Here at the Australian Cricket Institute we place a massive importance on self review and reflection as a means of player development.
It's EXTREMELY important to ensure you are able to track your improvement and also area's that may need addressing to become better.
We have been lucky enough to test and put into practice this particular approach in our academy programs with great success, so here it is for you! Our 7 Step Guide To Reviewing Your Season Effectively.
1. Review Your Goals
A very simple start to the process, but list down any goals that you had set out for the upcoming season. From here, simply tick or cross each goal if you have or have not achieved them.
Once you have done this, please list down 3 reasons why you did or didn't achieve them. Please be honest here, the hardest part is to not let your ego/or frustrations cloud your judgement here. Let's avoid things like "The team can't catch, or I always got run out". You can only control your actions and the decisions/performance of yourself.
Alternatively on the other end of it, if there is legitimate reasons as to why you've had a ripper year, celebrate these and make them apparent to you!
2. Identify Strengths And Area's To Improve.
In this step we want you to write down 4 headings on a piece of paper. Technical, Tactical, Physical & Mental. In this you are going to write out your top strength in this area, and also your number one area you want to improve on this for next season.
If you are unsure, Technical is anything to do with your technique e.g. wrist position, balance etc.
Tactical is the game and understanding the situation and how to proceed to get the best outcome for yourself and the team.
Physical is any sort of physical or body attribute such as strength, speed, fitness levels, nutritional intake etc.
And finally Mental (probably one of the more neglected part) is all to do with controlling your thoughts, feelings and emotions to get the best performance from yourself.
This part provides the foundations of how you are going to plan out your off/pre season training to hit the ground running for next year!
3. Outline Your Biggest Area Of Improvement
As the title suggests, jot down your biggest improvement you have made. It's really important that you be as specific as possible here.
Don't just put "My batting", what part of it was the area of improvement, can you pinpoint the one biggest thing that you've executed this year to the highest ability that has made you as successful as you had been.
For example it could be " I got better at switching on and off between balls" which enabled me to bat for longer periods of time and use my concentration better to make better decisions.
4. Why Do You Think You Improved This Area So Much?
Ask yourself this question, and again be specific.
Was your training more purposeful?
Did you allocate dedicated time to improving this area more?
Or maybe you received some game changing advice from a coach... All these are questions you should answer while responding to this.
5. What Has Been Your Biggest Barrier For Improvement?
Understanding why and how is quiet important also, it's being honest with yourself and it enables you to formulate a clearer plan for next season.
Was school intense this year? Was your work ethic not quiet there? Or maybe you got Injured...
Let's nail down an area you can look to improve or change next season to make a difference to your training.
6. What Will You Do To Change It Next Season?
Everyone makes these excuses (in regards to point 5). The problem is people don't find ways around these. "having too much school work" is not an excuse.
Or for example in other forms of life people say they find it hard to fit things in like gym etc.. It's all about how you plan out your day, you've got 24 hours in a day, 8 of which are spent sleeping, you don't go to school for 16 hours do you?
This point is all about understanding your routine and working in time around your schedule to do some worthwhile practice.
Sure you can't come to the nets when it's 8 pm at night, but whats to say you cannot work on some Mental Skills after your home work or when work or school is done?
Will you get up earlier to give yourself more time? Will you cut out 1 hour of procrastination when you get home of an afternoon?
Will you write out a weekly work list to keep yourself motivated?
Will you prepare your body physically?
All of these are important in become a well planned, and successful athlete.
7. Seek Out Unbiased Feedback.
Seek out the opinion and feedback of someone who has seen you play/train/plan enough this season.
The key to this is they have to be unbiased. Seeking out specific, relevant feedback from a person who understands your game can be key to unlocking your season next year.
Many things may go unnoticed by yourself or you'll find that someone may pick up something you may not have even thought about.
They may be a captain, senior player, or coach. The point of this is to receive some honest feedback on your game, but also do identify a specific role or improvement needed for you to take the team and yourself to the next step.
So there you have it, 7 easy steps to reviewing your season with purpose. Remember the most important part of your season review is to take away some information that you start to use and formulate a plan to get better this pre season.
Joel Hamilton & Nick Fitzpatrick