Last week we looked at mental toughness for cricket and discussed the first 3 C's: Competitiveness, confidence and control
Now let's complete the set.
4 and 5. Committed and Consistent
It goes without saying that the most mentally tough athletes are committed. What is more important is the question; "What does commitment mean?"
To me, it's not simply turning up to sessions, that's easy.
I get angry when someone says to me that they are committed because they turn up. Commitment in practice is when you give each session the respect it deserves, when you finish it and feel that you have accomplished something or improved a particular area of your game.
Michael Vaughan committed himself to get back from potentially career ending knee problems throughout his career. He committed himself to every rehab session, every gym session to strengthen his muscles around the knee and then every technical session as he re-entered the International playing arena.
So the next time someone claims to be committed because they turn up. Challenge them!
How composed are you when adversity strikes? When you get a poor LBW decision against you, how do you react?
Now, we all get stroppy there and then, but how does that decision then impact on your behaviours afterwards and your preparation for the next innings? Are you composed?
The best players accept that your going to get some tough breaks and bad decisions.
As a coach, I will deliberately make a bad decision in a net or scenario session to see how this impacts upon the player;
- A dodgy wide here and there
- Give someone out when they are not occasionally in a "points net"
Just to see how the introduction of adversity impacts upon a players composure and then their performance.
We then review at the end of the session and take the learning from that experience into our next performance.
We are always going to get bad calls in cricket. That's the game. So do we train the player to let it derail them or train them to be composed?
There are 2 types of courage: The courage taken into battle and the courage to take risks.
If you want an example of courage taken into battle then look no further than Brian Close in 1976 facing up to Michael Holding. Here is a man who is prepared to put his body in the line of 90+mph missiles because he loved the battle and the battle never meant more to him than when playing for his country. That's "courage in battle".
Could you do that?
It takes courage to grow up reach your full potential as a cricketer.
Most talented players don't because they lose courage in their risk-taking. Most people train safe yet the ones who really go on to set the world on fire risk injury because they train to an extreme level in the really tough sessions. The courageous athlete turns a deaf ear to the 'chimp' in their heads that says 'have a rest, you have done enough'. They have the courage to keep going when others fall by the wayside.
In competition, the likes of MS Dohni regularly finish games off because they have the courage to 'be the man', to take the risk that others wouldn't take on. As a result they pick up the biggest pay cheques and most IPL titles.
That's the "7 C's" for you. Rank yourself out of 10 for each of the "C's". Be honest now.
Here are my results:
- Garas the player: 31
- Garas the coach: 55