"I hate fielding."
You might never say it that directly, but you have probably thought it at some point.
It's easy to say that fielding is underrated and we should all work on it more. But the truth is, it's a hard skill to enjoy. Most people tolerate it while waiting for their chance to bat or bowl.
Yet there are the crazy handful who love it.
They approach the day as an opportunity to test their self-confidence, concentration, skill and anticipation. For them fielding is the opportunity to win the game with a great catch or run out.
Are these people the crazy ones, or can we learn how to enjoy fielding from them?
So here's how to put a little crazy into your fielding.
Shift your focus
You get a lot of time to field. It's easy to drift off, feeling like the game is far away and you are no longer involved.
This is where your ability to tune in and out of the game becomes vital.
Some people call it "switching on and off" between balls but it's better to look at it as a more subtle shift of focus. Nobody can give their full attention for an entire innings in the field, but you can shift your attention to ration it out.
You only need to be fully switched on for a second as the ball is delivered.
In fact, if you are grazing down at third man during a long match you probably never need to give your full attention: Just enough to make sure you are ready when the ball comes to you.
The rest of the time you can lower your focus. Some fielding positions allow you to turn off almost totally while others benefit from a little more attention even when the ball is dead.
This is a skill you can work on in practice. Do some middle practice and when you are fielding, try out some different shifts to see what works for you.
Change the background
The attention trick works well, but if you find yourself still 'on your heels' change fielding positions. A few overs at gulley or midwicket when you have been strolling from mid on to fine leg is bound to revitalise you and stave off the boredom.
The best way to do this is have a quiet word with the captain between overs. He or she will no doubt have a lot more on their mind than where you field, so will probably swap you straight away. That way they don't have to think about it too much.
You can also have a pact with an equally skilled team mate to swap positions if you are not getting the ball much. It's important to pick someone of roughly equal skill so you don't upset the captain's brilliantly set field. It's also best to clear this with the captain before the game. If you are trusted they will say yes.
Make fielding your "2nd skill"
We all want to do well at our main skill of batting and bowling. You want to be in the top 3. But if you set the aim of becoming one of the best 3 fielders in the team you will take pride in your position. If there is a secret to enjoying your fielding it's: A genuine change in attitude brought about through becoming an excellent fielder.
Everyone can improve. Everyone can become more athletic, be able to dive and learn how to catch more than they drop. Every time you take a catch or make a stop in practice you are learning to do it in the middle.
As yourself: Do I dislike fielding because I want to hide in the field as my skills below par?
If the answer is yes, even a tiny bit, then it's time to make fielding the focus of your practices. The better you become the more you will enjoy showing off your skills.
Remember, enjoying fielding is a combination of having good skills and a sound mental approach.
It's all too easy to say fielding is important yet not work on it with any passion or energy. Don't be one of those people who hate fielding because it's 'boring'.
It's challenging and enjoyable. And if you do it right you will be seen as crazy. In a good way.
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