Tuesday 20 May 2014 

The Untalented Cricketer's Guide To Playing Well

Keep working hard in the nets and you will reap the rewards...
Keep working hard in the nets and you will reap the rewards...
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Can you do well in your club games if you have no talent?

The answer to that question is the difference between saying "I'm not much of a cricketer" and "I make the most of what I have".

The latter gives you control. It tells the world that hard work breeds success. It gives you a reason to go to nets, work on your game and score more runs or take more wickets.

That’s important to know, because with this knowledge you can forget about cursing the cricket gods for not giving you the effortless Michael Vaughan cover drive and get to work developing your game.

Here is how you do it as a club cricketer

Look at the culture

Most players fall off the wagon before they have even begun. They are full of good intent to improve, but the culture at the club has a different view.

Many clubs view players who want to improve with quiet suspicion. Winning is important, but practicing with purpose is almost seen as "trying too hard".

The undercurrent is that if you are playing below professional level, you should not "take it too seriously" and that anything other than a quick net to get your eye in is pointless. After all, you are not much of a player and only the good ones practice hard because they have talent.

Of course, a culture like this is riddled with discrepancies.

So, if you want to make the most of your talent, you either need to find a club with a better culture or change the culture you have. It’s a crucial stage unless you are happy playing for fun, being inconsistent and never improving.

That’s fine for many, but not for you.    

Nail the first 20 hours

So you are on the road, and embedded in a place with a good culture. What next?

You need to get through the hardest, most frustrating time: the first 20 hours.

It’s hard because learning skills takes time and results are probably about 20 hours of practice away. Most people fall away in this period because seeing success is tricky.

So you can combine some grit with some tricks to help you through the pain.

Let’s think of it as a fast bowler.

You want to bowl faster without sacrificing accuracy. Commit to 20 hours of drills and fitness work and stick at it no matter how frustrating it seems. Even if progress is backwards, stick to the 20 hour rule.

Be careful in choosing training that has 3 elements:

We all know the good feeling of trying to do something and getting it right, especially if you have failed a couple of times before, so develop that feeling in practice and start building the internal motivation.

After 20 hours, there's a good chance you will have gone from frustrated and wanting to give up, to a noticeable increase in speed.

Keep on trucking

No matter what your "talent", by now you are improved and know you have more headroom.

This will allow you to sail past the self-doubt of "not being good enough". Instead people slowly start to say that you are making the most of what you have.

If it keeps going, even those people vanish and new ones start to jealously whisper how lucky you are that you got all that natural talent.

You will smugly know the truth; the harder you work, the luckier, and more talented, you get.

© 2014 Pitchvision Academy

For more coaching tips, videos and courses, please visit the PitchVision Academy website

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