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.