We`re all guilty of getting a bit emotional sometimes about our cricket, but are emotions something we ever pay attention to in terms of trying to take control of them? Cricket, like all sports can be extremely difficult on our emotions especially for those people in the world who make a living from it.
Expectation of players to perform at their highest level always can be quite an emotional burden, imagine the stress an international cricketer is under playing 12 months of the year these days (sure, they`re earning the big bucks these days) but trying to perform at your best constantly is vastly different from performing at your best constantly.
The highs of enjoyment can be unreal but at the other end of the game how tough is it when you just can’t score a run, take a wicket, miss out on that representative selection or can’t shake that injury.
We regularly see on TV, hospital programs where actors are laid in bed hooked up to a heart machine monitor and the dot bounces up and down representing the patient’s heartbeat… you with me? When the patient supposedly dies that bouncing dot flat lines into a straight line across the monitor screen.
I believe this is how we should look at trying to control our emotions in cricket. Stop letting yourself bounce from high to low back to high then back to low as success and failure fills your season. Be sure to enjoy the game of course – isn’t that why you play? But keep things in perspective, don’t allow yourself to get too high in the good times and more importantly don’t allow yourself to get too low when you`re not going so well… it’s a tough sport some days, but how do you react when you’re doing well, or not so??
An inability to control emotion is often more evident in young players. More and more often as a junior coach I encounter young players in tears in the dressing rooms or even on the ground after they have been hit for several boundaries in an over or indeed failed to score a certain amount of runs etc.
I’m sure as a junior coach yourself you can relate right? These tears are borne from the disappointment of failure or indeed the overwhelming feeling of letting somebody down whether it is team mates or family. Whatever the reason once overwhelmed by an emotion of failure tears or an outburst of some sort in young people is an expected response..
Why can`t I do better?…
Is always a tough question for young people to try to ask themselves.
As coaches, try and educate your players from an early age as possible to be calm about failure and help them understand that losing, personal failure and being disappointed about performance or results is part of learning about the game. After all cricketers generally experience many emotions throughout the course of a game let alone the season and it is very safe to say how players deal with their emotions reflect in performance. Controlling your feelings and emotions throughout the game can be as effective a tool to aid performance as not being able to control emotion can be destructive.
For some, controlling emotion might be easier than you thought, yet for others it could be the hardest thing you ever have to do especially when you are so desperate to do well and succeed. One thing is for sure, the sooner youngsters start to try and understand their emotional reactions, the more chance they have of being successful because of them.