No matter how well you're going, it can be tough to stay motivated for a whole cricket season. A really familiar pattern is players starting the season well and then falling away after Christmas.
In this article, I'm going to outline reasons why this may occur and give you six things you can do (or encourage your players to do) to really finish the season strong.
There are a heap of different reasons players see a drop off in their motivation and performance, some of the most common are;
- Your team is out of the finals race - it can be hard to keep putting in if you've essentially got nothing to play for other than pride and personal performance
- You're burnt out
- You're not having a great personal season
- You have a lack of focus
- You're not getting along with your coach or some teammates
And there are plenty more...
Now, how do we address them? I'm going to talk about six things you can do to fight burn out, lack of motivation and whatever else is causing you to drop off.
1. FIND YOUR OWN MOTIVATION
No matter how you've gone individually and where your team sits, you need to find your own motivation for the last few games and potentially finals.
Something that gets you up for training and drives you.
Even players who are having an awesome season can hit a flat spot towards the end because they've put so much time and energy into performing well so far.
If your team is in the finals race it should be really easy to find some motivation. Now is a great time to reset, refresh and give your finals campaign everything because there's nothing better than team success.
If you're not in finals, it might be small individual goals, putting your name in the spotlight for next season, getting selected in a rep winter training squad. Find something to push you.
2. SET NEW 'MINI GOALS'
Go back and look over your goals from the start of the season. You'll either be way off, way over or around the mark.
Now set yourself some mini goals for the last part of your season.
If you're way off, it's really easy to get despondent, write your season off and finish horribly. Don't do that. Set yourself some smaller, realistic goals so you can finish the season with some momentum and head held high.
If you've already nailed your goals, it's easy to get lazy and waste an opportunity to have an absolute breakout year. Challenge yourself and turn a good season into a great on.
If you're around the mark - you don't need any motivation, you're so close. Tick those goals off.
3. GET A TRAINING & ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Everything is easier with the social pressure and accountability of someone else driving you (plus it's more fun).
Grab a mate or mates and push each other outside of normal training times.
Call each other to do extra work - skills and fitness.
Send each other your weekly goals or checklist. We're weird creatures - we're happy to let ourselves down but not others. It's been proven that once we put something out to others, we're much more likely to act on it and remain true to our word.
4. FOCUS ON YOUR TRAINING PROCESS
It sounds silly but don't worry too much about your outcomes.
Take a look at your training process - are you doing everything you know you need to do to perform well? Normally when you are, results will take care of themselves.
If you're not getting your results, take a look at your training process first.
5. REVISIT YOUR PLANS
Now is a great time to revisit your game plans.
You should by now have a pretty good understanding of what your strengths are and what your general plan is when you go out to bat and bowl.
Is it working? If so, great - you don't need to change a thing, keep churning out results with a successful plan.
If it's not, now might be a good time to explore a little bit.
Try a new approach to your batting or bowling plans.
Talk to your skipper and/or coach and see if they'd be happy to try you in a new role in the team (e.g. opening the batting instead of 5 or vice versa).
You never know, you might unearth a new strength that opens up a massive opportunity for you next season.
6. SEEK FEEDBACK
Don't wait until the end of the season to get feedback!
Some great feedback that identifies something you may not be aware of could change the end of your season and give you momentum into the offseason.
Speak to people you trust - coaches, captains, teammates. No one will get angry at you for asking their advice on how you can get better and if they do, scrap them!
It shows you care and it shows you value their opinion.
Good luck with the rest of your season, keep enjoying it and finish well.
If you or your child would like to work with us to develop your game next season, make sure you're on the 'early bird' list for our 2020/21 Academy intake which starts in May - click here to learn more about the ACI Academy Programs
Author: Nick Fitzpatrick
Co-Founder - Australian Cricket Institute