How do you prepare on match days?
Do 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.
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 Iâ€˜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.
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.