Heart in the Oven, Head in the Fridge: Coaching Control in Critical Game Moments

The next element in our guide to recognising and developing mental toughness in our players relates to "Critical Moment Control" (CMC).

What is CMC? It's often described by the quote "heart in the oven and head in the fridge".

Players high in CMC always make the right judgements under pressure. Not only do they make the right decisions, they also follow through and deliver the goods: Clear mind, clear thinking, and unwavering execution.

These players control the situation with a strong mind: The situation does not control them. They show skilful thinking, skilful risk taking, and skilful execution. Each one is a great player to have around when it comes to finishing games off.

What to do at Open Cricket Nets

How do you train when the coach or captain says "do what you like, just get something meaningful done"?

Modern coaches are all about giving players freedom to train. This means you need to be self-reliant as a player and work out your own training, even at group sessions. Yet often I see players given freedom and unsure what to do with it. They end up with a half-hearted warm up and getting a few throw downs under the guise of "getting my eye in".

We can do better than that.

So, the next time you have to direct your own training, if there is a coach there or not, here is what to do.

Creating New Pontings: Coaching Inner Drive

Last week I introduced the 4 elements that define mental toughness. Today we move on to understanding and developing "Inner Drive".

Players scoring high on inner drive are completely self-motivated individuals in any given situation.

The Surprising Lessons Learned From This Crazy Batting Experiment

When you strive for the edge you hear a lot of new ideas. "Sensory development" is one of these ideas. On the PitchVision Academy Cricket Show we often ask questions like, "Does eye training really work, or is it a myth?" and "Can we improve our communication methods by removing our auditory systems?"

All very good questions, but when I tested them, in a series of training sessions recently, I wasn't interested in answering any of these questions.

What was I doing?

How to Develop Fighting Cricketers

When someone says that a player is or isn’t mentally tough I always reply with "what is mental toughness"?

This was a question that was asked to England's best players back in the mid-2000s by Dr Steve Bull and his Sports Psychology team. The findings of those discussions ultimately split the subject of mental toughness into 4 sub-categories: Fight, Inner Drive, Critical Moment Control and Resilience

By breaking the huge subject down, we are able to attribute characteristics that define each of these 4 sub-categories. As coaches, we can make interventions and build strategies into our planning that help to develop and challenge these capacities with our players and teams.

So let's take "fight" and delve a little deeper into the associated characteristics:

Improve Slip Catching with This Lesson from Old England

Ex-England coach Duncan Fletcher loves slip catching practice. He comes alive as he edges the ball to the slip cordon and encourages the players to strive for more consistency, more commitment and ultimately, more brilliance.

But it was not always the case. Fletch inherited a slip cordon in 2000 that was less than brilliant. He told me that many of the players were happy to let the ball bounce just infront of them instead of diving forward and attempting the catch.

He used to call poor commitment to this kind of ball "Old England" .

Dare You Use This Terrifying Batting Drill?

This is a guest posted drill from Laurie Ward of Complete Cricketer Academy.

This is the most terrifying batting drill you will ever experience. We call it "The Nazgul" because in Lord of the Rings, nothing is as scary as a Nazgul!

For the coach, it brings out the inner sadist. For the players, it's a way to work on hitting the ball into the right areas, even when you are exhausted and just want it to stop. It won't because there is no respite.

And also for that reason, we are careful about who we put through the pain. We do this with older junior and senior players with a of fitness and cricket, and some signs of mental strength. To help with motivation - which you will need - we have a league table and benchmark the levels.

So what is this awful experience?

Use the Imaginary Tunnel to Boost This Batting Style

Have you noticed that some batters set up differently?

Bent knees and a slightly wider base are notable in Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Smith and Gary Ballance. They move completely differently. Their movements don't relate to those coaching words and terms that I have often been exposed to in during my 22 year coaching career.

How do you coach players like this when they struggle with technical issues?

At the Nets with an Android Phone: Try HTC Zoe for Convenient Video Analysis

Filed in:

Here's a really simple trick to get a lot more out of your net practice without the worry of setting up a camera: HTC Zoe.

Zoe is an app that works on Google's Android system phones that takes 5 second video clips. It's a manual way to copy the automatic functionality of PV/ONE: You can capture video of batting and bowling just by hitting record. Then once you have the video, you can pick out high quality still images that get taken at the same time. From here you can really highlight any technical points.

You can then get to drilling out flaws, and being smug about your strengths.

The Chanderpaul Manipulation Drill: One of the Best Bowling Machine Drills I Nearly Forgot

Andrew Strauss reminded today of a brilliant bowling machine drill which we were introduced to by Shiv Chanderpaul.

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