Plan to succeed: Make plans age-specific, based on skills, experience and aspirations of the individuals and team.
Encourage sense of purpose and confidence.
Provide environment (especially in training) where all players experience some form of achievement.
Make training relevant. Plan ahead. Don’t leave things to chance.
Practice as you mean to play.
Make your expectations clear and understood by all players (parents) regarding standards of behaviour and performance.
Goal Setting. Achievement/performance based.
Achievement: Motivation, long-term goals e.g. league/cup or short-term win next match.
Care setting winning over skill/team development.
Make age/skill appropriate. Must be attainable/realistic but challenging.
If set too high can be de-motivational.
Performance: More under control of young cricketer so more focus on these. Descrice processes or actions that lead to achievement goals. Need to be monitored and upgraded periodically. Care setting performance goals younger players.
Involve player/team in performance goal setting. Create feeling of “ownership”.
Be specific: Clear and written down. Players “sign up” to goals (Australia/John Buchanan)
Measurable: e.g. no more than one ball down leg per over.
Challenging: Goals set should include weaker players.
Flexibility: Alter as circumstances change.
Prioritise: Multiple goals should be listed in priority. Dot balls, better running of singles leads to wins.
Practical Goal Setting:
Leads to quality of performance. Direction and purpose. Clear form of assessment
Dress: Shirts tucked in, neat and tidy appearance. All wear team cap/hat/sweater etc.
Practice behaviour: Punctuality, attitude, focus.
Match behaviour: Spirit/conduct. Supportive structures.
Off field behaviour: Sitting and supporting as a team.
Meet the team and discuss goals. Involve players in the process. Write them down. Focus on key areas. Players have ownership; coach helps process. Review progress, provide feedback. Praise achievement. Positive feedback stimulates.
Personal goal plan. Short and long term.
Small, measurable achievement goals: Get 10 runs and build. Beat highest score etc.
Longer-term: Beat last year’s average, top wicket taker etc.
Advise on goals-make realistic but challenging.
Personal improvement plan based on areas needing more attention. Offer advice for self-help drills.
Review and ask players for feedback and self-assessment.
Preparation and Routines.
Pre-game and within game.
Be prepared. Pack kit the night before. Imagine going into bat-is all your kit there?
Clear arrangements for arriving at the ground.
Team meetings to discuss strategies, inspect pitch conditions. Revise team plan/strategies/selection.
General team warm up. Run/dynamic stretches.
Catching and fielding drills/batting drills etc.
A well organised pre-game routine brings the team together and can impress/undermine opposition.
Final discussion-leave players time and personal space to prepare mentally.
Within game routines:
Team: Walk out together.
At the end of each over run (as one) to new positions. Slow this down to reduce momentum if opposition getting ahead in the match.
Encouragement of each other/bowler.
When wicket falls, get together as team. Congratulate and re-focus. Discuss ideas.
Encourage and develop team spirit.
Work on backing up, fielding as a unit, supporting each other. Acknowledge this.
At a break or end of innings, batters/fielders walk off together to show solidarity.
Sit together and support when batting.
Batting: Watch the game when waiting to go in. Not too closely but take in visual cues. Who are the strong/weak fielders. Does the bowler have an odd action?
Breath properly and relax your muscles.
Don’t rush padding up. Be prepared and settled.
Bounce the ball on your bat/have throw downs to focus eyes.
Walk in positively to the centre (good body language)
Look up at the sky (not the sun!) to adjust your eyes to the light.
Take guard and mark carefully.
Take a good look around at the field set-avoid eye contact. Be aware of strong fielders and where gaps are.
Get into your pre-set routine. Line up feet, grip, backlift. (This should be natural and automatic)
As bowler runs up, say verbal trigger (eg watch the ball/play straight etc)
At delivery stride focus closely on ball and watch from hand onto bat.
After delivery “switch off” concentration but remain aware (fielders moving etc)
Re-start crease management routine and switch back on.
Bowling: Measure and mark your run-up before the game. Mark both ends, not just your preferred end as the game situation may require you to change. Be aware of the ground conditions in your run-up.
Get a feel for match conditions; weather, wind, under-foot conditions.
Get a feel of the ball early on. Keep it clean and shine one side. Make all fielders aware which side is to be shined.
Observe each batsman. Are there any tell-tale signs of shot preferences/weaknesses (eg grip/stance/etc)
Be happy with your field before bowling.
Know your role for each spell.
Have a plan for each ball. Make it relevant to match situation. Make it part of an overall strategy to get wicket/slow run-rate.
Do not try unrehearsed deliveries in a match.
Set yourself at your mark. Focus on intended target. Get balanced and mentally set. Mentally rehearse delivery and imagine positive result.
Know your role.
Use verbal/physical trigger for each delivery (eg touch hands together.)
Every ball is coming to you. Be prepared and balanced.
Encourage team-mates. Keep team focused and together.
Focus. Tap gloves (Trigger).
Encourage. Be the “centre” of the team. Be the eyes for the captain. Help but don’t take over.
Get balanced and low as bowler begins run. Every ball coming through to you.
Call clearly to fielder for return. Which end. Bounce return etc.
The key to goal setting is to get sign-up of all the players and to promote the team above individuals.
Challenge the norm. Look to constantly improve, even if it is in small steps.
- Take personal responsibility. Just like your cover drive, attitudes of team unity take practice. That means each player taking responsibility for his attitude on and off the field. You must consider yourself a leader even if you are not captain. Show a never-say-die attitude, use positive body language, motivate others and be unwavering in your confidence. In short: be a team of captains.
- Pull together. The best teams all know what their goals are so they can all pull together the same way. Imagine a tug-o-war team all doing their own thing! Cricket teams need to be just as efficient. This efficiency comes about through agreed goals at the start of the season and a captain who the team trusts to lead them in those goals even under the fast moving pressure of a game.
- Know your role, know everyone else's. Everyone in the team needs a crystal clear idea of their own job so they can concentrate on it fully (pinch hit, take wickets, stem the flow of runs, etc). On top of this, everyone needs to be clear of others role in the team so you all know all bases are covered.
- Unite against a common enemy. Nothing brings people together quicker than a common enemy. Show the opposition how united you are with tricks like running on the field together, doing impressive fielding drills, having a huddle and making them doubt themselves through well placed comments.
- Keep standards up. Standards of dress, appearance and practice vary widely but everyone needs to know what they are in your team. Ideally they will be agreed and written down in an obvious place. People who don't meet them quickly realise they are letting down the team unit.
- Balance out personalities. Some people are natural players in it for the fun, others have to practice hard to keep up standards so can be more focused and serious. Everyone, especially the captain and senior players should know what type of players are in your squad and how much they can put up with of discipline or creativity. To force too much of one on the wrong player will cause them to get fed up and eat away at team spirit.
Good team spirit builds up the confidence of individuals. Even when you are playing badly, the team can pull you through it with the right words. Knowing someone is backing you all the way is a powerful way to improve your own performance and the results of your team.