Categories
coaching cricket mental skills

Building mental skills for cricket…without playing cricket

Ever thought of bird watching?

No, really.

Scan an area, ideally a tree where birds congregate or visit; even better if it is around 20m away. Relax, try not to focus too closely on any one point, but be aware of what is going on in the space you are scanning.

When you spot movement, focus in on it. First on the movement, then perhaps on the branch or leaf, then down to the bird (or cat, or squirrel, or plastic bag…). Work towards an ever finer focus.

Now really look. Can you see any more detail? What colour is the bird? It’s wings? Beak? No binoculars.

Watch for a few seconds. Pick out as much detail as you can. Hold that fierce focus, visual and mental.

Then relax, and return to scanning.

And repeat.

Categories
cricket Mental Health other sports psychology

“Tipping the Balance” — when resources outweigh demands

Back in October I attended a fascinating event, hosted by LagomMind in partnership with OpeningUp Cricket, looking at Mental Health in Cricket.

The panel featured Fabian Cowdrey, Dr. Jamie Barker from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, and Mark Boyns from OpeningUp.

It was a thought-provoking evening, so much so that it has taken me a while to process everything (and to catch up on some follow-up reading).

My headline learnings on the evening time included:

  • the dangers inherent in the modern belief that the only route to success is via obsession — “the harder I practice, the ‘luckier’ I get”…but finding a balance between obsessive practice and “civilian” life might seem the healthier option;
  • the impact of irrational beliefs on mental well-being — Jamie told the story of a cricketer who fervently believed that he should score 100s whenever he batted, and became extremely upset when dismissed in the 90s;
  • ultimately, the need to trust yourself, and find what works for you.
Categories
bowling cricket psychology

Bowling meditation

  • How my legs & feet are moving as I approach the wicket;
  • where back- and front-foot land, and the sensations from the floor;
  • tension between index & middle fingers, spread around the seam;
  • how the bowling arm unfurls from the gather and swings down, then up again, over-the-top or slightly round-arm;
  • the feel of the ball as it is released…

And repeat.