It’s a common enough refrain from managers and coaches after a heavy defeat, or at the end of an unsuccessful season – we will have to go back to the drawing board/training ground, or (in the modern idiom) get back to our “processes”…
Perfectly understandable, and certainly not wrong.
But what to do when you have just recorded a winning season? When teams have won divisional titles and promotions, when the Colts section has dominated County age group competitions, and produced players who now expect to score runs in senior cricket.
Back to the drawing board, I say!
When you are strong, that is the time to put in the hard yards to make next season, and the seasons to follow, even better.
A little personal history.
Two of our Colts’ XIs have just won Cup competitions at County HQ. Before one of the finals, I told the boys of my own “great” day out, many years ago. I played in a School XI that won a County competition on the same ground. Against arch rivals who we played football and cricket against six times a year.
Caught behind, first ball, thanks for coming.
I applied the positive spin for the team talk, of course – bad things happen, get your head up if misfortune strikes, support your team mates if your own day falls flat, and be ready to take the next catch/stop the single/back-up everything in the field.
But the true story is harder. County champion school in 1975; my next winning season as a player was in 1999 (and that only a low-key, local T20 midweek league); none since. That run included two and and a half seasons in a Club 1st XI that could not win a single competitive match. And many more years when losing became the norm, and good players forgot how to win a game of cricket.
It wasn’t that complacency set in after the early success. Just that, with no-one to point the way forward to (even) better cricket, we simply didn’t realise that better was possible.
Onwards and upwards
So that’s why I’ll be encouraging the players to enjoy the success now, to take a rest at the end of the season, then to get ready to work harder than before to make next year even better.