Of all the clichÃ©s in sport, 'think positive' must be up there with the best. What does that it mean and can it improve your game of cricket?
Used right, a positive mental outlook can make a big difference to your game.
Many studies over the last 40 years have looked into the power of mental training and have found:
- Mental training improves general motor skills in practice.
- Imagery training improves sport specific skills during matches.
- Improved mental skills benefit players at all levels and abilities.
- A positive state of mind leads to more confidence and motivation.
3 steps to gaining a positive mental attitude
Generally the British are quite negative in our sporting attitudes. When we are winning we are praying it won't all go wrong and when we are losing our collective heads go down.
That won't get you far on the field and will certainly lead to a drop in performance.
Here is how to reverse that mindset and give you the never-say-die attitude that marks out the better players and teams.
- Stop the negatives. Everyone has negative thoughts, even the super confident. The difference is that the best players put those thoughts aside during play. The time to practice is during practice so beating yourself up about what might happen or what has just happens is pure skill sapping pointlessness. Instead use the stop technique to throw aside these thoughts quickly and get on with enjoying yourself.
- Remember the positives. The best way to remember your success is to write it down. So after every net, practice and game write down 5 things you did right. You can write as much or as little detail as you like, they can be small things or major breakthroughs and you can repeat yourself, but always make sure it's at least 5 things. Over time you will build up a picture of what you are good at which you can use as part of your imagery routine.
- Check yourself. If you have set yourself some goals then this log come in handy as a way to check yourself against your goals. If you find you are constantly doing things right that are in your goals then you might be doing better than you realise. If that's happening then pat yourself on the back and set some new goals.
The fact is, a positive mental attitude works at making you better at cricket. It's also simple to improve your own mindset in these 3 steps.