So your child has just finished their cricket season…now what?

How did they go?

Killed it…great!

Or maybe not so well, maybe they’re finishing the season with feelings of frustration after not being picked in the team they wanted, not scoring enough runs or not taking enough wickets.

First things first, whether they had a good or bad season, before they take a little break away from the game and go play other sports or just give their body a rest (both of which we recommend), they need to go through the process of reviewing their season.

Most players don’t and won’t do it but self-reflection is one of the greatest ways for a player to gain an understanding of their game and ultimately become a better player.

At the ACI, we teach our Junior Academy players and get them in the habit of self reflecting after every training session, every camp, every game….

So by the time the season ends, this process is a breeze.

As a parent of a player, I highly recommend that you encourage your child to self reflect and review their season, and even help them go through the process. Talk it out with them and help them understand the importance and reasoning behind each step.

Self reflection is a lot more difficult and confronting if they’ve had a poor season but it’s even more important then.

Photo Above: Brisbane ACI Junior Academy players self reflecting with Chris Lynn

Here’s a 3 step process to go through with your child for their end of season review…

Look At Their Stats. Compare Them To Last Season And Their Goals.

Most of the time stats are a fairly good reflection on how their season has gone. If they had ambitions to become a more consistent player, then here is the true nuts and bolts of it. 

Stats don’t lie and yes they can sometimes be confronting but we want to coach players to own everything that happens to them, not just in cricket but off the field as well.

Did they achieve their goals from the start of the season?

How have they gone compared to last season?

Take note of any improvements that they’ve made, whether that is strike rate/more wickets/economy rates etc.

Take notes of any areas that they’ve not achieved their goals or have gone backwards from last season.

Once you’ve compared their stats take the time to ask them, think about and discuss with them why they improved in the areas they did and why they declined in the areas they did.

It’s really important to understand that sometimes goals may not be achieved. There are a lot of uncontrollable’s in cricket, it could be due to injury, bad form, weather, opportunity.

But there’s a lot of things you can control and that’s what we want to focus on.

Work ethic, training habits, preparation, diet, fitness, habits.

So teach them to be honest with themselves when they’re reviewing their stats and why they are the way they are.

The reality is sometimes things aren’t going to go your way, but still look at the positives. They may not have hit 500 runs or taken 30 wickets but there will be areas of their game that have improved, and that alone is still worth noting.

TIP: Don’t gloss over area’s that have declined (a lot of players do). Note these as they will be a vital part of their plan going into preseason!

 

 Seek Feedback From Their Coach/Captain/Teammates.

Encourage them to ask a couple of players, coaches or their captain that they look up to, respect and trust to catch up for a chat and give them some honest feedback.

A great way to get reliable feedback from someone who they’ve been working with all year is to write out some questions before they meet with them so that person has a clear picture of exactly what they’re seeking feedback on and it will also allow them to give really specific answers.

Your child should send the questions to the coach/player before they meet to give them time to think about it and give detailed, well thought out answers.

Here are some examples of questions your child can ask…

What has been my most reliable trait/skill this season in your opinion?What have I really improved on?

What areas do I need to work on?

How did you view my season as a whole?Is there anything specific that our team is looking out for that I may be able to work on and fill the void for next season?

Do you see my role changing next year?

Help your child go through the process of writing out their questions but encourage them to think of their own great questions.

If your child hasn't had an end of season review I thoroughly suggest that you encourage them to set up a time to recap with  at least their coach. (It’s also great to get a teammates perspective)

If it’s not a normal process for your child’s club/team, I can guarantee you their coach will be very happy that they’re taking the initiative towards improving their game and more than happy to help.

It’s really important to take notes or get their coach to email them the feedback.

Having the feedback written down means they won’t forget what was said in the review, and will make it a lot easier to then set goals and plan their preseason in the coming months.

Collate All The Information They Have Received And Agree On a Plan Of Attack.

Okay so you’ve looked through their stats with them, they’ve got some great feedback and been really honest with themselves about why they went well in some areas and not so well in others.

Now it’s time to put a plan in place with the help of their coach and that plan starts now!

How long they’re going to have away from the game.

What they’re going to do in the off season.

When they’re going to start preseason.

Exactly what they’re going to do during the off season and preseason to improve all four pillars of their game.

What specifically are they going to do to improve their technical skills? (skills sessions, drills, how many sessions a week, when will they start, how will it progress closer to the season)

What specifically are they going to do to improve their mental skills? (journaling, visualising, breathing techniques, practicing under distraction)

What specifically are they going to do to improve physically? (fitness plan, nutrition habits, stretching)

How are they going to improve tactically? (watching cricket, asking experienced players)

All four pillars provide the foundation for your child to become the best player they can be.

Neglect one and it’ll effect the other 3.

