Readers Tips: How to get into the zone | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Readers Tips: How to get into the zone

In this new series I am inviting readers to submit their experience, tips and advice on how to improve your cricket. Mansoor Khan kicks things off with a discussion on how he gets himself into the zone while batting. Comments are open for your feedback.

I believe that on game day my frame of mind and how psyched I am before a game really affects the way I bat.

I had a match against one of the toughest teams in our league a while back. The players who make up this team have played various degrees of organized cricket in West Indies. The bowlers, especially, are exquisite and if you can ignore the fact that each one of them is a physical specimen, they follow it up with some unbelievable swing/pace bowling.

I went out to open but I went out on to the pitch early and just stood there in my stance staring out into the other side and imagined the bowler running up to me. I ran back and forth from one crease to the other to get the juices flowing and get my body warmed up. When the other team came out onto the field I was so focused that I couldn't even hear anything. I was in a zone.

Even while I was batting, I had tunnel vision. I stared at the bowler all the way as he walked back to his run-up and stared right into his eyes as he turned. All I could see was the bowler and all I could hear was my self-talk. It was unbelievable. I had never been so zoned in every in my life and I played a great innings including playing through some deadly bouncers. I completely shook off the fear and nervousness that comes with opening the innings.

Later on the sidelines I was amazed at myself and how focused I was. I wanted to know why I was like that for this particular game. And I came to realize that this is a team that I just did not like. I didn't like the players, I didn't like the captain and just did not like anyone on their team. Part of it had to do with the fact that we had played them the year before and lost to them but what upset me was not the loss but the fact that they made fun of us after the game. I remembered that day and I just fueled myself with those thoughts.

I have come to realize that disliking someone can give you a lot of motivation. I know it sounds mean and some people might say that it's not in the spirit of the game but nowadays you have to do everything possible to gain an edge. If that means that I have to look at the guy bowling to me and just make myself believe that I can't stand that guy and fuel myself with anger towards him, then I'll do it. I have talked to other people and a lot of them use this motivational technique.

One has to be careful while using this technique because you want to use this anger to fool yourself that you dislike the other fellow and not actually start believing it because that might cause you to actually lose your emotions and do something stupid. It is a very tricky way to psych yourself up but when used properly and kept in check, can really zone you in.

Mansoor Khan

Do you have any tips to add to the series? Drop me a line with your story and share it with the world.

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[...] quote comes from a blog entry on on how to get in the zone. Here’s the link to the [...]