Jack Nicklaus is renowned for saying that the more he practiced, the luckier he got. It's a great philosophy but it ignores an important factor.
You don't have to do things perfectly to win.
In fact, an obsession with the right way of doing things can be a detriment to a players performance in the middle. For example, the opening batter who mistimed a few shots early but survives. A clever fielding team may try and rile the batter by saying the bowler is on top and a wicket is coming. The batter tries to prove them wrong by playing more defensively and the obsession with playing 'right' can cause the runs to dry up.
Good teams and players don't let this get to them.
They focus on the outcome rather than the method.
They realise that runs and wickets that are scratched out are just as valuable as ones that look pretty.
How To Win Ugly
Even the most stylish players make mistakes and the most effective of teams have to battle out games. Here is how you can do it:
- Practice Perfectly. Drills and practicing under pressure is the time to do things perfectly, not in a match. If you can get things right in practice you are more likely to get them right in a game but once you are in the middle forget trying to be perfect. Nobody can be.
- Let Mistakes Go. When the inevitable mistakes come, let them go. As long as you are still in the game the mistake doesn't matter. Instead focus on the outcome and get back into readiness for the next time.
- Don't Overthink Things. Trying to work out why things are going wrong in the middle stops you from getting into the zone. So trust your technique (after all you are practicing perfectly) and go with the flow.
- Focus on Winning. When you realise the point of the game is to win rather than do things in the right way you forget about your internal conversation that beats you up for doing things in the wrong way. When you find yourself think of the right way to do something, think instead about what needs to be done to pull of victory.
- Get a Cricket Brain. The tactical nature of cricket is such that those who know their stuff have a huge advantage. It's easy to improve your tactical know-how anytime too, so do it. Concentrate on tactics that work and keep thinking about how to make them work in the middle.
In league cricket and even in friendlies the aim of the game is to have fun and win. Being prepared to win imperfectly is the perfect way to get there.
Want to gain bulletproof mental toughness to score runs and take wickets under pressure? PitchVision Academy has a complete training course to build up your confidence, concentration and skyrocket your success.
© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008