They should have a very clear picture of the areas they really need to work on as well as their strengths that they want to double down on.

Create a clear and specific plan to have them primed for round one later on this year.

Let me just finish by saying this…IT’S NOT EASY

But success, bar for a few rare exceptions, doesn’t come easy.

As a parent you’re in a great position to mould that mindset into your child.

You’ll need to explain to them that it’s not going to happen overnight but if they really want it, good habits like reviewing, planning and executing performed consistently over a long period of time will get them great results.

If you’d like the ACI to help coach these habits into your child and have their best season ever, we’ve opened up early bird interest in our Junior Academy Programs all over Australia.

 

 

Well done on a great season, enjoy the break and it’ll all be upon us again soon!

Authors: Nick Fitzpatrick and Joel Hamilton - ACI Co Founders and Coaches.

Dear Cricket Mum,

Now that the season is wrapping up, I wanted to write you a letter...

A letter to let you know how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me this season.

Cricket mum, I know your efforts often go un recognised, but let me assure you they don’t go unnoticed.

First of all, thanks for making sure I’m always organised!

If it wasn’t for you helping me pack my whites and lunch I’d be playing in shorts, wearing no socks and going hungry every Saturday.

Thank you for the time you sacrifice…

Sitting in the car while I train or under a tree while I play.

I know, I know…”why does cricket have to be such a long game?”

And you “could be doing so many other things on your Saturdays”

I appreciate that you choose to sacrifice your time to come and support me and watch me play the game I love.

Thanks for the amount of travel you’re prepared to do to get me to training and games.

We sure do some kilometres! I do like car trips with you though.

Thanks for always making sure I’ve got my hat (even though I lose it every week) and for making sure I don’t miss any spots with sunscreen.

I know I’ll probably pay more attention to sun safety when I’m older, but for now you do a great job!

Thank you from me, and my team mates, for all the yummy treats you bring to games!

Lollies (snakes are my favourite), afternoon teas and oranges to keep us going.

You always seem to have a back up supply of water and gatorade when I run out as well!

Thanks for the money you spend on me.

I know cricket is an expensive sport.

Season fees, extra coaching plus new gear!

Thank you for not always letting me get the new gear I want as well. Otherwise we’d be getting a new bat every couple of months.

Even though I don’t show it at the time, I understand why that is silly.

Thanks for putting up with me when I’m in a bad mood after cricket.

I know it’s not your fault even though I sometimes take it out on you. You even help me with my gear sometimes when I’m in a bad mood…

I’m old enough to carry my own gear now, I’ll try not to let that happen.

Thanks mum for always making sure my whites are sparkling and don’t have any holes in them.

I know it’s a real pain to get those grass stains out.

I should be thinking of you when I dive for the ball when I don’t need to….but I don’t so I’m sorry about that.

Most of all mum…

Thanks for loving me and treating me the same no matter what happens on the field.

I try so hard to make you proud, when I fail I feel like I’m letting you down.

I know you don’t think that but those are the things that go through my head.

So thanks for helping me to understand that cricket is just a game and that I don’t need to get upset about it.

I love that you can take my mind off cricket.

I love that no matter what happens I’m still great in your eyes.

Thanks for a great season mum! Let’s do it all again soon.

Love you.

From every cricket son and daughter around the country.

P.S. Mum, I'd love to train with the Australian Cricket Institute this year - you can find out more about how I can do that here.

Author - Nick Fitzpatrick 

ACI Co Founder and Coach.

Parenting is a tough gig! (So I've heard haha!)

Throw sport into the mix and it becomes even tougher. There’s no question that everything you do has your child’s best interest at heart. Sometimes in getting caught up wanting the best for their child, parents can behave in a way that is harmful to their child's love for the game. Here’s my top 5....

1. Pushing your child too hard.

Kids are no different from adults, they need a break. Give them a break away from school, away from cricket…just to be a kid. It’ll freshen them up, keep them interested and improve their performance. Let them (and their mentor, see #3) push themselves, they’ll do a good enough job of it without you jumping in.

 If you’re constantly telling them to work harder, train more…you’ll take the love out of it and they’ll end up hating the game. It’s much better coming from within themselves or a professional mentor.

2. Over doing it at games.

If you go to watch you child, find a spot out of the way and sit there and watch. Don’t be that parent that tries to coach them from the sidelines or in front of the team. Don’t be that parent that annoys the coach asking when your child is going to bat or bowl, or telling them how to coach. Definitely don’t be that parent that yells abuse to the umpire and opposition from the sideline. Sit in the shade and enjoy the game.

3. Trying to coach them yourself.

I think there must be something biologically ingrained in teenagers, especially at that age, not to listen to their parents (I’m sure you’ve experienced it). They’ll hang off every word you say until a certain age…and then, not interested!

