It’s said by wise – and not so wise – people that really good cricketers know how to deal with pressure.
That’s the factor that makes the difference because those who can perform in the tightest situations are those most likely to succeed.
How do they do it?
Different players have different ways of framing pressure, but it all boils down to one simple thing.
They know it’s all in their head.
And it is for you too.
We all know the “net player” who looks brilliant in practice and terrible in matches. To some extent we are all somewhere on that scale. There is no more intrinsic jeopardy in games.
You are the one applying the pressure to yourself by making the game more important than nets. It’s not like someone is shooting at you.
So if you are the one applying pressure, you can be the one who releases it.
It’s why international teams who have been well-beaten in a series - with the pressure off - rally in the last match.
So it’s just a matter of getting out of your own head and getting used to ignoring the feeling of pressure.
The easiest way to do that is to have the experience of succeeding under pressure.
When you have felt pressure and succeeded anyway you become more confident because you know you can do it again.
You begin to wonder what all the fuss was about.
It’s why playing your fiftieth game is much easier than playing your first.
(Duncan Fletcher as England coach wanted players to have thirty ODI games under their belts before big tournaments for just that reason).
So play lots of games, and don’t forget you can rack up practice sessions to add pressure too.
When you get through it you start to thrive instead of cowering.