What to do if you can't get into the zone while playing cricket | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

What to do if you can't get into the zone while playing cricket

We have all been there: You can't hit the ball off the square. Every other delivery you bowl is a long hop and your catching has your captain placing you as far from the ball as possible.

If there is a 'zone' for cricket then you are in the exact opposite place: Stuck in a rut of bad form.

Try harder?

Most cricketers try to get out of the rut by working harder. The mainstream thinking is simple. More equals better so do more training and better results will emerge.

Hard work, we have all been taught, leads to success.

The problem is this: Being in form is nothing to do with trying harder.

Think about it. When was the last time you were enjoying something and succeeding at it? Were you consciously trying hard or were you just in the moment and flying along?

I'm willing to put a crisp five pound note on the latter.

Try smarter?

This state is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls 'flow'. You may of heard of it as 'the zone'.

But whatever it's called you want to focus on the practical, smart ways to get your form back. The good news is that achieving flow is all about focusing on the practical steps. So don't worry about the psychiatrists couch.

1. Go back to basics

Sometimes it's possible to focus too hard on what is going wrong. You can forget it's called playing cricket, not working cricket. Make cricket a fun thing to do again. Have mini-games with tactics during practice, play a game in the park or at the beach with the family.

Start enjoying yourself again.

If you enjoy working on your technique then spend time with a trusted person doing just that. The club game is overloaded with underused coaches who have never been better trained. Use them is you want.

Whatever you do, leave the worry behind. This is supposed to be fun!

2. Grind it out

What if the spirit of play still eludes you?

Then it's time to grind it out.

England's Andrew Strauss had to do so, hitting a run of bad form so bad he was dropped from the side and only returned due to a bit of luck. In response he cut out most of his shots and ground out run after run to cement his place back in the team.

You can do something similar no matter what your discipline.

Set yourself a target and move to it relentlessly. The goal is everything, the method is nothing. The target could be as small as bowling every ball in the over on a length or as large as improving your fitness.

You will start to find the more you are focusing on a target the less you are worrying about how you are getting there.

Suddenly it's all flowing again and you have not even noticed.

So now my question to you is this.

What works better for you, having fun, grinding it out or just trying harder?

Leave a comment in the box below and let the world know.

Photo credit: Mornby

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I have tried these techniques in the past and returning to basics and cutting out the higher risk batting shots really works!!!!!!!

Excellent news SWIM. Keep up the good work.

Good article - picks up on the key to the zone which is all about 'feeling'; you play without thinking and it all comes together. It's all about muscle memory overruling the brain. Something I do to make it happen is simple: 'play it late and straight'. Play it late enough, you can't think about your shot so you rely on your muscle memory. Needs a bit of disciple and to relax at the same time (which sounds contradictory) but really can work wonders at the crease.

if you're a defensive batsman go out with an aggressive midset and see where it gets you
if you're dropping catches and misfielding pin the keeper with some strong throws
if you're a fast bowlers bowl some slower balls
if you're a spinners bowl some line and legnth seam up
it works trust me i have seen lots of people do it and in a couple of games you can find your form all over again!

Sheraz i like your theory of letting body over mind so you let the ball come into you more than allow your body instinct to take over !! Thats very interesting i think though some times you might get caught out if your facing a slightly better bowler who has good variation as timing and footwork will be critical to success and this comes from the mind ??!!!

a GOOD prior match preparation will make your career even better

how can I prepare my self as a batsmen mentally????
because batting in matches and batting in nets is different
I bat perfectly in nets but in matches its completely opposite..!!!!
I don't know how to prepare my mind for the matchesss....