Cricket is a team game.

Yes, ultimately it is largely down to individual performances that cause the result of a match, however at the end of the day you are working with others to achieve an end result.

One thing that we find continually is neglected these days is the importance of playing a role within a team.

Players at a young age are quick to think of themselves before the need of the team.

This is human nature, so when we are in a position to do so, it comes down to awareness of this role and the importance it has on the team.

Becoming a better team mate is something that everyone can do. No one’s perfect!

The idea behind this is to ensure that your members feel safe and confident to do what is needed of them.

We’ve identified 4 key traits that players need to identify and implement to become a better team mate.

 

1.Celebrating Successes

Although a broad topic, really the name suggests it all.

Great players and team members always ensured that team or other individual successes were celebrated.

By going out of your way to ensure your team mate is known of their great performance, this helps continue tight team camaraderie and a heightened level of confidence with players in your team.

Also the reality of it is, that in this lovely game of cricket, you will not always succeed or perform to yours or the needs of the team.

2. Create Unity

Really good players and team members have the ability to bring groups of people together.

This can be done in many ways on the cricket field.

A simple one is to ensure that when you are batting, all your team members sit close together and cheer on the runs and performances of the current batters.

There is nothing worse than when you are out in the middle against 11 other players to turn around and see that half your team are on their phones or no where to be seen.

Having this close unity as a group and sticking together will help players while under pressure out on the field as they will feel much more confident that they have the teams support.

3.  A desire to help your team mates.

Having a desire to go out of your way compared to doing the bare minimum is a massive trait that many players take for granted.

Examples of these are going to get the hat of the bowler from fine leg and giving it to the umpire.


Or it could be to ensure that you regularly run water out to the set batters to help relay messages.

Harnessing this desire to do what ever it takes for your team mates to feel comfortable and confident at the crease is the key to being a good team mate.

4. Be Respectful

This has obviously many sub categories and I’m sure you can name a few.

All it comes down to is making sure you show great respect to not only the opposition but also your team mates as well.

Things like making a scene when going out (throwing your bat or hitting the dressing room chairs etc) are all not on.

Personally I think this is a selfish act. Who knows how this effects your team mates out in the middle or even the next ones in.

They may be totally switched on to their preparation, but now after witnessing the tantrum or having to duck for cover as hurricane sooky pants came in because they missed a straight one, may not be the ideal preparation and eventually serves as a distraction.

 

Overall I think the major message in this is to make sure you are aware of the team and their needs.

Having that mentality will ensure that you are able to do whatever it takes to keep the momentum going.

Because yes, cricket is largely based on individual performances back to back, but I don’t think many people realise that your performance isn’t just limited to when you have a ball or bat in hand.

Your job isn’t done when you stop scoring runs or bowling balls.

Your job is still to make sure that the other person who’s taken over has everything the need to make sure they can perform at the same level you wish to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written By: Joel Hamilton (Co Founder and Head Coach)

Pat Cummins has had a huge 12 months which has resulted in him becoming one of, if not Australia’s most popular player among fans and winning the Allan Border Medal.

Aside from the obvious - bowling fast, taking wickets and scoring valuable lower order runs, I thought I’d take a look at some of the reasons he’s adored by fans and the traits that you’d do well in adopting from the star quick…

1. He's Adaptable

No doubt Cummins would probably love the new ball. He bowls with it for NSW and Thunder.

But he’s been given a job to do with Australia, coming on first change, and he’s adapted to it brilliantly.

He bowls from any end and bowls whenever he’s given the ball. He doesn’t whinge or complain. He gets on with it and does his job.

Become Adaptable.

2. He Gives 100% One Hundred Percent Of The Time

Pat Cummins runs in and bowls at 100% - all the time.

He bowls the same pace in his last spell as he does in his first which isn’t always common in fast bowlers.

He puts a huge price on his wicket for a number 8 batsman and tries to bat for as long as he can, no matter how hostile the bowling is.

Every time Cummins has the bat or ball in his hands it looks like he’s playing to win or save the game, no matter what situation Australia are in.

You should strive to do the same.

 

3. He’s a Fierce Competitor

Pat Cummins competes hard.

There were some times during the recent test series where Australia were no hope of winning or saving the game and he was batting against some pretty hostile bowling on lively decks. Cummins scrapped for long periods of time, when a lot of other fast bowlers would have had a swing to get out of there as fast as they could.

On the flip side - when he’s on song and Australia are on top, he puts his foot on the oppositions throat which we saw with some devastating spells of fast bowling and it was great to see him get some bags of wickets.

When the competition is even and the wicket is flat - he seems to more often than not force something to happen.

Learn to compete like Cummins.

4. He’s Humble

I think another reason Cummins is so likeable is because he’s humble.

As I said earlier, he never complains or whinges about bowling first change or where he bats.

He never boasts about how good he is or how he’s going to do this and that.

He gets on with it, lets the bat and ball do the talking and gracefully accepts any accolades that come his way.

Be humble.

5. The Way He Carries Himself Off The Field

I don’t know Pat personally but from the outside it looks like he’s got his life and priorities in order.

