Gary Kirsten's Hard Lessons in Becoming A Cricketer | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Gary Kirsten's Hard Lessons in Becoming A Cricketer

This is another chapter taken from The Handbook of Cricket Drills: My eBook is available now on PitchVision Academy.

Gary Kirsten, the former opening bat, has been a stalwart in the South African Cricket structure since our re-admission to the international stage. As a cricketer, his technique and ability needed to be complemented with a temperament that demanded a discipline and dedication that was par excellence.

But as a coach, Gary’s reputation is flawless. In my tenure with him at the South African High Performance centre, I witnessed a tireless dedication, clinical mental toughness, superior physical durability and an unparalleled love for the game that only served to complement his aura of professionalism.

It's no surprise that Gary Kirsten has achieved insurmountable success in the realm of coaching. The game of cricket is quickly evolving and talent alone is not enough. At High Performance, using the knowledge and expertise of many cricketing icons, we put together a model on the development of a complete professional cricketer.


The model, which has four major components, focuses on the holistic development of the cricketer. The four components are:

  • Mental Strength
  • Game Strategy and Awareness
  • Physical Fitness and Technique
  • Personal Growth

These are the four key fundamental pillars that need to be addressed in order to nurture and develop a cricketer. They are the cornerstones of success but unfortunately moulding a champion requires something more. Something that's harder to nurture and even harder to quantify.

At High Performance, we called the vital Factor X ‘HARD’ .

HARD is the glue that will forge together the pillars that will one day give birth to a champion. H.A.R.D is EVERYTHING.

  • Hunger
  • Attitude, Awareness, Accountability
  • Resilience
  • Discipline

Gary Kirsten’s famous saying was:

“Everything you wish to achieve in life is just outside your comfort zone.”

This has also been my philosophy and the message I endeavour to impart onto my players. It serves as a reminder that we are in control of our own destiny and that our attitude is everything. It is a message that reiterates H.A.R.D and reinforces a players willingness to want to overcome adversity.

It tells us that the opportunities we so badly desire are all disguised as hard work. It tells us that EVERYTHING you want, EVERYTHING you wish, and EVERYTHING you can achieve is JUST outside your comfort zone. It tells us to GO GET IT.

“I learnt how to deal with my emotions in my last test innings.” - Gary Kirsten

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