This quote is the basis for this week's blog, written by ACI Coach Josh Matthews. One of his favourite quotes, it epitomises what he believes in as a person, cricket player & coach. 


It determines that to reach your potential as a player and person, you must first understand that you simply do NOT know everything, and your ability to take in information and process it will have a huge impact on how close you get to maximising this potential.

It is so easy to get caught in the trap of “I know what’s best and what works”, however through my personal experience, I can honestly tell you that this is very rarely the case. A personal example for me would be the way in which I coach a certain technique - let’s go with my most recent example, throwing at the stumps. I have always taught players that their throwing arm should be extended back almost as far as they could go, I was certain this was the best way. Why was I certain? Because I didn’t know what I didn’t know! It only occurred to me that there was a better way through the knowledge & wisdom of a coach more experienced than me physically showing me and taking me through the reasoning for this… Once I was shown a more effective way, it was an instant reminder that I must always continue to learn as there is so much information out there that I am unaware of. 



As a player your ability to execute a skill or read a certain situation comes down to your abilities & knowledge of the game. What is exciting for you, is that both of these skills can be developed through listening to others' wisdom. 

Wisdom definition: the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.

If you are wanting to play your best cricket, then it is crucial you take advice from people who know more than you do. An example of this would be the way in which you are executing a certain drill, a cover drive for instance. There are 100’s of different theories on how you SHOULD play a cover drive, however, at the end of the day, there is no singular answer for what is the BEST technique. The best players in the world have the ability to LISTEN to varying opinions and is what separates them from the rest. Additionally, an effective listener will generally be more effective at determining what does and doesn’t work for them. 



The beauty of listening to varying opinions is you now have the ability to dissect each option and work out for yourself what works for you. As previously mentioned, different things work for different people, however, if you are willing to acknowledge and interpret varying opinions, you will be in the best position to make the correct one. 

Are you always going to get it right? NO! It’s not quite that easy, however as is the case with playing in the V, increasing your chance of succeeding is always attractive. 

Another important concept to remember is that you are always evolving and developing, and with these changes come different ways in which to do things. However, if you have listened well in the past, you just never know when someone's theories or thoughts might suddenly click for you. 


HINT: Always strive to have a GROWTH MINDSET. You can learn more about the differences in Fixed & Growth Mindsets here: https://fs.blog/2015/03/carol-dweck-mindset/



You might be asking yourself, well how do I know who to listen to? There are a number of varying factors that determine who may have some information useful to you. Some of these are, but are not limited to: 

  • Age of the person 
  • Experience of the person 
  • The expertise of the person 
  • Respect you have for that person 

These are some very generic qualities of people who you should listen to. My personal opinion and experience would suggest that you should listen to all opinions and thoughts, as you will take in different pieces of information which will help shape the way you think. 



There are always going to be people out there who know more than you do, and your ability to understand and use that to your advantage is what will separate you from other players. You do not know what you do not know - the faster you can begin to learn what you do not know, the faster you will begin to grow as a player and a person. 

Take this advice and use it in all parts of your life including school, friendships, sports & family… hopefully, it will serve you well.








Article Author: Josh Matthews

ACI Coach

Below, guest blogger and ACI Coach, Josh Nevett gives us his top tips to identify your cricketing strengths.

In cricket, the difference between good and great players is often in the mental and strategic side of the game rather than raw skill-set or physicality. Players who have a small set of strengths that they actively utilise as often as possible generally succeed over players with a wide range of skills but no understanding of how best to use them. This article will recommend practices that can be used to identify strengths so that you are able to develop your own unique cricketing identity with complete confidence in your personal skills and strategies.



Often we can look at our own cricketing skill-sets with a perspective that is biased and warped, preventing us from achieving honest and objective self-analysis. This can be due to a variety of reasons, but the main impact is that we either underestimate or overestimate our abilities in certain facets of cricket. You may think that you don't play the ball well off the back foot, but perhaps this is just due to a recent dismissal you’re lingering on, poor shot selection, or a lack of practice in training. So, the question remains, how do we solve this problem and gain an accurate understanding of our strengths?

One remedy is to seek the opinions of those who are less likely to be influenced by factors that may make our judgments unreliable; your coaches and the senior players around you. These individuals will be invested in making you a better cricketer and realise that honesty is the best policy in pursuit of this. As a result, they will assist you to quickly and accurately identify strength areas through observation of your performances and discussion with you. Experience is invaluable throughout this process, as coaches have likely identified your strengths in other players in the past. 


