What went wrong at Wirral CC?
First game of the season and bowled out for three: eight men bowled or LBW tells you a story. It was all in their heads. Teams rarely get bowled out; they bowl themselves out.
So what could they have done differently? And how can you prevent the same fate from befalling your side on Saturday?
Easy. Build a wall.
When you change your mindset and you build an indestructible wall around your team's innings. Only the very best bowling performances can break through. And when that happens, you can put your hands up and say "well bowled".
If you don't have to fear the bowling, you really only need to keep one thing in mind to prevent the collapse:
You can always turn it around.
When a batsman is out in the middle, surrounded by a team of motivated fielders it's easy to get into a negative mind. The good teams have the mental strength to ignore the wickets column and get on with playing.
As Wirral improved, this is easier said than done.
It starts with the batsmen in the middle taking responsibility. If the bowling team are on top, your job is getting you back. You can only do that by being out in the middle.
So keep talking to your partner at the other end. Make sure the conversation is one of two things: The first is nothing to do with cricket at all. Talk about what you are having for dinner or a good film you have seen. This relaxes your mind and allows you to concentrate harder when the game is back on.
The second method is to discuss practical positive elements:
On top of talking to your batting partner, it's also good to talk to yourself. Your internal conversation can be positive or negative. Learn to keep it positive and the match situation barely matters. You are ignoring the wickets column because it has no influence on the way you are playing.
Stopping a collapse from the sidelines
You can extend this thinking beyond the boundary too.
Imagine the scene: Your side lose a couple of quick wickets. The batsmen who are out complaining about the pitch or the brilliant bowling while the next man in sits biting his nails. Opposition bowlers reputations are discussed in detail making them seem all the better than they really are.
Everybody is thinking "I hope we don't collapse again". The very thought making the possibility more likely.
Now imagine the same situation where the team are discussing ways to play better.
The out batsmen, although upset, are talking about the best way to play to the next players in. The opposition tactics are analysed and weaknesses are found. There is a general feeling that whatever the situation, we can outplay the opposition. When they are not talking tactics they are talking about anything but how many wickets are down.
The latter team have far less collapses than the former.
With these simple tactics a change of mindset insulates you against all but the very best bowlers. Use them and watch your team improve.
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