We have all had a purple patch. The runs and wickets flow effortlessly. You wonder how it could all be so easy.
In fact it's so effortless that many cricketers fall into the trap of thinking that this is the time to do less. On the surface it makes sense: Something is working so just keep doing it. Relax, reign back on the training and coast along on the wave of good form.
Except, we know that form is not magic dust bestowed on you by the form fairy. It's the direct result of hard and smart work, understanding your game and actively riding your luck.
In other words, you have control of a lot of the elements of form. Which means you can maintain good form with some practical steps.
That has to be better than walking out to bat hoping the dust has been sprinkled today.
So, if you are riding the crest of a form wave, here is how you keep it going:
Most players assume everything is working fine and therefore training is less important.
If your game is in good order, it's the perfect opportunity to rack up a few more hours towards your 10,000 target. Instead of having to worry about why you are nicking off, or not hitting your lengths, you can use your good form to improve your success rate in practice.
Say you are a bowler and you normally get about 50% of balls on target (that's about right for most non-professional bowlers according to PitchVision data). Now you are in form that rate can jump up to 60-70% and while you are there you can learn the magic formula for a repeatable action.
Suddenly that form dip seems a long way away. All because you stepped up your training when the going is good.
So head to the nets for extra work when you are in form and it will pay off double.
Learn a new technique
Another simple trick is to work on new technical aspects. You don't have to panic about your cover drive, so you can spend time in nets learning the dilscoop or backloading (more useful shots than you might think)
It takes time and effort to learn a new shot, but when you are in form you can put training time to that exact use because you are feeling confident about your game. The same applies to learning bowling variations or fielding techniques.
Do some simple drills and take advantage.
Test your weak spots
Confidence in yourself also gives you a change to test areas you know are weaker.
For example, many players struggle under pressure. There are few who fully thrive when the outcome of a game hangs in the balance.
So, put pressure on yourself and work out some methods to handle that pressure. The strongest-willed cricketers are the ones with the biggest advantage.
You can add pressure to training with:
- Competing against someone else in nets with an important outcome (first one to get out buys dinner, for example).
- Having the waiting batsmen sledge you between balls in nets.
- Middle practice instead of nets.
However you do it, the key is to think about how you are dealing with the pressure and come up with methods to put the pressure aside and simply focus on the ball.