One of the most difficult problems to overcome as a club cricketer is inconsistency: One week you get a hundred, the next week you are heading in head down after a golden duck.
There are a lot of reasons for this: less time to practice, less talent than (most) first class players and only playing once or twice a week for example.
But none of these things are in your control.
There is a simple trick that you can do that helps you to play better cricket on a consistent basis.
What is this secret?
Researchers have looked into the pre-game routines of elite sports players around the world and found that the routines of the top guys differ from average players: They prepare themselves in the same way every time.
You see, cricket is unpredictable (that's what makes it so great) but our brains like to be in control as much as they can. So that's where your pre-match routine comes in. It's your checklist to prepare yourself for the battle ahead: All the things you do in the run up to the game from practicing to what you eat to what superstitions you have and how you pack your kit bag.
Do the same routine every time and you will find you performance following close behind.
It really is that simple an idea, but is very tricky to get right.
There are certain pitfalls to preparation that can lead you to the wrong mental approach. So to help you avoid them here are my tips to creating your own pre-match checklist.
- Block out the negative thoughts and make everything you do a positive step.
- Think about what works for you personally. One person's crazy tick is another's essential tool.
- Consider every aspect of your preparation and keep a note of what works best.
- Refine things as you go along until you find the perfect routine.
- Think about elements that might upset your routine and plan around them.
Everyone will have a different level, but everyone would benefit from having a fixed routing of some kind. For example, I am driven by consistency and need a very detailed routine on match days which cannot be upset. Other may need just a general idea, or one or two small things they need to do (like put on lucky socks). Do what works for you. But whatever it is, make sure you know your routine inside out. It will help you put in good performances more regularly.
As proven by science.
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