The captain is in the dressing room before the game giving his team a last minute talk.
He tells the boys that they have the talent and ability to beat this lot. All that needs to happen is this: Stay focused and switched on for the entire game. Let the will-to-win take us over the line.
But you can't leave the will-to-win until moments before the match begins. It's not something you either have or do not have. You need to earn the right by building it up yourself.
Like that captain, anyone can say they want to win. Most people mean it. That alone is not a will-to-win because the words fade quickly, especially when things start to go wrong.
What really makes the difference, what really builds up a strong will, is action: Action like practicing efficiently, playing regularly, eating right, doing fitness and working on your psychological skills.
That way when things do go wrong you can draw on your experience and fight your way out of the hole. Experiences are so much more valuable in those moments than words.
Building your will-to-win
As soon as you realise that the will-to-win is something you have total control over, you can start to plan ways to make it stronger.
Start by asking: What are you like when you are 'under the pump'?
- Do you thrive on pressure or crack under it?
- Can you keep going all day or do you get gassed when the adrenaline runs out?
- Do you trust your technique to see you through the pressure situations (including fielding skills)?
- Do you play enough competitive cricket at a level that challenges you?
- Do you feel part of a team who will back you under all situations
Your answers will determine what you need to do to become better. Here are some options on ways to act on this:
It's possible to avoid proper preparation and still be a success. The evidence of thousands of club players is proof of that you can. But if you approach your cricket in that way you are just avoiding your weaknesses and limiting your progress.
It's far better to put in the work before you are in a difficult situation, improving your chances of handling it. That way the captain probably won't even need to gee you up before play because he knows he can trust his team.