As a young player emerging onto the first class arena, it soon became evident that myknowledge of the game had to improve, thus resulting in obtaining my respective coaching certificates, however always mindful that a little knowledge can be dangerous, and so embarked on passing my experiences to those who wished to listen. I engaged Greg Chappell to assist in the development of the Mosman Cricket Club, below is the extract from his address which I am sure you will all find fascinating and enjoyable.
There are 3 levels of concentration
* Waiting to bat
* Walking out
* Taking strike
Waiting to Bat
This is when you are in the dressing room or just watching the game, you do not have full on concentration but are aware of the happenings in the middle, some players will talk a lot, as did Greg, others like Mark Waugh go through a sleepy state. It is wise not to go into total concentration.
This next state is one of arousal, a sense of tension you are now on stand by.
Watch the bowlers face as he comes in to bowl then focus on the ball, look for the stitches on the ball, this is called fine focusing.
Do not have nothing in your head negative thoughts flood in talk to your self look for every opportunity to come forward. Do not have your weight on the heels , a key point here is, and, can signal the switch for full concentration is, tilt the top had towards the bowler, this set the wrist and allows a full straight back lift and face of the bat maintaining the figure 9.
It is difficult to concentrate full on all day get in the habit to switch on and off between ball relax think about other positive things, Doug Walters counted the crowd.
Target how many runs you want to score in the season 800 and concentrate to get them 1 at a time. Count every run this will help your concentration.
What are you trying to achieve ?
How will you get there ?
Count one at a time !
How will you get it ?
Concentrate on each ball !
Don’t try to get the end goal first !
Mental preparation started long before the day of the match visualize the event see yourself achieving the goal, replay how you intend to play, see yourself playing the stroke. Reinforce those values you want to improve on.
Most players will only improve physically 10-15% but mentally in excess of 50% , and it starts at the practice sessions.
Use practice sessions wisely you can over practice, better to have 2 15min quality sessions, re-enforce the game plan, talk to yourself , do not get out, play strokes according to the type of ball , try to work the v”s simulate match conditions. You should be upset if you get out in the nets.
There are times when you are batting and this little voice say’s go over the top and you wrestle with this until you snap and do it, talk to yourself “all right you got that out of your system, what did you prove, get you head down and work at it “
Cricket careers are like a siv, a box with layers of mesh each layer with smaller holes , you going through that siv it is like being tested at each level, pretty soon all those that reach the top have something in common. Pressure also can play a restrictive role you can start off with the dream and lose sight of the goal, a strand of cotton is easily broken wind it around a number of times and becomes very tight, so are our careers, each little bit of pressure is a another strand, ultimately choking the talent. Mental toughness is earned, not given.
At practice look to take about 6 good slips catches any more is over doing it the chances are that bad habits will enter your mind
Catching is about concentration same as in batting switch on , switch off.
Watch the feet of the batsmen it is the tell tale movements which will indicate the direction the ball will be struch.
Make sure to be moving early , be moving before e the ball is hit.
First slip watch the ball, 2-3 watch the hips of the batsmen.
If you do not enjoy fielding get another job.
Avoid useless chatter eg “lets have him” clapping of hands etc.
This is about common sense, which of you bowlers would you least like to face , place fielders where they are best suited, every one should do 10-15 of full on fielding practice at each session.
Work out how many runs you want to keep the opposition to in that session eg if 85 is normal for the ground let your team know you want 65 or less this puts enormous pressure on the other side to score. all fieldsmen are now aware of the common goal. The bowlers know that they have to operate to less than 3 per over, soon the batsmen have to take risks.
Do the basics right, achieve the simple things efficiently.
Give the ground a total eg 250 , enthusiasm is infectious, challenge each other in the field.
Many of the attributes mentioned above apply to bowling, at practice get the technique right, mental prepare yourself in game simulation. Talk to your fieldsmen they may have picked something up or can give you valuable information, after each ball the little voice will tell you what to bowl next believe in it. Talk to yourself visualize how to get him out , be prepared before the match , get the line and length and game plan clear in your mind, Sir Richard Hadley would say I would remember the 3-L’s Line Length Lillee this put him into frame of mind. Look to relax the face muscles, remember its a matter of who cracks first. Your mind will wonder if you do not talk to yourself.
Accept that some days you get out of bed and it is tough going and it will be hard , you just have to work at it.
The brain will recall the last thing you put into it , tell yourself what you want, “I see the ball just short going over off stump” do it with out thinking. Picture what you want
I hope that in some small way that we have been able to help mold a better attitude and in doing so your enjoyment of the game improves. Less than 450 players have represented at Test Level, you never know who’s next.