Don’t take it to heart. It’s not you, like I said, I’m sure every child goes through it. Instead of trying to coach your child yourself, look for the right mentors. Look for mentors that can guide your child in not only becoming a better player but also a better person. It might be one person, it might be a few but your child needs that support network.

Of course you’ll play a part in mentoring them, they’re your child, but if you try to do it all on your own, they’ll likely lose interest in the game5

4. Showing disappointment or even worse, anger. (#1 biggest and most common mistake)

Of course you want your child to succeed.

But know that your child’s world revolves around impressing you.

When I was a junior, all I wanted to do was score a hundred so I could go home and tell mum and dad (well they were usually at the game, but you know what I mean).

When I failed, my parent’s didn’t bat an eye lid. They kept smiling, encouraged me to learn from it, then spoke about something else (see #6). And that was so refreshing and actually helped me learn to separate the game from my external life, which is an important ability. You don’t want to be taking your failures home, to school, or work as an adult.

You’ll never understand to what extent your love and acceptance means to your child.

Never show your disappointment and ABSOLUTELY never get angry at them for failing. They are already hurting inside.

If you do, they’ll end up hating the game.

5. Using guilt on them.

Have your “guilt gland” removed. This will help you avoid phrases like “I’ve got better things to do with my time” and “Do you realise how much I have had to give up for you to play cricket”. Everyone loses when you play the guilt game.

If you’ve made the decision to let them play cricket. Support them 100%

Put the guilt trip on them and they’ll end up hating the game.

In concluding…

At the end of the day, you’re the most influential figure in your child's development as a cricketer. I’m sure everything you do has your child's best interest at heart. This guide is likely just a reminder but stay on top of these 5 destructive behaviours and you’ll go a long way to creating a fun and supportive environment that encourages your child's love for the game.

We sat down with Brisbane Heat star Chris Lynn to get an insight into what he believe's is important to be successful.

Q. One thing I’ve noticed about guys that make it to the next level (state or national) is their training habits. What are your thoughts on that?

A. It’s definitely the extras that get you there. If you’re at club training and you’re only batting twice a week for 10 minutes, you’re only batting for 20 minutes a week so how do you expect to have the concentration to then go and bat for 30, 40 or even 60 minutes in a match? So is 20 minutes a week cutting it for you? I guarantee you, the guys that score runs on the weekend consistently don’t settle for 20 minutes a week…they’re doing hours of work outside of scheduled training hours.

Q. I guess when you make it to the professional level it gets a lot easier to do the extra’s because that becomes your sole focus, but the journey to getting there is where the hard work is put in?

A. Yes it’s definitely a lot tougher because you have other things to do and don’t have as much time. If you want it enough then you’ll find the time to do the extras. Try to find someone with the same level of ambition as you and pair up with them. Push each other, challenge each other and hold each other accountable. Do everything you can to make that next level.

Q. What do you say to the people listening or reading that say “It’s easy for you, you’re a professional player and have the time and support”?

A. Yes it’s challenging, you only generally have two scheduled sessions a week. But the other 5 afternoons of the week I was doing work. I was in the back yard or at the nets. Sometimes without pads, making up games and scenarios etc. Just hitting as many balls as I could and learning my own game.

For me, that was fun. I was with my mates, competing and learning. I guess that’s where my competitiveness came from…games in the back yard or at the nets. If you love the game and have fun, it’s not ‘training’…you’re doing it because you enjoy doing it.

Q. How early did you realise that those two 10 minute bats per week weren’t going to cut it?

A. As you get older, the days and games get longer. It’s sink or swim…you have to learn to bat for longer periods of time and as I said, training yourself to bat 10 minutes twice a week simply won’t do the job. If you want to bat for longer, you have to practice doing so at training. Same goes for bowlers. If you want to bowl faster for longer, you have to practice it, and not just at night during training, do some extra sessions during the day when it’s hot and more challenging.

The way I looked at it, I love batting, so why wouldn’t I bat for as long as I can (or for as long as someone will bowl to me).

The easiest way to get your extras in is to arrive at training an hour early with a mate and work on YOUR game and what you want to work on that week before the team session starts.

Q. At the top level, what’s the intensity and work ethic like?

A. Having trained at club level and international level, you can tell so easily why those players are playing for their country. They go into sessions with a purpose. They’re not just hitting balls for the sake of hitting them. They walk into training knowing exactly what they want to work on and what they want out of the session, then rip in 100% to tick every box in that 2 hour session.

The other difference is, there’s a real competitive vibe at professional training. Guys are really pushing and challenging each other and that’s great for the team. It’s your job to be a leader at club level to drive that at training and get everyone up and moving in the same direction.

There you have it…Chris's thoughts on the drive, commitment and efforts it takes at training to set yourself apart.

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.