This is such an important part of the game. If you can
get it right, you can double your success as a cricketer,
yet it is seldom coached and its importance is seldom
valued. It is so important to prepare mentally for a
game of cricket.

You wouldn’t think of going into an exam unprepared! To
prepare for a cricket match, you need to think through and
picture in your mind all the possible situations and scenarios
you might encounter.

The preparation does not stop at a match. Use the warm-up to
get yourself into the right frame of mind, get your focus. You
have not come to the ground on a Saturday to waste six hours
messing around with your friends. You have five days in the
week to do this! You have come to the ground to score runs, take
wickets and field well so focus on that and do not allow yourself
to be distracted by your friends.

When you are the next to go and bat, go and sit away from your
friends and start watching closely what is happening out in the
middle. Start refining your preparation and making plans for
what you are going to do. Continue to use visualization, picture
yourself doing certain things. Now when you walk out to bat,
you will be prepared, you will know what to expect.

This visualization should never make you anxious, it should be
positive but realistic. You should see yourself doing good things
in the match, but not unrealistic things like hitting the first six
balls that you face for six! You can also use visualization between
deliveries when you are in the middle.

As a bowler you should be constantly strategizing in your mind
as to what it is exactly that you have to do to either restrict the
opposing batsmen from scoring runs or ultimately get them out.
In between your overs, you should be assessing what you are
doing well and which areas of your bowling need to be addressed
and improved upon right away!

Even when you are fielding, think of the possible things that
could happen in the position that you are fielding in and use
visualisation every now and then to prepare yourself. When the
situation happens that you have already imagined, you will react
more quickly and you certainly won’t be taken by surprise.

In each and every department of the game therefore, batting,
bowling and or fielding always be prepared and mentally
switched on at all times. Cricket is after all a game of very minor
margins and your mental acuity might just give you that extra
edge towards your success!
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