He’s in a long term relationship with a partner he seems to treat with love and respect. He seems to have a good set of values and morals and he’s never in the media for poor behaviour or any of the wrong reasons.

I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say a bad word about him!

If you model your off field behaviour on Cummins, you’ll position yourself well.

Now, go work at applying these five traits to your game and life.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick - Australian Cricket Institute Co-Founder & Coach

 

 

The time used between balls by many players is not used very effectively by many players.

Cricketers come to the Australian Cricket Institute with a common problem. “ I get bogged down after a few balls and then play a silly shot and get out” or “ I have trouble bowling the ball where I want to consistently”.

For some, and to the naked eye, that’s a technical deficiency, which most likely is a contributing factor.

However the other side of it that hardly any people explore or consider is what is going on between their ears.

Cricket is a game of stop, start, hit a ball, stop and have some down time then only to be going back to getting ready to hit the ball again.

In this down time, most players use their time negatively or not at all. Your ability to be consistent and achieve the desired outcome over and over again is technical yes, but the time you spend in between balls is just as crucial.

Using this time well can help with staying in the moment. Thinking about what you need to do right now.

Too many players think about what has happened or what is going to happen. e.g. “ What if I play and miss again” or “I just bowled a wide, don’t bowl another!”.

If you can overcome your mind and use this time effectively the benefits are there to see.

Your concentration levels last longer, you make better decisions, you are not affected by the situation of the game as much and as a result you can make clearer decisions.

Below I’ve listed out 5 different things you can implement into your between ball routine that can help you from drifting away and putting pressure on yourself.

1. Positive Self Talk

A very simple one to start off with but sometimes quiet hard to master.

The important think with this is to realise that you are always going to have negative thoughts or reactions when you do something wrong or under pressure.

The important part is trying to wipe that as quickly as possible and turn those thoughts into a positive.

This can be practiced and done on any occurrence.

Instead of thinking “this bowlers too fast here, I don’t want to get hurt!” You could go down the path of “his pace is going to make it easier if I use that to my advantage, wait for the full overmatched ball but the rest I can use the pace and run it down to third man”.

2. Quick And Non Bias Self Review/Reflection

A lot of players spend so much time in between balls sweating about what shot they’ve played.

How many times have you seen a player hit it straight to a fielder and drop their head back in annoyance?

Or keep playing the same shot that they wanted to for the whole time between balls and then face back up?

I’m not saying you can’t practice the shot you wanted to play, but a lot of people spend too much time worrying and sweating on that ball and what they did wrong.

What you can do is really simply review and reflect on your shot and move on to something else as quickly as possible.

It could be as simple as a rating out of 10 and then what you’d do differently.

Short. Sharp. And finally,  wiped clean so you don’t spend the next minutes or balls thinking about it.

 

3. Breathing

This is a relatively simple one.

It’s been proven that when you are under pressure or stress, your heart rate will go up.

The easiest way to lower that is by controlled breathing.

If you can actually focus on your breathing you’ll find that not only will it help you get your breath back and decrease your heart rate, but it will also then take your focus away from the game and other thoughts!

Try in for 5 or 6 and out for 7 or 8.

Allocating some time between balls to do this will help you get your levels back to even and you’ll be able to make better decisions.

4. Anchors to Distract You Away From The Pressure

Many elite players use certain actions or sequences of movements to help them switch off or take themselves away from an uncomfortable environment.

These pressures and distractions can look like the 'yappy' annoying slips cordon, concentrating on certain parts of the environment, scoreboard pressure and of course those negative thoughts we spoke about previously.

By having certain actions that take you outside of the situation, this helps you clear your mind and use that down time in a different way not thinking about those above pressure.

Some of these look like:

  • Walking out to square leg
  • Signing a song between balls
  • Staring out of the field of play and switching off from the contest
  • Watching people out on the boundary or those not involved in the game
  • Undoing gloves

As mentioned these “anchors” or whatever you want to call them, help players take them self outside of the contest and the stresses.

I’m sure you may even do some of these already.

5. Visualisation

Finally another tool you can look to use is visualisation.

This is a very underestimated and yet quite an effective way to help players feel confident and problem solve during their time on the pitch.

The power of visualisation is quite influential.

Visualisation during your innings or while your bowling can help you settle yourself into your role or give you the confidence to replicate during your innings.

Using some of your time in between balls to see yourself playing that correct shot or bowling that ball in the right area.

When visualising, go deep into it. How does it feel, what does it look like, what does your body have to do in order to execute that shot or particular ball.

The more you can replicate how real it is and the exact movements the more realistic it is and will transfer into your mechanics of what you are doing.

It may be you visualising playing the ball confidently, or getting into a powerful and balanced position when playing your shots. Alternatively from the bowling perspective, it may be you coming and bowling a great length ball hitting the batsmen bat high on the splice as they are coming forward.

You can play out any scenario in your head before you’ve done it and it will fill you with the confidence to execute this in real time.

So there you have it, these are some techniques you can implement into the time you spend in between balls.

My advice is not to just copy and do all of them, find a sequence of events that is comfortable to you, but more importantly works.

