Here's a brilliant batting drill based on a TV show.
First the back story: I ran a session this week with four cricketers from school who haven't played a great deal over the summer holidays. One of the players in the session has made huge progress this year.
He has gone from being a member of the B team in 2014 into a key player for the A team in 2015. He is the type of player who scores vital runs when they are most required and catches anything that comes near him.
It was evident in the early days of working with Toby that the only thing that was stopping him was himself.
Toby was a perfectionist.
If he didn't do something perfectly then he would berate himself, strike his pad with his bat or occasionally would whack his stumps over. Over the season we worked hard on managing his frustrations and built realistic expectations around his batting and fielding. Soon, Toby was in charge of his emotions and his performances started to fly.
Toby hadn't played for a month and came into the practice on Tuesday cold. He was struggling to make good connections and his movements were rusty. His old behaviours started to reappear. Rather than tell him off I came up with a game based on Simon Cowell's 'Britains got Talent' show.
Got Talent drill
In that show each hopeful contestant performs their act in front of the judging panel. Each Judge has a button in front of them which is linked to a big Red Cross above their heads. When all crosses are lit, the contestant is shown the door.
Toby's judges were his team mates.
If a judge felt that Toby was displaying poor body language, berating himself or hitting his pad after a poor shot then they would cross their arms in an 'X'. If all 3 judges have their arms crossed then Toby loses a point.
He started with 3 points and I told Toby that his net session would finish when all 3 points are lost.
So what happened for the remainder of Toby's net?
Toby lost a point within 3 balls. He displayed some poor body language and all 3 judges were quick to make their crosses.
Then Toby started to manage his thoughts, his emotions and his behaviours even when he played a poor shot.
However, Toby was caught and bowled on ball #29 and hit himself on the pad with his bat. Another 3 crosses and Toby lost a second point.
Then Toby got back into his routines and batted for the rest of the session without losing his last point. Toby made better and better contacts as the session went on and started to dominate the bowlers who previously had him on toast.
Toby's talent was shining through because he was managing himself effectively.
If you are a perfectionist yourself (like me) or are coaching someone who is then the 'Britain's got Talent' game is a brilliant one.
The other players have fun being judges and the perfectionist opens up performance rather than slipping down their usual self-imploding slide.