We often say cricket is a mental game.
We often say measured training breeds success.
One perfect tool to handle these things is a training log.
The problem is, most of us don't think of logging things in cricket. We turn up, train, play and repeat. Of course, this is an effective way to improve, but is it really the best way?
Everyone has a mental game. Only yesterday I was talking to a young cricketer about his batting and he told me he felt terrible because he wasn't hitting anything well for the first 30 balls. When I told him, according to PitchVision, he made good contact 50% of the time, his response was, "well, I have a good bat".
These are the kind of stories we tell ourselves, and if they are incorrect they are self-defeating.
Yes, that youngster has a good bat but by saying it he his assuming, falsely, that he is responsible for everything that goes badly and the bat is responsible for everything that goes well. Clearly, this is illogical. Yet in the pressure of cricket we often fall into these pits, even if we would avoid them in more clear-thinking moments.
And it's those clear thinking moments that a training log allows.
Everyone's log will be different, but one thing that stays the same is the chance to reflect on things away from the game. You think more rationally and with less confirmation bias when you do this. The result is a clearer picture of what you are doing well, and what you need to develop. From here you caan tailor your practice and tactics to fit reality.
In short, you get better, faster.
What is a cricket training log?
A log is a simple record of your training session. What it is and what goes in it is up to you.
You can use a pad and paper, an expensive notebook, an app on your phone or a file on your computer. It can be private or public. The details are personal preference. Whatever you choose, make sure you have the ability to refer back to it in future.
What do you put into it?
Again, this is personal preference depending on what motivates you. I council my players that the options include:
- Important statistics (bowling accuracy, target batting results).
- What went well in the session, and what went poorly.
- What you would change if you could go back and do it again.
- What you would like to do next time.
- Questions for the coach, captain, or other senior people.
- Your progress to your goal, and any changes in goals
- Wider thoughts and feelings from how you slept and what you ate, to important events away from cricket that you want to think through.
I must stress, there is no need to do all this. The format is flexible and up to you. You can make it long or short. Detailed or a few scrawls. Full of emotion or cold and clinical. You need to do what works for you to feel satisfied that you have reflected on your sessions and games well enough to move to the next one.
Who should keep a log?
While a log is not for everyone, if you have read this far it's for you.
Cricketers (or coaches) who wish to improve their game in a meaningful way must have some kind of reflection. So, whatever your age or ability a log is a perfect place to start, and you will start seeing the results in a couple of weeks.
Younger cricketers tend to not need a log because they are in it purely for the fun of running around and playing games. Although a good coach will build in discussion time even to these players. Also, players who have little ambition to improve have no need for a log. I'm going to assume you know some of these guys, and you are not one of them. They didn't read past the first line of this article.
So, just get started. You have more to lose than you have to gain.
One word of warning; the hardest part is to keep it going. Even the best intentioned find it hard to build a routine of logging things. I urge you to get the discipline down.
Make the log as an essential part of training as bowling or batting. Because it is.