There are a stack of reasons to admire and emulate professional cricketers when you are young and aspiring for cricket greatness.
More important than trying to emulate Virat Kohli’s hand speed or Dale Steyn’s bracing leg, is emulating their work habits that have helped them to perfect their craft.
Professional cricketers are not much different than anyone else so it is fair to say that many of them, like us, enjoy training. Many dislike it. Some love it, some hate it. What sets them apart is their understanding of training benefits. Not only do they know its benefits, but they appreciate what this means to the longevity and sustainability of their career and tend to see the bigger picture.
The professional cricketer also tends to significantly respect the training process. This means embracing it even if they don’t like it. They understand what it means to their career, and that work-ethic can become a limiting factor for many as their careers wear on.
Young and aspiring cricketers should take the lead from pro cricketers – not in how they train, but how they approach their training from a mental standpoint.
UNDERSTAND WHAT WORKS BEST
A key role of cricket coaches is to inspire young cricketers to take ownership of their own training process.
Taking ownership does not necessarily mean avoiding training processes the player doesn’t enjoy or that are the most difficult. It is about enabling the player to make decisions about training processes to put the player in the best position to be successful each day they train.
This takes a coach with an open mind and a degree of creativity. Likewise successful cricketers should be open to working with coaches to develop training processes. Giving innovative and progressive training methods a go takes open minds and mutual trust. Either the methods will work, or they won’t. If they don’t, that is ok, because the coach and the player are learning what does and does not work – an extremely positive position to be in!
A lot of communicating must go on between the player and coach after the fact in order to determine what methods will work best for both parties. This conversation can only occur, though, if the player understands what works best for them.
Coaches can’t expect a 12-year old to know what works best for them. But, young cricketers can emulate this process by being open to coaching and willing to experiment – just so long as the coach is willing to involve the player in their own decision making process.
IS IT ALL ABOUT THE WORK?
Coaches at all levels will benefit from watching the pros train. Whilst the majority have fun throughout the training process it is not a game – it is all about the work.
For the most part these professional cricketers enjoy their work and craft, and they love the game. But, when the training process is a daily one, it can become more about routine and the long-term outcome
Coaches should ensure that the fun should not be taken out of training for young and aspiring cricketers and that they slowly encourage a natural maturity in the training process as the young cricketer matures themselves.
Young and aspiring cricketers should not be expected to train like professional athletes; the bodies, minds, and capabilities of, say, a 12-year old and 25-year old are not equal.
But, younger cricketers can in fact learn from the way professionals go about their daily training process to help them shape their own routines and work habits.