How do you prepare on match days?

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practice.jpgDo you warm up with a pint and a plate of chips or do you have a highly developed ritual on match days?

Research and experience on pre-game preparation is unclear. What works for one player is pointless for another in many cases, although there are some constants we can all benefit from.

Rituals

My own, slightly obsessive, preparation starts early and keeps going right the way through the match. I'm big on routine and feel more relaxed when I know exactly what I‘m doing.

Psychologists have found this is true for most people to some degree. Not only does a pre-set routine groove your skills, it also helps you feel in control of the situation, relax and be less likely to make mistakes from being too tense.

What differs between players is how much ritual they feel comfortable with. Some need a detailed plan (like me, cooking meals in advance, knowing exactly what time to leave and liking a good long warm up before going into battle) some just need to rock up in time for a few throwdowns on the outfield.

It's all down to how much confidence you have in yourself to perform on minimal preperation. Or how much you care about having a good game.

Warm Ups

One exception to this rule is warming up. It's been proven in many studies that a proper warm up prepares you better physically for sport performance: Warmed up players can run faster, throw harder, are less likely to be injured and more mentally switched on to the game.

That means no matter how confident you are in your cricketing skill you still need to incorporate a warm up that prepares your body. A good warm is more than a quick jog round the outfield and a couple of half-hearted drills. If you activate all your muscles, drill at game pace and switch your nervous system on ready for action you will be better when the game starts.

How do you prepare?

What does your preparation look like on match day? Are you happy just turning up on time or do you like a good warm up? Does your experience match the research on warming up?

Let me know what works for you by leaving a comment.

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Comments

New season starts this Saturday. I am going to turn up a bit earlier and start warming up on my own and see how I go. I think I'll need to experiment a little bit and find out how well I do during the game before I work out what the best process is for me.

Thanks for the great site, David.

That sounds like a good plan Nishi. Maybe others will get the message too.

U in oz nishi?

Yup, in Oz. Canberra!

I always find i bowl and field a lot better if i go through lots of drills, plenty of dynamic stretching , and pre-game bowling at a single stump. If i don't do these then i am all over the place and find myself day dreaming.

I agree, it focuses the mind and body.

How to prepare before& after Match day?

Can you be a bit more specific?

All I really have to do is just while still at home, I just chuck the ball around for a few good minutes before a leave, and then when I get to the match do a lot of bowling drills (if we are bowling). I don't think anyone can come on to bowl without having a feel for the ball, it certainly helps me when my hands have been gripping the ball for a good 10 minutes, and through that I have cut down on the amount of loose balls I bowl at the start of my spell.

With batting, I just feel like I need to be in the right mental space more than anything. I still get a few throwdowns, but it is a lot different out on the pitch getting balls thrown at you. What I more than anything like to do to get me in the right mindset is just hang around with everyone. Playing AFL before going is awesome. Funny how playing AFL helps me play cricket better. Just generally relaxing, joining in with off-field games gets me ready for facing up. Because I feel if you go in too ready, your too stiff and you can find it harder to make runs when your relaxed. Maybe it's just me? Sorry if this post is too long Sticking out tongue

The night before the match day, I ensure that my cricket kit is in place.My uniform is washed ,well ironed so that it gives me a good feel about my game. I ensure all the things I carry to the playground are assembled at one place. Before leaving for the ground, I ensure I have one full glass of milk ( with banana if possible)...I have observed " Milk helps". On reaching the ground, I keep my things at one place and go for a small jog, do some stretching. I try to do some bowling just to remove any rusty feeling and then take the bat to do some drives to get a feel of the ball, the ground and the ambience. It just prepares you mentally. One thing for sure, I dont think of the opposition at all , neither I pay attention to what they are doing.
I just focus on what I am doing and gain confidence out of it.
This works for me...hope it works for someone else also.
Thanks!
Praful

Before the beginning of my club season last year, I made a very detailed morning ritual: Waking up at 6am, doing light drills at home for 30 min, 2 breakfasts, a shower, 10min visualisation, and some time on reviewing my keys to performing well. BTW the game would start at 8:30 and we need to be at the venue at 8:00am. All the venues are close though, about 10 min away.

I started the season well with 68, 89, 67 and 94 and then we had a 3 week holiday break. When I came back, I did the same routine and ended up with 4 scores in a row of less than 20. And people started doubting me and wanted to drop me from opening to middle order.

Somehow for the next game, my alarm didn't go off and I woke up at 8:13 and I still remember the exact minute!! After a million swear words in shock, I rushed to the venue getting dressed in the car with no breakfast and somehow got there 2 min before start of play. And as usual me getting the worst luck in the world, we were batting when normally we elect to bowl first.

Opening the batting and facing the first ball, and still half asleep, I tried to stay in until I woke up (this was a 35 overs game) And after 10 or so overs I started to time it beautifully and ended up with 130* with 6 sixes. So maybe and this is what Shane Warne believes, that warmups are a waste of time!

Great story Deano. I think that you got lucky on that occasion. Cricket is a game of so many variables that sometimes all the preparation in the world can make no difference (and vice versa). But my philosophy is to control what you can, stay relaxed and enjoy it. If that means hours of pre-match routines then fine.

That's a pretty full on pre-match preparation Deano. It could be the case you are doing too much in the morning on game day. The drills and the visualisation could be done on Friday, so that by game day, all the prep work is done, get some food in the morning and off to the ground, ready for your warm up.

However, if this routine works for you, than stick with it. Having good routines will help you succeed.

hi David

I recently read an article from Gary Kirsten. He says that Virender Sehwag only hits about 30 balls before a game and thats it.

My routine was throw downs for about 20 min then a visualisation on the wicket 10 minutes before i have to pad.

Truth to be told and doesn't work for me. I put so much pressure on myself because of the good warm up and feel I need to score.

I am going to adapt Virender's way and believe in my abilities rather than on pre match warm ups.

cheers

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