This is a guest article by club cricketer Brian Wardle
I recently read Bounce: a book by Mathew Syed, who believes everyone has the ability to be successful.
There are various accounts in this book of how elite sports stars have achieved greatness, not through a genetic advantage but through repetitive, purposeful practice.
Thinking about it, this really does make sense. Look at any cricketer who has made it to the top. It's not by chance.
It's because he or she has spent hours and hours practising and honing their skill.
It's said a minimum of 10,000 hours of purposeful practice is needed to achieve elite status. And this, I believe is because the skill or task you perform has to be ingrained into your subconscious, so that when you are required to perform, the action is automatic.
Think about batting, where you have only milliseconds to react.
If you have to think about your shot selection as the ball is being bowled you have already lost valuable time. You might get away with it at club level where bowlers are slower but if you want to reach county or even international status then you need to have made up your mind moments before the ball has even been released.
It’s the batters ability to anticipate and look for visual clues which determines whether he hits a glorious cover drive for 4 or walks back miserably to the pavilion having nicked one to first slip.
This can only be achieved through thorough preparation, experience and knowledge of the opponent.
Here are some tips to help you on your way.
Have an aim and an objective in mind for your practice sessions: whether it’s defending the short ball or bowling the away swinger. If you’re not doing this in practice then how can you be expected to do it when it matters?
Analyse your opponents
Look ahead to see which team you will be playing. Pick out key players who are likely to do the damage and see where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This links back into the first point, because you now have a purpose to practice.
Video your practice or performances
This is one of the best things you can do as this gives you and the coach instant feedback as to where your going right or wrong. This plays a huge part in boosting a player’s confidence but also allows you to break movements down and highlight specific areas for improvement.
Plus you get to replay it over and over so you can visualise what you need to do better.
You want to become the best you can be. Use these tips and you will be well on your way.