How Andrew Strauss and The "Young Guns" Proved Practice Under Pressure Works | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How Andrew Strauss and The "Young Guns" Proved Practice Under Pressure Works

I have just returned from a fantastic cricket training week over in Saint Lucia at the newly named Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium. Andrew Strauss and I coached 22 children using the wonderful facilities whilst basking in the sunshine.


You will know from listening to the Pitchvision Academy Cricket Show and reading my articles that I am a huge fan of centre wicket practice. It provides opportunity for us to learn how to chase down targets, defend totals and set up game situations. It allows us to see the players perform under realistic match pressure.

However, even when the sun is shining and we are in the middle of our summer, it is not easy to get centre wicket cricket. The sheer amount of cricket nowadays makes life very difficult for our groundsman to keep up with their workload.

How do we create pressurised situations when our grass surfaces aren’t available?

Well, here is a story from last week where Andrew Strauss put me under pressure!

Stump hitting pressure

AS: “Garas, What are world class stump hitting percentages for the best fielders in the world?”

MG: “50% fella”

AS (to the group): “Well let’s have 3 attempts and see if Garas is world-class or not!”

The pressure was on!

Ball 1: I felt my shoulders tighten as the first ball was rolled out to me by Olympic Gold medallist rower, Greg Searle.

I lined myself up….

and missed 3 stumps by approximately 1.3 metres. Comfortably the worst throw I had ever done in my life.

Straussy made a big thing of it and the kids are cheered me on for the next throw.

Ball 2: I picked up the second incoming ball and missed the stumps by about 3 cm on the left hand side.

Now I was under real pressure.

I had one throw to go to save my blushes and pride.

Using all my coaching knowledge, I started to do my breathing exercises in an attempt to relax my body.

Ball 3: I felt that I was getting myself under control and then Greg rolled the final ball out to me.

The ball took a slight bobble just in front to me yet I was able to counteract its movement.

A clean pick up.

I shifted to seam slightly as I moved the ball back to the top of my throwing circle and lined my feet up perfectly with my target.

As I let go of the ball I felt that everything was absolutely spot-on. It was almost inevitable that the stumps would be flattened.

Unfortunately, the ball faded past the leg stump as I looked at it.

I had failed. More importantly, I had not coped with the pressure.

Pressure coaching in practice

We challenged the kids in the same way over a number of fundamental tasks each day.

The more exposure they had to pressure, the better the players became at dealing with it.

Pressure training is brilliant; we can apply it to simple drills like stump hitting and catching into more complex middle practice scenarios.

Game-based high-pressure cricket

On the last day of the week, we pitted two different young teams against two parent and adult teams.

Both games came down to the last ball; “pressure-cooker” cricket at its best.

Who came out on top?

Parents or kids?

The Young Guns!

The Under 11’s won by two runs off the last ball.

The Under 15’s snuck a 1 run win.

The could handle the pressure!

How do you apply pressure in your practice sessions?

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.