As a fast bowler it's not all milk and honey in the land of the favourable pitch. The expectation is that you will slice through the top order in no time.
And that brings a pressure that you don't experience at any other time.
You can tense up.
Or you can relax too much and assume wickets will come no matter how you bowl.
In both cases a long half volley will get put away, even on a minefield.
Here are some things you can do on match-day to stay mentally focused and at the right level of arousal (as the psychologists call it).
Matchday morning routine
Preparing to bowl begins before you have even seen the wicket.
While everyone has a different routine - some more structured than others - it benefits everyone to start thinking through your action as part of your preparation.
This could be as simple as thinking through some key coaching points as you go about your morning before you get to the ground. Or you can go as far as reviewing video of yourself bowling well and taking wickets. The important point here is to focus on the process of your action; not the batters, the conditions or anything else outside your control.
Arriving at the ground
Once you make it to the ground and it is clear conditions will be favourable to bowling you can start to think more about your specific plan for the day.
Before warming up, take a few minutes to review all the reasons why you should do well; how much practice you have done, the conditions, your role in the side and how you have done well in the past. Keep the self-talk positive and focus on real advantages that you believe.
Some people like to take this further trying to stay in the moment, almost into meditation. If you feel this may work for you give it a try.
Mental warm up
Once you start your actual warm up, you also make sure you are warming yourself up mentally as well as physically.
The warm up should leave you feeling physically warm, motivated and focused. The fire will be rising in your belly.
You have also made sure you have performed drills that get you feeling good in your action. You are not trying to make any changes, just get back that feeling of the ball coming out well. For some bowlers this can take several overs off the full run, for others it's just a couple of quick lobs to the coach. Do what works to make sure you can hit the spot from the first ball.
Once the warm up is complete you will have a few minutes to kill before going out onto the field. Use this chance to finish up your mental preparation.
Keep the positive thoughts flowing and your energy up. Batsmen tend to need quiet time alone, but as a bowler - especially if you are opening - you need to fire up. Tell yourself you are ready to cause problems to the openers and hit the keeper's gloves hard right from the off.
Consider finding someone in the team who can wind you up a bit. Don’t be the sensitive soul; find your inner beast.
When you are done, you walk out onto the pitch in a perfect state; your mind focused on the task, your body fired up to what you need.
You hit your lengths at pace and the green top becomes your friend.
by David Hinchclife, PitchVision Academy
© 2013 miSport Ltd