As alluded to above, one well-played shot or perfect delivery may not signal an overall strength, but a pattern of successful skill execution over time is definitely a strong indicator of a personal strength. The best way to distinguish between these two things is to engage in an ongoing process of performance review, noting what skills you performed well and didn’t perform well after both matches and training matches. As a bowler, did you have success swinging the ball one way or another? Which balls did the batter struggle most to play? With the bat, where did you score the majority of your runs? Which bowlers did you feel most comfortable facing?

By addressing these questions on a regular basis and physically logging down your reflections, over time patterns will hopefully emerge that reveal to you your most strong areas. Similar to the recommendation above, feel free to engage others you trust in this process. 


The process of reflection and analysis is made a whole lot easier by access to video footage. Filming your sessions will allow you to support some assumptions about your strengths whilst also challenging others, providing a useful resource for future comparison and ongoing feedback. 

You may know that you flick the ball well through the legside on the front foot, but watching back video of a training session may reveal that you take balls from the off stump and wider through the legside, enhancing your knowledge of your strength. Or, on the bowling side, analysis of footage might show that you get your wrist in an excellent position to bowl inswing, but until now you hadn't considered that as a regular strategy. 

Video footage goes a long way towards accounting for the 5-10% of uncertainty you have about the conclusions that you and your coaches have come to, it provides clear evidence of the highlights and shortcomings of your game. 


Sometimes, even after persistent analysis and reflection, the areas you perform well in may seem disjointed and not form cohesive strengths. In this situation, it is best to write down all of the individual skills that you execute well and then try to link them together into strength areas. 

For example, you might decide that you use your feet well and have strong shot selection against spin. These two skills can be joined to create the strength ‘getting to the pitch of spin bowling’. As a bowler, if you bowl both slower balls and yorkers very well, then you are likely to excel at bowling in the death overs of limited-overs matches. In the field, if you have a strong distance throwing arm and are comfortable under high catches then outfielding is likely to be a strength area.

As you can see from the examples above, it becomes a much easier process to identify strengths when all of your skills are set out in front of you. 


Article Author: Josh Nevett

ACI Academy Coach

Are you struggling with motivation in lockdown? These 5 underlying questions will help transform the way you see the world around you and construct a positive environment for success.

At high school, I had the opportunity to listen to the late Tommy Hafey speak, former AFL/VFL coach - a remarkable individual who inspired a generation of footballers and Australian’s to do better. His life lessons have stuck with me to this day. To be driven to succeed and never stop learning every single day was the essence of his methodology for success. It inspired this piece and sparked some ideas in my head this week of how I can remain on top of things even when the situation might not be completely ideal or exactly how I would prefer it. Resilience will never do you wrong.


"Desire plus dedication plus discipline plus determination equals your destination"

You can read more about Tom Hafey’s philosophy here.


The perfect place to start is by reading and soaking in information, to find what’s applicable for you. Whether that be on the internet, a podcast, audiobook, youtube, a book, or newspaper. So, what are you waiting for?

Choose one thing you can read this weekend and make it the first thing you do each day. The old adage that "readers are leaders" could not be more true! It will certainly give you a greater insight into other people's stories and world events that will exact a greater perspective of our very fortunate reality here at home.

Taking lessons from those around you and people who have gone before you is a key component to having a growth mindset so you can constantly progress. It may be from your parents, teammate, or yes… even your cricket coach! Basically, anyone that genuinely cares and wants to help and has provided constructive & thoughtful feedback.

There is always an opportunity to learn, a stance that another esteemed AFL coach Kevin Sheedy took with him throughout his coaching career. (Yes, different sports can learn from each other). The Olympics is yet another example of self-sacrifice and dedication on display from some of the world’s and Australia's finest athletes. 

Overcoming adversity isn’t just a part of sport, but life and our greater purpose. Sport can provide unlimited lessons we can draw from team success, individual persistence, failure, and advancing yourself even when you feel stuck. I encourage you to find your limits and push them to get the absolute most out of yourself.


Now take a pen and paper, find a quiet space and ask yourself the following questions. Take your time.

  1. What is my purpose?
  2. What am I doing well?
  3. What areas can I improve on?
  4. How can I help impact others around me in a positive way?
  5. What are some aspects that I find challenging / confronting and how can I begin to overcome them? 