The whole point of this is to use your time effectively in between balls and take your thoughts away from the negative things and elevate the pressure that players put on themselves.

How you do this is ultimately up to you, these are just some techniques you can implement.

Lastly, this between ball routine has to be repeatable. You cannot achieve consistent results if you continuously randomly do these actions.

It is a method to doing them and there has to be a distinct reason in your routine as to why.

These processes are for you only and as a result can be done however you like in your own way.

Don’t copy Steve Smith or David Warner just because he is a world class player as these will not necessarily work for you.

 

Author: Joel Hamilton - ACI Co-Founder & Coach

 

There are multiple ways to get out in cricket as a batsman however batsman can particularly struggle with LBW dismissals. I believe LBW is the type of dismissal which is mostly related to technique. In this blog, I am going to suggest reasons why you might be struggling with LBW and some technical adjustments which will help you. I will warn you now, head position is the nucleus of batting technique and I am going to talk about it a lot.

Reason 1 – Head Position in Your Set Up

When you set up in your stance your head needs to be positioned directly over your feet. This ensures your centre of gravity is evenly balanced and you can move directly towards the ball. Your head is the heaviest part of your body therefore it is crucial we have it in the right place in our set up. If your head sits to far outside of your feet, your centre of gravity is too far towards the off side therefore it is hard to take your head straight down the line of the ball when it is coming into your stumps. If the ball is coming straight down the line of the stumps and your head is too far towards the off side you can fall over and play around your pad. Essentially, you’re playing across the line to a straight delivery which is dangerous and could be the reason you’re getting out LBW. Make sure your head is above your feet in your set up and your right eye is lined up at the bowler.

Reason 2 – Your Stance is Too Wide

Another reason you may be getting out LBW is again to do with your stance. If your stance is too wide you are not in an athletic position to move efficiently. When your stance is too wide your head position sits too far back in your stance. As I mentioned earlier, your head is the heaviest part of your body therefore if you have it too far back in your stance you can
get stuck. What also happens is you lead with your front pad and you end up playing around your pad because your head is too far back and your pad is in the way. If the ball moves back into your pad you are in trouble. In your batting stance, your head needs to be sitting above your front ankle. This will help you lead with your head down the line of the ball rather than leading with your pad and getting stuck.

Reason 3 – Not Tracking The Ball Late Enough

Watching the ball right onto your cricket bat is very important when the ball is straight at the stumps. Tracking the ball with your eyes all the way onto your bat helps to keep your head down the line of the ball and still. If you are getting out LBW a lot be sure to practice tracking the ball all the way to contact.

Goodluck, execute well.

James Bazley - ACI Coach & Programs Coordinator

 

Preface:  This article is for right hand medium/fast bowlerS who struggle against left handers.

So many R/H quicks seem to struggle for consistency when they’re bowling to left handers. Even more so if you naturally swing the ball in to a left hander.

A really common thing we hear is “I seem to be able to swing it away from the right hander but when I bowl to a lefty it goes straight.”

In this short article I’m going to talk about three really common reasons why that is the case and why bowlers struggle to bowl to lefties…

 

1. YOU DON’T CHANGE YOUR RUN UP

When you bowl to lefties, you need to change the angle of your run up (more so if you run in straight normally).

I’ll get you to picture it in your mind for a minute…

If you keep your run up the exact same as you have it for a right hander, where is everything lined up to?

Middle and leg stump for the left hander.

Take a couple of steps to your left at the top of your mark and create a straight line between you and the off stump/keeper.

Everything should be lined up to the off stump - run up, front arm, release and follow through.

2. YOUR WRIST POSITION CHANGES

Now, this one is a bit of a flow on effect from #1.

Because the angles of your run up haven’t changed, your wrist position has to.

To get the ball outside the off stump you have to change your wrist from your natural out-swing position to an in-swing position, pointing to third man for the left hander and you ‘push’ the ball across the batsmen.

If you start the ball where your run up is aligned, you’ll get your natural swing in but it’ll go down leg side.

That creates a cycle of frustration and in consistency.

If you get #1 right and change your angles, that will allow you to keep your natural wrist position, start the ball outside off and hopefully get it bending in to 3rd/4th stump (something most lefties don’t like ?).

3. YOU DON’T PRACTICE IT

It might seem really simple but if you’re not confident and consistent against left handers, you probably don’t practice it enough.

It surprises me how many bowlers set targets up to R/H only when doing target bowling (no batsmen).

There’s almost as many left handers around now as right handers so you need to practice it as much as you do bowling to a right hander.

When you’re doing target bowling, set up targets for both left and right handers and practice going from one to another like you would in a game.

Obviously when you’re doing bat vs ball net sessions you’ve gotta bowl to the batsmen you’re given, but if you want to work on bowling to lefties ask your coach if you can move nets and follow them around.

Make sure you work on #1 & #2 in the nets as well.

Change your angles and work on your wrist position.

I hope that helps and as always, if you’ve got any tips, drills or tweaks that have helped you improve your ability to bowl to left handers I’m an open book, I’d love to hear them.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick - Australian Cricket Institute Co-Founder & Coach