Are you driven enough to be consistent batsmen?
It's an important question because inner-drive starts you towards cricket consistency. Most consistent batsmen are driven to keep going in every circumstance from when it's easy to when it's impossibly difficult.
For example, imagine you are 15 years old and trying to get into a school first team. You will be playing against mostly guys that are three or four years older, far more physically developed and better players. You will be overawed. Do you back away and try again a year later, or do you think it doesn't matter because you will be playing against guys that are better at some point, so it might as well be now?
Inner drive lets you see this moment as a stepping stone and a challenge to overcome.
Of course even with inner drive you will have days where it goes wrong.
Even gun batsmen get bad times. The really good ones assume it will turn around at some stage. Even with bad scores they continue to feel relaxed and not putting pressure on themselves.
The less expectations you put on yourself and the less you think about the future. When you are focused on the moment your mind is clear, you have great confidence and you are ready to excel.
A big part of that is self-awareness: how you respond in certain cricket situations. Of course knowing this alone is not enough, you also need to develop a plan around how you react if you don't get the result that you want. But you can start by asking yourself some key questions,
- Have you ever regretted the way you reacted to something negative (getting out, having a bad practice session)? If so, what happened? What would you change about that negative reaction if you could?
- Have you ever reacted well to something negative? If so, what happened and what can you do to make sure you repeat this attitude?
- How do you react when things are going well? Does this work for you or do you need to change it?
How does understanding yourself translate to consistency?
If you work on the wrong things or the things that aren't important or the things that don't contribute to performance success, it's wasting your time. That's number one problem that I see with players and coaches. We are all working on something that doesn't matter or it has very little relevance on the end result.
So, instead of mindless technique or ball hitting, work on your approach and game plan. Make sure every situation you are in has you feeling comfortable enough to allow your skills to take over.
Practice for consistency
Before each practice, work out the purpose of the net session. You don't want to waste a net session or go through the motions because you will not achieve anything valuable from your practice.
Be sure and set up the session to best meet your goals. if you are working on playing the short ball, have a consistent way to feed the ball at your head so you can work on getting your arms extended and your hips driving.
Whatever your goal, concentrate on one facet of the shot. Work on it relentlessly with feedback from where the ball went. Groove your movements so, come the match, you don't have to think about it.
That said, before even starting a technical session, consider if there something more important that you can be working on instead of technique.
Is there something that is holding you back that is not about making big technical changes?
Often this is as simple as working out how to relax, watch the ball and let your reactions take over. Being able to do that means your technique will be right automatically. It’s almost like you are teaching yourself not to think, it’s a mental technique.
So, bat in the nets with a scenario in mind, know your game plan and try to put it into action with a clear mind.
To assess as you go, take a moment after the ball was bowled to assess your shot.
Was it the right shot?
Was it the right ball?
If yes, carry on, replay the shot next time. That's imprinting your game plan deep in your mind. Then switch back to focusing on the bowler's hand and just reacting.
If no, consider what you will do differently next time and, again, clear your mind to focus on the ball.
After the session, make sure you review it as a whole and start planning for the next one.
Over time this process will lead to more consistency, more runs and more cricket success.
- Consistency is fueled by inner-drive.
- Understanding your reaction to good and bad moments is key to batting success.
- Practice with a purpose and constantly reflect on your performance.