The key to this is to be as specific as possible with your approach. Do not be blasè, general, or ambivalent. Dig deep and be honest with yourself. Even if it’s simple - if it’s making a change for the better you will reap the benefits, I guarantee you.

After reading Michael Holding’s book, ‘Why We Kneel, How We Rise’, it shook me into taking on board these inspiring events. It humbled me to the gravity of history and how learning from those gone before can help you remain focused and clear on what’s important in life. 

Disclaimer! If you do not practice a skill daily, you’ll never be able to master it. If you don’t progress and challenge yourself - you won’t improve. It’s all well and good to have a go at something and see a positive change. If you are serious, dedicated, and can find enjoyment in it - this is what brings long-term reward for effort. 

However, if you aren’t willing to stick with something, develop it, improve, learn, fail and constantly chip away at your goals - you will stall and end up right back where you started. 

Helpful hint: it’s not about doing one-off remarkable activities or achievements. Consistent and deliberate effort each and every day & ‘controlling the controllables’ will land you in the right place. You’ve just got to get stuck in and never let the desire halt. 


If you’re looking for some activities to do at home, check out our ACI Wellbeing program on YouTube we ran for kids right around the world last year: 


Seb Contos









Article Author: Seb Contos

National Programs Manager

Australian Cricket Institute

Representative cricket is considered to be the pinnacle for young players beginning their cricketing journey. It introduces many of them to ability-based selection for the first time, and those who are picked are exposed to high calibre players, coaches and facilities. 

However, the strong competition for places in rep squads means that inevitably most children who trial will miss out. Whilst this is undoubtedly disappointing for the individuals impacted, like any setback in life it should remain just that, a setback. Disappointment provides opportunities for reflection, perspective and growth, and improved outcomes in the long-term. 

So, how can parents assist their children to maintain a positive outlook after missing rep selection? 


The great thing about sport is there is always another chance just around the corner! 

If your child is on the cusp of playing rep cricket then they are already likely to be playing club cricket and performing quite well, so it is crucial that parents encourage their children in this environment. Obviously, missing out on a rep team shouldn’t directly impact upon other passions and commitments, so it is up to parents to provide their child with the encouragement they need to continue their other activities.


The road to representative consideration shouldn’t be forgotten. Your child has clearly excelled in their club or school cricket and by prompting them to reflect upon this a sense of achievement can be born, where it was perhaps lacking after missing selection. 

Identification of achievement and progression is also crucial to your child regaining trust in the efforts and processes they have undertaken to reach this point. A quick return to a growth and opportunity focused mindset through resilience will prepare a young player for future setbacks and can only be positive for long-term development. 


It is a saying that is so simple, and yet so powerful. When a young player misses out on representative selection an instinct may be to direct anger towards the coaches, or the overall process. However, this cannot change the situation. 

On the other hand, we all have the ability to influence the future and by encouraging your child to focus their energy on improving skills and training smarter, your child will put themself in the best possible position to improve their selection outcome next time. 

Through practice, this can become part of a healthy growth mindset and will be an automatic response to seemingly negative events. At the end of the day, this is the best path towards goal achievement and self-betterment. 


Thankfully, in the present day, there are many developed and accessible pathways in the Australian cricket system. So, after missing out on selection it is important that you ensure your child is given this perspective. 

There will always be another opportunity, whether it's through future representative competitions, school cricket, junior club cricket or senior cricket, and young players should never feel constrained by a lack of opportunity. In fact, without an understanding of possible pathways players will often place much more pressure on themselves to perform, resulting in reduced performance. 

As mentioned previously, if your child has had the opportunity to challenge for a rep squad then they are definitely in the conversation to play at a higher level; as long as they maintain their belief and passion there will be a next chance sooner rather than later. 


It’s easy to feel lost or anxious when events don’t go the way we planned, however much of this stress can be relieved if there is clarity about the future and a clear path ahead. 

Young players are far more likely to be optimistic for the future after missing a rep team if they can establish goals and methods of achieving these that are specific, realistic and achievable. It is important that these goals don't necessarily just focus on making future teams, but aim more specifically at holistic improvement. This kind of roadmap will instil confidence and reiterate to your child that there are many different ways of measuring success. 

Parents have a vital role to play in supporting their children throughout their journey in cricket, whether it be celebrating their achievements or encouraging them through more difficult periods. 

