Cricket Psychology Tips: Why Play Cricket in Fear?
Being fearful in cricket is very common
I’ve been lucky enough to support a number of cricketers who have experienced a range of psychological challenges with a common theme – FEAR. Watching cricket on the TV as I do regularly, in every match this challenge is highlighted. Some of the following things have been mentioned in conversations with clients and ex-clients:
“I’m frightened when batting in case the fast bowler will take my head off!.”
“I worry about getting a golden duck.”
“When bowling I get anxious when a batsman gets on top of me.”
“During fielding I hate those catches when you have so much time to think – my mind goes into overdrive.”
“On a bad run, I dread going out to bat.”
These observations have led me to do some more research into common psychological challenges faced by cricketers. It’s a project I’m working on so I’ll keep you informed on the results.
Getting back to the point. Often when it comes to fear our thoughts are irrational. In my Mental Toughness development work outside of sport I’ve been fortunate to chat to soldiers and police officers who experience frightening situations on a regular basis.
If you’re about to be attacked by a bunch of thugs or are being shot at in the battlefield you have every right to be frightened? – YES
This adds some perspective I hope…… let’s think about other situations that may scare us. Heights are an issue for me… the dark, public speaking, crowded spaces, fear of flying are all pretty common issues for people.
Now, let’s think about this when it comes to cricket – specifically bowling…… Fear breeds tension in the hands, wrists and arms, shoulders, back and then has a huge negative impact on our rhythm, balance and timing. Think about it – in training people are generally more relaxed than they compete. They then go on to bowl fantastically for long periods, yet frustratingly in matches they can be hugely inconsistent.
What is the solution to this fear? How do we calm down our overly sensitive brains?
Here are 3 tips:
Yes, it’s simple, very simple – but it works, when we get fearful, our breathing changes and makes the problem intensify. Focus on deep diaphragmatic breaths to calm the brain down and ‘re-set’ its reaction.
- Train under pressure
Put yourself under pressure in training. Do not just go through the motions. Create targets, have competitions with other bowlers and batsmen, make your practise tough. Putting yourself under pressure, regularly creates immunization. If you want to bowl more accurately under pressure this should be a MUST.
- Face your fears
Instead of focusing on the problem and doing nothing about it. Recognize it is an issue, face your fears.
Ask yourself these questions:
What am I NOT doing when bowling that is being ruled by FEAR?
What do I want to change when I practise and compete in matches?
How will making positive changes to this aspect impact on me?
Now think about putting in place and focusing on key processes and routines that can help you. These processes can become a lifesaver when you’re under pressure. They really do allow you to relax and trust your skillset, especially when they are practised.
I hope you find this post useful, feel free to get in touch and share you experiences or why not sign up to “The Mental Edge” for regular updates.
You many also have some questions about one 2 one Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sports Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Newcastle upon Tyne – Face to face, via the telephone, SKYPE or online via email are available.
Online Cricket Psychologist who supports Bowlers and Batsmen around the world from Barbados to London, Dubai to Durban, Perth to Wellington, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.
Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub. With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.
T: +44 7734 697769