Obvious, really. But how often do you see batsmen doing the exact opposite, and hitting shots straight at the fielders.
Top batsmen take a quick look around the field, then proceed to thread the ball through the narrowest of gaps.
How do they do it? The answer seems to be simple enough…but with a subtle lesson for the psychological side of top performance.
It is not about remembering where the fielders are. Rather, it is about remembering where they are not i.e. knowing where the gaps are.
Think about the fielders, and that is what you hold in your subconscious. Forget the fielders, and all you see is the gaps.
And this applies to any activity. Don’t think about the white bear…and all you can think of is a large, white bear, possibly stood on top of a glacier mint.
Don’t concentrate on not bowling a bad ball (or a no ball). Instead, picture hitting that line and length, landing that front foot comfortably behind the crease.
One caveat – this is not about “positive thinking” (“think about success, and success will follow”) – that is no more than wishful thinking. Rather, it is a single-minded focus on the desired outcome, not the consequences of failure.