Psychology | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Look the Part: How Your Image Makes You a Better Cricketer

Here's an inconvenient truth: Your image is important to your cricket.

Naturally, results always come first. It doesn't matter what you look like if you are scoring hundreds then bowling out the opposition top six before catching the rest at slip. But if want a chance, you absolutely have to "look and act the part".

How to Become a High-Class Spin Bowler: A Complete Masterplan

What goes into becoming an excellent spinner? It's a question raised recently by this article looking at what England need to do to improve their spin stock. What can you learn from these ideas to take into your spin bowling?

How to Bowl Perfect Line and Length

Let me ask you something; how much better a bowler would you be if you could hit a perfect line and length?

It's a challenge that takes a lifetime to master, and a road that is littered with distractions.

Embrace the Bumpy Road to Develop Cricketers

I have regular conversations with parents and players about their cricket development (or lack of it). Some of those conversations are instigated by the parent or the player yet I would say that over 70% are arranged by the coaching staff at Millfield.

Failure is Good: How to Use Your Cricket Mistakes Positively

As a cricketer, success is easy to see: Runs, wickets and victories. If you fail you have done badly. And while winning is the ultimate point, the way to get there is by embracing your failures.

We all fail. Perfection is impossible. What is possible is how you react to the failure. You can learn from your mistakes and become a stronger player because of the failure. In fact, this method is so powerful that really good players build failure into their training deliberately. Rather than avoiding errors, they are embracing it as a way to free themselves from the tyranny of achieving perfection.

How to Captain: Placing the Fielders

This is part three of a series on how to captain in the field. To go to part one click here. To go back to the introduction click here.

Along with bowling changes, field placing is the other obvious part of captaincy in the field.

The simple way to look at it is to put the fielders where you think the ball is most likely to go (not always just where it has gone).

How do you do that without resorting to the stock fields that everyone uses?

Before we get into that, a word about orthodox fields: They are orthodox because they have been proven to work over the test of time. Slips remain in place because batsmen through the ages continue to edge the ball wide of the wicketkeeper. Mid on and mid off exist because even the most extreme Twenty20 specialists play shots with a straight bat sometimes.

That said it's important not to mindlessly follow what you consider the norm. Just because every captain in your club starts the game with a couple of slips, a gulley and a saving one field it does not mean you should.

For the basic theory of field placing take a look at my article here.

Once you have that in your mind, let's go back to the basic aim of field placing: Putting your players where you think the ball will go.

How Much Practice Does It Really Take to Become a Cricketer?

Go to nets, do your drills and play cricket. These are the steps to improving your skills. But how much time does it really take to make it as a cricketer?

One answer looked at in the last 10 years is 10,000 hours: A number plucked off the back of a study into top class violists, and popularised by authors like Malcolm Gladwell and Geoff Colvin. The idea has since been expanded to cricket. People have stated that simply training every day for 10 years will take you to of the cricket tree.

Hard work, yes, but you know what you need to do. It's been proven by science.

I got 10,000 problems

Except, in recent times, the headline of "10,000 hours" has demotivating to people who play club and school cricket. Most of us can't dedicate so much time to the game. If you train, on average, four hours a month, mastery will take 208 years!

Batting Tips: Score More Runs with Unfair Net Practice

Here's a problem: Batting is unfair, batting practice is too fair.

What do I mean?

The biggest frustration of batting is getting out. One mistake and it's over, even if it's the first ball you have faced of the season. Yet when we go to a net practice we all do 10-20 minutes no matter what happens and walk away satisfied that we got a good hit.

The problem, then, is when you practice you feel no pressure and when you bat in a game you feel all the pressure. There is a huge disconnect and your practice time is wasted. It leads to losing focus, playing poor shots and fewer runs.

The solution is simple: make practice unfair.

Keep Fighting: A Cricketer's Guide to Motivation

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It was the summer of 2009. My club side had romped to victory in the league.

I could not have had a more demotivating season.

In fact, I was more motivated a couple of seasons later when the same side finished dead bottom of the division and were on the opposite side of weekly drubbings.

I'm not crazy.

It's a common situation because motivation is about far more than how you do as a player or a team.

When you know this, you can make changes to stay motivated through the whole year, even when things are not going as planned.

How to Bat During a Horrifying Innings Collapse

I know you don't like to think about it - nobody does - but there will be times where your innings has collapsed and you are at the crease. If you have the right approach, you can see this as your moment to shine.

Picture the scene in your mind: The let's say the score is 140-7 in 40 overs.

There are 10 to go and you are batting first. You know a winning score on this ground is close to 230. Numbers nine, 10 and 11 are all tail-enders who can hang about but are not going to score a match winning innings.

You have two options.