Everyone blames video games for rotting your brain and turning you into a couch potato. But the fact is, the power of game design can be harnessed to improve cricket in the real world.
Yes, you really can turn a game into a game.
The secret is in the sinister yet effective way that games get into your head. They are build to get you to want to play them again and again. If you have ever played anything from Call of Duty all the way to Threes, you know how hard it is to resist a good game.
But before you pick up that controller instead of going to training, you can trick yourself. Here's how.
Level up in real life
Game levels are build to be challenging enough that you think you can just about do it. They always start pretty easy, and gradually push up the challenge level enough to stretch your brain and tease you into thinking you can do it if you have just one... more... try...
Cricket doesn't have quite as easy levels built into it, but you can level up by considering a move up in standard as a way of leveling up. Want an example? At my club the "levels" go from 1 (under 11 age group appearance) up. Level 4 is playing for the Development XI. Level 8 is playing for the full 1st XI and Level 10 is player of the year!
Of course, it's not quite as linear as a computer game. You move up and down the levels more, and maybe even bypass a level or two on the way. The point is that you can motivate yourself to reach the next level by keeping track of where you are, and maybe where your mates are too.
To fill in the gaps between levels, games often also give badges of achievement. This reflects when you do something special in the game that doesn't necessarily take you up a level.
In cricket, it's motivating because it's tangible recognition of something that normally gets ignored or - at best - a quick "well played" from the skipper. With a list of players and their badges on the way you are tapping into a primal part of your brain that needs to compete.
When you see that list of badges, your monkey brain wants to get them all. It wants to beat your team mates to completion. And that gets you playing and training harder and better than ever.
Here are some example badges,
- Number of appearances at training
- Runs in a season
- Individual game performances (50 runs, 5 wickets)
- Senior appearances
- Shot of the day
There is also a raft of badges you can apply to training stats; most accurate bowler, fastest bowler, most balls faced in training, least times out in nets and so on. Use PitchVision at sessions and games to keep an eye on the numbers.
You can get creative. Simply pick things in your club that are achievable yet challenging and list them out. First to get them all is the best.
How can you gamify your cricket?