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One of the toughest things to coach players is the ability to handle moments of pressure. From tight games to applying yourself at training, everyone can learn how to do it, but many refuse to try and understand.

Don't be that person.

Read the articles below and ask yourself how you can better deal with pressure. It will help you as much - if not more - than having a perfect technique.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Improve Your Cricket with Pressure Training

When you hit nets you often feel no pressure. When you bat in a game you feel all the pressure.


It's different.

To really find your best form you need to bridge the gap or you will play looser and not understand why "playing well in nets" is not translating to runs and wickets.

There is a way out of this mire. It just takes some planning, here's what to do.

Look for your method

There are lots of ways to deal with moments of pressure. Some people handle them naturally better than others, but you can change how you deal with it.

This comes with experience and regular reflection on how you were feeling. What was happening when you started to change how you played?

We like to think we will be fine, but how many times have you failed when chasing a score compared to when you are getting a total? I'm willing to bet most people get out far more quickly! Pressure may not be a physical thing, but a game situation certainly does change the way people play.

The key to having a method is to remember pressure comes from your own mind. If you can reframe it yourself, it calms you and allows you to play appropriately rather than under stress.

The steps are:

  1. Recognise the game situations when you feel pressure
  2. Accept this pressure and have an individual way of reducing it.
  3. Think of your options, decide which one will give you the best chance of success, and commit to it fully.

This is tricky to do in games if you don't already know how you deal with pressure. So, use both regular review after matches and practice to add some pressure.

Use Pressure nets

You can add pressure to nets in lots of ways. None will be as good as actual matches. You cannot recreate the feeling of having to walk in and score 33 runs in five overs with two wickets left (or bowl the last over of a T20 with six runs needed). There are few tricks you can pull off:

With all of these tricks, it's crucial to reflect on how you felt. It's easy to hide the feeling of pressure under a justification. You might say "I had to go for a big shot because the guy at the other end was batting too slowly". This may be true, but did it come from cold calculation or panicking? Only you can know for sure, so don't lie to yourself.

Did the added pressure make you lose focus from the task and do something that was not the best plan?

If so, how can you stay focused on the task rather than on the anxiety of the idea of failing?

Can you discuss things with the coach or trusted team mate as you go through the pressure to get their views and feedback on the best tactics?

Practice under pressure is tougher because it's difficult to recreate and you can't see pressure like you can technique. People tend to prefer to play safe in training and learn about their skill under pressure in games. This does work - if you reflect well - but a few higher pressure sessions combined with a good, honest discussion about how you deal with anxiety caused by game situations will speed your development up greatly.

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Good Cricket is Your Choice

Want to be a cricketer? You have the choice.


It's surprising to me how often I have to remind the players I coach: The more you put in, the more you get out.

Let me give you an example.

Middle practice is a powerful training tool that is realistic and effective. It's proven to work. However, unlike nets it requires a bit more work and commitment. You have to field with intensity. You bowl less and probably bat less too. The advantage is you can practice things you can't do well in nets, like rotating the strike.

Yet, whenever I put on a middle practice, there is a variety of responses.

Some players get on with it, focus on the task and try to learn something new.

Others find excuses not to join in, or do it in a half-hearted way.

A couple even vocally state what a "waste of time" it is. One year I had a player storm out of training and go home because he wanted a net rather than middle practice.

Trying always works

We can argue about the details of middle practice and if it is "right" or not. One thing we can't argue about is this; trying your best always works.

If you put in full effort you will learn something, no matter what the practice. It's all about your attitude. Go into practice with a focus on something you want to develop then try to develop it.

Your efforts might fail, but as we know, failure is an essential part of the learning process. You can't progress unless you have learned through failure. So get learning and get stuck in.

Ask yourself what the alternative is: To complain will get no nowhere. To put in low effort or leave the session is no help to you. Even your favourite pet practice needs a rest now and again.

So, why not get stuck into the practice that is on instead?

At least you give yourself a chance for success.

