It’s shocking to see so many cricket players sabotage their chances by lying.
These are not outright lies of the deceptive, these are lies we all tell ourselves. We are convinced they are true because we want to feel better. We are convinced they are true because we want to prove we are talented.
It seems like truth at the time.
Yet, if you step back for a moment you see how these lies ruin you.
It’s time to be honest with yourself, and work out the real reason you are having these thoughts because thoughts lead to hurtful actions. Hurtful actions lead to negative consequences (like fewer runs and wickets).
Here are a few, do you say any of them?
"I tried it and it doesnt work"
The “it” could be a field setting, a bowling line, a shot or anything else outside your comfort zone. The pitfall here is that you might be right. It might not work and it might never work.
That’s a lot of “might” and not a lot of certainty.
Things change: people, circumstances, teams, conditions, pitches and game situations are all fluid. Something that fails once is no proof of it failing forever. Sometimes working outside your comfort zone is what pushes you onto greatness; even when it fails at first.
That’s why babies don’t give up on walking after a couple of goes. They are driven instinctively to keep going until they get it right.
Who knows what you can learn and discover if you try.
"Nobody told me about it"
If you have ever wondered about your role in the team, or ever missed some crucial message from the coach or captain, you can find yourself saying this.
But let’s be honest.
Isn’t it just as much your job to find out these things as it is others to tell you? If you are not in the loop, get in the loop. Don’t wait to be invited.
Yes, it could be a great conspiracy designed to bring you down or gives others a chance ahead of you. It’s probably not. Even if it is, what can you do about it other than take the initiative yourself?
Get stuck in and stop complaining.
"I’m too good for this"
Have you ever been at nets and been facing a bowler you consider to be a lower standard? Have you ever bowled to someone you can get out at will?
If you have, it’s easy to start thinking you are too good. You are wasting your time. This isnt helping you. You may as well not bother coming to training if this is the best your club mates can muster up.
Guess what: This mindset and the subsequent behaviours of not bothering much with training are far worse for your game than facing the team wicketkeeper bowling slow long hops.
So, suck it up buttercup.
Instead, try and work out ways to up the standards. Structure practice to match abilities. Do some drills away from the worst teammates. Help the rubbish guys improve so you can actually train together!
"This drill isn’t relevant"
Last year I set up an unusual drill for my first team players. The details are not important but the point is that it had a specific purpose, despite not seeming too relevant to cricket.
I was met with a flat refusal to do it from three players. One claimed a bad back (but was fine to bat and field), one said he was at training to play cricket, not do silly drills and a third flat out said “you can’t tell me what to do”.
These were excuses of course.
They just didn’t want to do the drill because it was tricky and would have made them look silly. They would fail a lot and were not prepared to go out of their comfort zone to try and learn something.
Sometimes, you need to trust the drill.
If a drill has been set up for you, usually by a coach, they will have a plan. They are trying to acheive something. Go with it. Have some fun. Mess it up. You will certainly learn something.
Do the drill, reflect on it and say “what did I learn, and what can I take away from it to improve next time”? There’s always something. And even if it’s a total waste, you’ll know that for next time too.
"I can’t be bothered"
This is the worst of all. It’s so bad it’s not even a good lie. It’s a total lack of self-awareness. Yet how many people say it to themselves before skipping training or making themselves unavailable for a game?
You should be ashamed if you have ever said or thought this.
If you truly have no enthusiasm, ask yourself why.
Maybe it’s physical and you are exhausted from lack of sleep, too much cricket, poor nutrition or working hard. Maybe it’s mental, and you don’t want to be challenged today because you might fail.
Whenever you think you can’t be bothered, take yourself aside and think about what the real cause is, then deal with the root.
Most of the time, if you approach training or the match as a chance to learn and grow, you will find yourself filled with enough motivation to at least start.
Failing is not proof you shouldn’t play. Failing is part of learning. So, when you can’t be bothered, you can reframe by saying “I might be tired and fed up, but here’s a chance to learn how I perform under fatigue, find out what I can do to improve and discover what I can already do”.
If you try your best to do that, it doesn’t matter how well you do. In fact, the more you fail, the more you learn and the better you get for next time.
Find the truth
What’s the common factor with these lies?
They all hide the real truth.
That means you need to find it before you start down a road that will end up costing actual runs and wickets.
Perhaps it’s fear of failure. It might be anxiety about how you will look. Maybe you are striving for perfection so much you think anything less is failure. You might even be blaming others instead of focusing on yourself.
Whatever your truth, the first step to playing better is understanding yourself better. So, recognise the lies, drop the excuses, dig for the truth and make yourself a better player.