Representative cricket may be a great experience, but missing out is not the end of the world and the experience of not making a squad can ultimately have a hugely beneficial impact in the long run.

Guest Author: Josh Nevett

Below, guest blogger and ACI Coach, Josh Nevett gives us his 3 main reasons to seek professional coaching for your child.

Every parent wants the best for their child, and this is no different when it comes to helping them pursue their cricketing dreams! Whilst local club and school cricket can expose young players to highly experienced and skilled coaches, it is very difficult for these coaches to fully invest themselves in individual players in this setting. 

So, where do we turn for that personal touch? The professionals of course! Here are some of the reasons that professional coaching makes for a great addition to the holistic development of a junior cricketer. 


Every player is unique, and it is pivotal that they are treated as such through targeted analysis and coaching. 

Professional coaches bring a weight of experience and knowledge that allows them to recognise certain characteristics within players that may not be noticed in a local cricket club setting. For example, elements of technique and personality traits can be acknowledged and, therefore, the coach is able to help a player within their own personal nature. As the Australian run-machine, Steve Smith has shown, being unconventional is not something to discourage! 

Rather than pressuring young players into conforming with the batting ‘textbook’, top-level coaches look to harness difference when it can contribute to overall development, shaping juniors into players who are confident in their personal set of skills. After all, new competitions and formats such as the IPL and ‘The Hundred’ have created an environment where the innovators of world cricket are able to thrive and are often the most successful!

Further, feedback from leading coaches always revolves around the goal of developing the best cricketer possible. There is no danger of coaches playing favourites in this setting; each individual is provided with information that has the players best interests at heart.

This is evident in the ACI’s implementation of video analysis into its programs, the camera never lies! How can you best demonstrate to a player the areas of strength or weakness in their game? By allowing them to see it with their own eyes. It is this level of attention to detail that serves as a contributor to efficient coaching sessions and in turn, (the outcome we’re always after) better matchday performance.


Whilst cricket can essentially be reduced down to taking wickets and scoring runs, it is an understanding of the complexities of the game that can boost a developing players achievement and enjoyment within the sport to the next level. 

In the setting of club cricket, there is only a relatively small window of time available for teams to train and therefore key aspects of cricket such as tactical awareness, mental preparation and physical conditioning are neglected in favour of net-based skills training. This net training is useful for maximising the volume of practice in a large group, however, it doesn’t prepare players for match scenarios. 

Tactical awareness is about establishing specific plans which can produce desired results on a regular basis. Tactics are needed to provide clear purpose and direction on the field; clarity of the mind is crucial to the execution of fundamental skills such as bowling the desired areas and selecting the appropriate shots to play as a batsman.

Professional coaches are able to prepare players mentally by determining their personal areas of fear, anxiety or stress surrounding the game and providing strategies to combat these inhibiting states. Creating an optimal headspace also involves boosting positive thoughts and emotions, so aspects of mindset such as confidence, achievement and calmness are also explored.

Thirdly, physical conditioning is essential to any successful cricket training regime as the modern player needs to be able to perform at high intensities, recover quickly and prevent injury. Specialised coaches are aware of this and make sure growing athletes are well equipped with fitness programs that are not just effective, but also fun!

From this it is clear that the environment created within a professional coaching setting allows for these not so well covered elements of cricket to be explored and, therefore, young players are able to get the maximum value out of the skills they already have.


Professional coaches understand this and, therefore, are creative in forming training programs that players can undertake anywhere and at any time. The learning never stops.

This is contrary to the common status quo in local cricket, which is to train for a couple of hours, one night per week leading into matches. Whether its batting drills for the backyard or learning resources that teach key elements of technique and mindset, professional coaches are able to meet the demand of hungry young players who simply can’t get enough of this great game! 

This also ensures that the hard work undertaken during in-person coaching is not lost or forgotten between sessions, fostering a process of continuous growth. A consistent approach allows each session to become a progression on the last which is the ideal environment for improvement to take place and learning to be maximised. 

The ACI also incorporates a strong emphasis on reflection into its programs, encouraging players to look back on their time spent engaged in cricket in all settings to better understand how to get the most out of themselves.  

The culmination of this is young cricketers who are driven, consistent and self-aware, a combination of traits which can be seen in the greats of the modern game.

Registration for the ACI's 2020/21 - Foundation (8 to 10 year-olds), Junior (11 to 14 year-olds), and Youth (15 to 17 year-olds) Academy Programs are now open. For more information please register your interest here