In Australia, thousands and thousands of eager cricketers have either just begun or are about to embark on another summer of Cricket.
One time of the year that many have been preparing for over many, many months.
I don’t know about you but I always seem to spend this time of year in the lead up to the season constantly thinking about how well I’m going to start my season.
Thoughts start to creep in…
Have I done enough?
Am I fully prepared?
For the most part, yes, yes you all are, it’s just some nervous energy wanting to get out there any finally play!
I’ve come up with a little check list that has served some great purpose over the last few years with our academy members.
These area’s of the game are something that we place great emphasis on not only throughout the pre season, but also in the lead up to round 1.
Using these as a checklist really helps a lot of players feel they are fully confident to hit the ground running.
1. Understand what your particular strength is as a batter and bowler.
This is a very important aspect.
I find that many emerging players aren’t overly clear in what they can define their strengths as.
Such a critical part of your game and something that is not really necessarily clear to many.
Understanding what you do well as a batter or bowler is the key to batting long periods and scoring consistent runs or bowling good spells and taking lots of wickets.
Knowing your a good leaver, or you play well straight, or spin bowling is your strength.
Or as a bowler, is your strength your consistency?
Or maybe it’s your pace and bounce?
All these cues are imperative to know so that you can base your game around these.
When you become under pressure in a game or you find a tough period during the game, resort to these to get you through.
Strip your game right back and do what you do really well to get you through to the other side, because that other side is mostly very rewarding.
2. Have clear plans in place.
Having a clear and identified plan in place for each particular scenario or type of bowler is a great way to maintain your consistency throughout your innings.
Try setting up area’s you feel confident to score against good bowling of different types.
For example, where you should look to score against a right arm out swing bowler compared to a right arm off spin bowler are completely different.
Knowing that you probably shouldn’t be looking to drive a good length ball through cover against and out swing bowler, or close the face and hit through the leg side too much against a right arm leggy.
( A regular part of our programs see's players hone down on their strength's and use them to their best ability)
Understanding the sorts of fields you would have depending on the situation of the game or the type of batter you may face.
What sort of shots are you trying to get the batsmen to play early with the new ball?
Or how many sweepers and what sort of angles can you create as a spin bowler to entice the batter to take some high level risks against your good consistent bowling.
See how I’ve mentioned against good consistent bowling... It’s important to understand that you need to be able to bowl that consistent length for these to work, or alternatively as a batter, these are sorts of shots against good bowling where you become under pressure.
It’s really important that in the lead up to your start of the season that you take the time out to actually sit down and make sure that you have these plans down pat.
Obviously you don’t have to be planned down to the ball. As we know, the game changes so much so fast, and as a player you need to be able to adapt, but I feel having a starting point and adjusting from there during the game you are going to feel much more in control when the nerves set in out in the middle.
3. Have your goals set out for you to reference.
Many of you would have your set goals for the year.
Now it’s time to actually put them down in writing.
It’s so important to have these as reference point.
Many people once they have written down something or verbalised it to people, feel much more obliged to carry it out.
It’s also a great place for you to gain motivation. You should really sit there and look at your goals and feel pumped about the season!
It’s just another way to ensure that you are in a positive state of mind throughout the year.
4. Create a weekly process out of your goals
Something that many really great and successful people do is start to split down their goals into a weekly process.
In order to become consistent & successful you need to have a measure on what you are doing to get you through to that end result.
I’m sure you’ve heard us or other people reference or talk about the compound affect?
Many small improvements over a long period of time brings great change!
Now is a great time to set some standards or non negotiables around what you do at training to continue to improve any of the area’s you’ve been working on.
Want to take 35 wickets for the year as your goal?
Well for that you need to be consistent and fit enough to bowl, so it could be part of your training routine to bowl 12 balls at a target throughout each bowling session and measure how successful you are.
Little things like these go a long way to continuing that improvement you have worked so hard for in the pre season.
5. Have a process to measure you effectiveness at training
A lot of players seem to take the foot off the gas once they get into the grind of regular season.
We understand that obviously you may switch your training a little bit in terms of more bat vs ball stuff and not focusing on just yourself as much.
However what we don’t want is for players to loose the relevance in their training.
A simple way for this to not happen is find a way to review your training and performance after games.
This then lets you understand what you really need to focus your energies on that week, but also means you can spend less time on each area and still great greater results.
Many players spend too much time doing irrelevant tasks at training.
It’s not about how much you do necessarily, but the quality of what you do.
If you can manage to train with such purpose and use the 2 hours (or less ) time each session you have, you are still going to get a great deal of value out of your training.
Remember this transition from pre season into the regular season is a very important time.
Have the confidence in your preparation and just go out and enjoy the game.
If you can put some of these practices into your training and time leading up into the games you start playing I guarantee you will taste success!
Good luck for the upcoming season and enjoy yourself above all!
WRITTEN BY JOEL HAMILTON - ACI CO FOUNDER AND COACH