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.

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.

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:

Stop Panicking About Your Accuracy, It's Totally Fine.

Recently we have had a spate of spinners on PitchVision Academy worrying about their accuracy. From around the world, the same messages come through, "I bowl too full", "I bowl too many short balls", "I get taken off by the captain for bowling down the leg side".

Quick Tip: Mental Toughness or Mental Peace?

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Rohit Sharma, on returning from injury, said "my mental peace is my biggest strength". Interesting choice of a verb, that.

Why didn't the Indian international go for "toughness"? Most players would.

We can only speculate. Yet, it seems to me that Rohit has a good handle on his mental make-up. He keeps his head while others lose theirs. He is not the berserker in battle like Dale Steyn. His mind is ice.

How to Become a Self-Sufficient Cricketer

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Do you need a coach to be a good cricketer?

Shane Warne didn't think so. He was famous for scoffing at coaching and encouraging players to rely on themselves to get better. He had a point. No one can help you once you walk onto the field, can they? You might as well learn how to do it yourself.

So what does the self reliant cricketer look like?

How to Prepare for a Cricket Trial

Trials are unique: The feeling of nervousness on arrival, the pressure of your first delivery and - hopefully -the feeling of excitement as they crunch a pull shot from the “big lad”.

Here are a few tips. They may not revolutionise your stats at the end of the season, but will install a game plan, or a little structure to your trial. Possibly taking you from a player who just missed out, to the one that snuck in the back door.

Study Reveals Why You Played That Stupid Shot... and Why You Can't Believe You Did It

Jordan Finney underwent research into the mental side of batting. In this article he explains what he found in his study, and how you can apply his findings when you are under pressure as a batsman.

What does the batting powerplay tell us about cricket at every level of the game?

It is obvious that increasing the number of fielders placed in 30 yard circle will cut down singles and make boundaries a more effective way of scoring. There should be no reason why batsmen cannot clear the 30 yard circle at least.

Yet since the introduction of the batting powerplay, it has been more effective for the bowling side, with the number of wickets taken during this period increasing noticeably.

This provided me with food for thought for my study.

Taking a Break: When Less Cricket is Better

Cricket is awesome. More cricket is more awesome, right?

Wrong.

If you want to be a cricketer, there is a balance to be had between playing, practising and doing something else completely. We know from the top level that burnout is a very real issue.

And it can happen to you as well.

Here is how you can use the power of rest and recovery to become a more powerful player.

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. Yet the simplicity is appealing: Put the ball on the spot, hit the seam again and again and watch the wickets tumble.

You don't need to be quick. You don't need to rip it square. You don't need to swing it round corners or even have a clever mystery variation. Those things are nice, but accuracy... accuracy is within reaching distance.

It's so tantalisingly close that you can almost taste the success it will bring.

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