The secret of positive thinking in cricket

Of all the clichés 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

More on mental skills soon, so subscribe for free updates.

© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008

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Comments

Wonderful details, waiting for more.

Just subscribe using the link at the top Irfan Smiling

[...] You can also log other factors that influence you. Use your log to note what you did well in your club training session, or how well you blocked out negative thinking. [...]

How true! Apositive mental attitude is crucial to success in achieving your goals. But it's also important to keep goals (in the short term) realistic and achievable.

Short term success will go a long way towards maintining a positive attitude when it comes to achieving longer term life goals.

I agree, look after the little stuff and the big stuff will follow.

I would like to add some of my own thoughts....

Your attitude will have a huge impact on whether you succeed, fail, feel positive or feel negative about a given situation. In extreme cases a good positive mental attitude can even save lives. We have all heard of people who have recovered from life threatening illnesses and achieved incredible things in the face of real difficulty. We also see people who are in very difficult situations and they choose to remain upbeat and grateful for their lives rather than wallowing in self pity. The truth is that everybody has a choice about how they respond to things.

Think about a time when you felt that something or someone caused you to react in a negative way. An example might be a traffic jam causing you to feel frustrated when you had to be somewhere important in a hurry. You may have experienced someone you care about being hurtful and responded by trying to hurt them in return. If you sit down and think about these responses logically, it becomes clear that they are not helping you.

Many people believe that events are responsible for determining how you respond. They will use language such as “the traffic caused me to get stressed” or “he put me in a bad mood”, but this is not the case. An event takes place, you then choose how you would like to respond to it and then you respond. You must take responsibility for your own choices and the actions that follow. This is represented graphically in the diagram below:

You control your response in every situation. There is always a period of time between something happening and you responding and that is where you can choose your response. The length of time you have to choose can range from a few seconds to a few years. Responding constructively can be difficult. Sometimes it may require a large amount of discipline and moral courage. This is especially true in difficult situations (such as when you are tired) or when you are responding to events through habit. Our ability to respond constructively is like a muscle. The more we challenge it the stronger and more dependable it becomes.

Choosing how to respond can be most liberating for somebody that is in a relationship (personal or business) who feels that the other party is making them feel bad. Remember, the truth is that everybody has a choice about how they respond to things. This means that you do not need to let others make you feel bad, worthless, stressed or experience any other negative emotion. You are in charge of how you think and respond to events. This knowledge is priceless. I have coached all sorts of people who have been shocked and then grateful once they realised they had a choice about how they respond to somebody within a difficult relationship. These people include those with difficult bosses to people whose children’s teachers wind them up. You can apply this to any response in any situation.

Darren Cockburn
www.my-life-coach.co.uk
Visit site for free eBook extracts and free life coaching.

You can't make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable. -Deepak Chopra

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