Sometimes it's not about you

Mainly, practice is about improving your game. I think we can agree on that.

But cricket is still a team game too.

Sometimes you have to do things for the team. Sometimes you have to field and not touch many balls in a game. Sometimes you have to motivate yourself and others when things are not going your way.

Ask yourself how you respond in moments like this.

It tells you something about your character.

Do you suck it up, make the best of it and try and help others along the way?

Or do you complain and not try very hard, making it easy for the batsman to pick up singles against your fielding?

It stems back to your choices.

If you commit to the session you will get something out of it. Even if you don't get anything, someone else on your team will.

If you are a fast bowler, you want the best batsmen in your team to reduce the amount of work you have to do to win the match...

If you're a batsman you want your fielding team mates to save runs and help your glorious hundred look even better...

Don't you?

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Become a Talented Cricketer with Three Step Resilience

You don’t get to be a talented cricketer unless you have resilience.

The ability to power through bad times, drops in form and unfair treatment is a trait of almost every top class player. You can recreate it too, if you follow this simple process.

This is a proven method used in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help people become more resilient against issues like depression, addictions and anxiety. It’s very effective in this world, and so also works on less severe elements of life, like mental strength in cricket.

It’s also so simple, you would be foolish to not give it a go for a few weeks. I know you will see an improvement in your mental toughness as a result.

Here is what you do.

After a net session, practice or game, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What happened? (Just the facts)
  2. What did you think and feel about it? (Emotions and reactions)
  3. What action can you take in future? (Planning)

You can write this down, or simply think it through in a quiet, reflective moment.

Either way you will come out with a way of breaking down your thoughts and coming up with a plan for next time. This makes things considered and rational rather than emotionally driven and negative.

Breaking down your thoughts from your actions works. This is because it helps you identify the facts of the matter (question 1), pull out the thoughts you had about it (question 2), reflect on whether those reactions were hurtful or helpful, then plan your next move (question 3).

The idea is, over time, you begin to spot the way you react to things.

This allows you to plan for your reaction and turn it from something that hurts your game into something that helps your game.

And that is resilience!

The classic example of this in nets is the batsman who gets out a couple of times, gives up and starts slogging.

After the net the coach comes up and asks what happens. They describe the facts of the matter (question 1) before going on to explain they felt frustrated so decided to take it out on the ball, perhaps even rationalising the move by saying it was death batting.

The coach then asks what future action they can take to meet their goals. The player comes up with several practical ways of keeping focused, even after getting out. Perhaps they work on playing the balls that got them in trouble to reduce the chance of it happening. Perhaps they work on recognising their frustration and putting them aside to stay focused on their goal in the net.

It’s this simple process that works for any skill in batting, bowling and fielding. It works post-practice and post-game. It allows you to focus on the things you want to improve in future.

It’s an opportunity to learn and improve your talent.

All for five minutes reflection! Not bad eh?

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3 Batting Technique Myths You Can Stop Worrying About

Everyone's a cricket coach.

Or so it seems these days. Advice comes from every angle; coaches, family members, the internet and even passers-by calling out. That would be great if it all matched up, but most of the time it is in direct conflict with another piece of advice.

Then there are the myths and clichés on top. The advice that sounds good, and makes the advisor sound wise and clever. In fact, it's based in no more evidence than it was overheard on TV. So it must be true for everyone, right?

It's enough to make you go back to bed instead of picking up the bat and dealing with the swirl of advice in your head.

So, here is some clarity for you: Three simple bits of advice we have all heard (or perhaps even given) that don't make as much sense as they seem. Once you know that these things are not always true, you can get on with getting back to the simplicity of hitting the ball with a clear mind and a confident outlook.

Improve Your Front Foot Drive with Weight Transfer

From beginner to advanced batsman, one of the most common flaws in driving is weight transfer.

But what is it, and how do you use it to hit your drives harder along the ground?


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


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Issue: 472
Date: 2017-07-21