You don’t get to be a talented cricketer unless you have resilience.
The ability to power through bad times, drops in form and unfair treatment is a trait of almost every top class player. You can recreate it too, if you follow this simple process.
This is a proven method used in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help people become more resilient against issues like depression, addictions and anxiety. It’s very effective in this world, and so also works on less severe elements of life, like mental strength in cricket.
It’s also so simple, you would be foolish to not give it a go for a few weeks. I know you will see an improvement in your mental toughness as a result.
Here is what you do.
After a net session, practice or game, ask yourself these questions:
- What happened? (Just the facts)
- What did you think and feel about it? (Emotions and reactions)
- What action can you take in future? (Planning)
You can write this down, or simply think it through in a quiet, reflective moment.
Either way you will come out with a way of breaking down your thoughts and coming up with a plan for next time. This makes things considered and rational rather than emotionally driven and negative.
Breaking down your thoughts from your actions works. This is because it helps you identify the facts of the matter (question 1), pull out the thoughts you had about it (question 2), reflect on whether those reactions were hurtful or helpful, then plan your next move (question 3).
The idea is, over time, you begin to spot the way you react to things.
This allows you to plan for your reaction and turn it from something that hurts your game into something that helps your game.
And that is resilience!
The classic example of this in nets is the batsman who gets out a couple of times, gives up and starts slogging.
After the net the coach comes up and asks what happens. They describe the facts of the matter (question 1) before going on to explain they felt frustrated so decided to take it out on the ball, perhaps even rationalising the move by saying it was death batting.
The coach then asks what future action they can take to meet their goals. The player comes up with several practical ways of keeping focused, even after getting out. Perhaps they work on playing the balls that got them in trouble to reduce the chance of it happening. Perhaps they work on recognising their frustration and putting them aside to stay focused on their goal in the net.
It’s this simple process that works for any skill in batting, bowling and fielding. It works post-practice and post-game. It allows you to focus on the things you want to improve in future.
It’s an opportunity to learn and improve your talent.
All for five minutes reflection! Not bad eh?