, but when it comes to the crunch with another year completed and no changes made, the player wonders why they’re not getting what they want out of their game.
I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with many professional cricketers, either in work, play or friendships, and have seen the amount of time, blood, sweat, and tears that goes into their development to ensure that they give themselves every possible chance they can to make it at the top level.
I’m sure you’ve read all the quotes and memes plastered all over the internet that relate to excellence, performance, etc. They’re great but get kind of old when you see or hear them repeatedly and no real action gets taken from them.
Below, I’ve plucked out what I see as the '5 most powerful traits of professional cricketers' and how anyone can adopt them. If you do, I can tell you right now, your game is going to improve and funnily enough, it’s nothing to do with the skills of cricket!
Players need to realise that just because you aren’t at that elite level doesn’t mean you can’t adopt these traits and hold yourself accountable to them. This alone is a major reason why elite players have gotten to the level they have, and very likely that if you adopt these traits, you too will start to see a massive improvement in your game.
An easy one to start off with but very hard for many to follow through on. The best cricketers aren’t flaking on a session, they are getting up when their alarm goes off to had to their early morning gym session/run/pilates. The better players are forgoing that burger and soft drink or going out to a party the night before their game/training. They do this because they have made a commitment to get better and perform to their best and this is one of the very easiest and earliest traits to control. It’s a matter of choice!
2. ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Elite cricketers have great attention to detail. Whether it be in their training, their preparation, reviewing with their coaches, or general routine. Just simply showing up and doing it to tick the box isn’t going to change a thing. As a cricketer striving to get better, really try to pay attention to how you do things and the level at which you do them.
3. SELF BELIEF
The best players have a belief that their best is good enough. Don’t get me wrong, they still suffer from performance anxiety or negative self-talk from time to time, but an overarching belief in their own game and confidence to perform is a very important factor in producing a high level of performance consistently. Some of this comes down to preparation. The more prepared players are before the big day, the more confident they'll be at achieving their goals on game day.
4. BE ANALYTICAL
Not all players are great when it comes to analysing their own game. I guarantee you that every player who at least tries to see what has gone well and what hasn’t will improve going forward. No player of quality who performs at a high level on a consistent basis packs their gear up, gets in the car, and doesn’t think about what they’ve done ever again. Having a structured review process provides players the ability to identify areas of strength, where they may have gone wrong, and what needs to happen to prepare for next week. It also helps their mental state if they have had a bad day and gives them a chance to close that chapter quickly without stewing over it for the week. Instead, they move on quickly, ready for that next chance to progress.
5. OWNERSHIP & MATURITY
Probably one of the toughest ones I see players being able to grasp. This is a genuine, look yourself in the mirror component and stop blaming others for non-selection / lack of success, etc. It's important to own your actions, be accountable, and mature about how you react to certain situations that don’t go your way. Use it as a learning curve. The best players in the world are honest with themselves and don’t point fingers. You can easily do this too and once you do, don’t be surprised to see some serious growth and who knows, maybe some line calls going your way as well!
All in all, I think the biggest advice that I would give to players (and I have numerous times) is just because you aren’t a professional/elite cricketer doesn’t mean you can’t think, train and prepare like one. If you are improving your standards, then the only way is up!
Article Author: Joel Hamilton
ACI Owner & Managing Director