Psychology | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

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.

Quickly Become a Better Cricketer with a Review Drill

Train hard; get better. Do your drills. It's a simple mantra, but it's missing a crucial part of the process of practice to improve. Cricketing technique, tactics and mental strength require one more "drill".


By thinking of review as a drill, and reflecting on your practice and games, you will get better faster. You will even get better between practice sessions. It works by giving you a feedback loop that has been proven to boost skills faster than anything else. It gives direction to your training, encouragement that things are working and confidence that you can repeat the right skill at the right time.

Yet, most of us don't bother much with it.

How to Coach Confidence and Reduce Anxiety

Nomaan sent in a great question to the Pitchvision Cricket Show last week. It revolved around his lack of confidence, increased anxiety levels and being unable to transfer his considerable practice skills into a match context.

Ultimately he had lost "that loving feeling" for the game.

What to Do When Your Cricket Talent Is Not Getting You Selected

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One of the more common frustrations we hear at PitchVision is the talented player who is not given a chance to prove his ability.

Perhaps you feel you are the victim of this bias.

The men who make the decisions somehow have it in for you or - more often - favour someone else above you for reason that are not about cricket. You can't prove that corruption is happening, but you hear things said and see lesser players chosen above you and become convinced. The coach might tell you it's because the better man was chosen, but you know politics, money or even race lie at the heart of a choice.

It's enough to dishearten the honest, hard-working and talented player.

Don't give up yet, friend. There is hope.

You are not alone. There are inspiring stories of players in your exact position that have gone on to overcome bias and become a cricketer. We can learn from the example.

Overcome Cricket Nerves with a Mental Net

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One of the biggest problems faced by cricketers is the nerves before playing. But what if I told you worrying in the right way is perfect for getting you through a tough game?

We all worry, and that worry is usually fearing the worst. Everyone has had the moment where they wonder if they will get out first ball. It's usually around the time you are in next. It's uncomfortable and it makes you nervy at the crease, stopping you play your natural game.

So, switch the worry to focus on what you can do instead.

You can still worry, it's just you can make it productive instead of being filled with panic.