Coaches constantly implore their players to
maintain focus, to concentrate. Do coaches
ever speak about the causes of a lack of
focus? Do coaches ever teach players how
to maintain their focus?
You often see a lack of concentration at practice,
where you might notice players are playing too
many poor shots in the nets because they keep
on talking and are not fully focused. Players may not be
treating their practice session like a game. These bad
habits are formed in practice and go with them into
game situations and when they need it most, it is no
wonder that the player struggles to concentrate.
What are some of the specific things that can distract
players in match situations?
Many distractions are common for all of us and they
can depend on our personality, our mindset, our
daily routine, our physical fitness and other factors.
The most important thing in maintaining focus
is finding strategies that will help us to overcome
distraction. The first thing the player should analyze
is himself. He or she should try to understand the
reasons for the distraction.
Lot of batters lose their concentration under
pressure. When bowlers are on top and fielders
are making a noise, batsmen often play a bad shot
that causes them to and lose their wicket. I recently
read that it takes 10 to 20 minutes to adapt to a new
situation, which, in batting means that you have to
hold your nerve and concentrate for 3 to 5 overs
while under pressure.
There are many ways to overcome distractions in
cricket. Many successful players do meditation, many
successful players listen to music, many successful
players sit quietly and practice to their ability to focus.
These are all positive things to do that can help a player
to improve and maintain focus. There are also things that
players should avoid. Things like too much use of mobile
devices, TV or late-night parties, negative talk, thinking
too much about your opponents or competitors, lack
sleep, these are all things that will have a negative effect
on your ability to concentrate in a match.
Playing sport at a professional level is very much like
a worship, players have to sacrifice many pleasurable
things and dedicate themselves to becoming the best
that they can be at their sport. As an example, the surprise
Tokyo Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra did not
use his mobile phone from one year prior to the Olympic
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Games so that he could focus on his training and this led to him stunning the world of athletics and winning the
Olympic gold. His sacrifices resulted in a much greater reward, an Olympic gold medal, something that can never
be taken away from him and immortality in India!
In a cricket match, you are out there for a very long time and it is not possible to give one hundred percent
concentration for every second that you are out there.
You need to relax your concentration between deliveries but make sure that it is switched on again before the next
Concentration also varies in its intensity. It is like zooming in with a camera. As the bowler begins his run up
(depending on its length), you need a general concentration but as he gets close to delivering, you need to zoom
in. Just before he delivers, you need intense concentration that will only last for about a second.
You can practice concentration. You should practice these techniques of concentrating at the nets. If you cannot get
it right at nets, you will not get it right in a match. To concentrate well, you have to be determined to concentrate.
I am not against modern devices but players should avoid them as much as possible. I am pretty sure that if you
work on improving your concentration it will help you a lot in your cricket career. So please, get into the habit of
analysing yourself and working out which things distract you from focusing on the game.