"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Being a consistent cricketer isn’t always as good as we imagine.
As decent level players we search for better consistency. We have had good performances in the past. We dream the purple patches will come again. Every shot you play beats the in-field and every ball you bowl finds the outside edge to a pair of safe hands.
Ironically, it’s the ‘hobgoblin’ of consistency that prevents many of us from achieving those dreams.
Take the typical preseason of a typical club side.
This imaginary team have been doing the same thing for at least 20 winters. Half the team turn up at nets, full of intent. The other half can’t be bothered. The do the same routine of bowling in turn and batting for 10 minutes each.
If anyone suggests trying something new the idea is tossed aside. Sometimes the keen man is laughed at for “trying too hard”.
They have been consistent alright.
And they have been utterly miserable on the field.
One week the star batsman scores a chanceless 80 not out to win the match, the next 3 weeks he can’t buy a run. Meanwhile the team’s key leg spinner is fizzing balls past the outside edge and watching long hops vanish into the cow field all in the same over.
It’s this type of consistency that is the “hobgoblin” that Emerson was talking about.
The solution is to be more inconsistent, which will lead to the opposite result: A better run of form in the summer.
This inconsistency means throwing away the old ways that don’t work and embracing a new type of preseason training. Preseason nets can be run in a better way; a way that leads you away from the hobgoblin and towards more runs and wickets.
It’s just a matter of being open to new ideas:
- Don’t bowl in turns
- Don’t ignore tactical planning
- Don’t bat aimlessly for 10 minutes hoping it will ‘get your eye in’
- Don’t think 5 minutes of slip catching is fielding practice
- Don’t think a quick hamstring stretch is injury prevention
- Don’t let the nets run themselves
These methods are tried and tested to cause failure. Yet teams and players do what they always did because they don’t know anything else.
New ideas don’t need to be ground-breaking. You can adapt a lot of what first-class teams do to prepare. That alone will put you ahead of everyone else in the league.
You just need to have the intent to do something inconsistent with the past because you want more consistency in the future.
Use that fear of the hobgoblin to motivate you to make the change you need.
And to get proven, innovative and hobgoblin-free preseason training tips get Countdown to Summer: The Guide to Perfect Preseason Training. The eBook is available for download now. Click here.