This is part one of a two part article. Click here for part 2.
photo credit: .Bala
It will come as no shock to you that people prepare themselves differently for club cricket. We all have different priorities and motivations behind playing.
From experience I would say there are 4 levels that every player can fit into no matter what their skill level.
Each level has an increasingly dramatic effect on how well you play. The higher up the levels you go the more runs and wickets you will get.
Preparation is one area you have total control over.
What level are you at?
More importantly, are you happy there? If you are performing the way you want then stay where you are.
If not, perhaps it's time to consider moving up the cricketing scale.
If you ask most people how club cricketers prepare you will probably get an answer something like our Level 1. This player is in the game more for the social side. He wants to play well but he doesn't want to do much about it.
The only practice he gets is a few catches on the outfield when going out the field and a practice bowl to mid on before he starts his spell.
He plays cricket to be fit rather than being fit to play cricket. He may play another sport in the winter and might like a round of golf but that's probably as far as fitness training goes.
He enjoys cricket teas and has a couple of vices. Perhaps it's smoking, it's almost certainly drinking. He probably eats too much processed food and not enough fruit and vegetables. He might not get enough sleep on weekends.
Cricket is a relaxing way to spend a summer's afternoon for our Level 0. He doesn't set himself any goals. He thinks mental training is for elite players at best or just a load of mumbo jumbo at worst.
If he has plenty of natural talent Level 1 can still play a high standard. He will never reach his potential though. If he has lower talent levels he may quit the game after a rut of form.
photo credit: wit
The Level 2 player thinks about his game and takes steps to improve. He wants to do well and is motivated by a combination of success on the pitch and the social element of the game.
Level 2 attends nets. He is not sure exactly what he wants to get out of his practice but he knows it is the right thing to do. He likes to bat and/or bowl but isn't as keen on fielding sessions unless he has dropped a lot of catches recently.
He is keen to be healthy and does fitness work at least twice a week away from playing cricket. This mainly takes the form of long, slow aerobic based training (for example jogging or cycling). He may do some light weights but is worried about bulking up if does more. He has heard of core training and might do sit ups or planks to cover his bases. He knows the importance of warming up. He probably plays other sports like golf, football or rugby.
Food-wise, he probably eats toast or cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and has a healthy dinner most nights. His natural metabolism determines whether he is overweight or not. He knows he should probably eat more fruit and vegetables and less processed food but sometimes temptation gets the better of him.
He has an idea of how many runs and/or wickets he wants to get for the coming season but has not planned how he is going to achieve this in any detail. He has heard of visualisation and might practice it quietly to himself before going out to bat or bowl.
Our Level 2 might instinctively know about body language and dealing with mistakes but has probably not tried any formal techniques to improve his mental preparation. He would probably like to but is worried what others might say.
Do you recognise yourself so far? I realise these are generalisations and there will be some crossover but I'm interested in learning what level you are striving for. Leave a comment.
Tomorrow I will go on to the higher levels so please click here for part two.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008