Frustrated By Inconsistency? Learn To Own Your Zone
Graham Winter, Performance Psychologist
Don’t be Downhearted
Have you put in the work on your technique, and feel confident in your talent but it’s just not coming together in more runs, wickets, catches and fun?
Welcome to the experience of athletes from every sport!
Don’t be downhearted because the answer to regularly playing your ‘A-game’ isn’t more time in the nets, or copying a famous player...
You already have the answer, but chances are you haven’t created the HABITS you need to get the results you deserve.
Have You Been Misled?
No doubt you’ve heard top cricketers, tennis players and Olympic athletes telling the media that the secret to finding your absolute best performance is “being in the zone”.
Don’t believe them. It’s too simplistic because of two very obvious reasons:
You don’t need peak performance. Mostly they’re talking about a peak performance zone which is exactly what an Olympic athlete, or professional tennis player wants in the big competitions, but it’s almost impossible to regularly create that zone, and you don’t need it to create consistency.
- It’s your unique zone. There are massive individual differences in the experience of, and the triggers to the zone. For example, can you imagine aggressive players like Glen Maxwell and Alyssa Healy having the same zone triggers and experiences as consistent, ‘cool-under-pressure’ players like Kane Williamson and Megan Schutt?
Your A-Game is Waiting for You
The secret to consistent performances is to build habits that get you consistently into the mindset where you feel more in control of your game.
That’s not peak performance, but more a performance zone in which you play what some players call their ‘A-Game’.
Let’s share one of the training tools in the Mindful Cricket book and Workbook, to help you find that zone consistently.
Four Steps to Playing a More Consistent Game
STEP 1. Know Which Mind Cap You Are Wearing
Imagine you are jogging onto the field at the start of a match and you can see the mindset of your teammates and the batsmen by the colour of their caps or helmets.
Blue Caps have a Game Mindset. They’re clear minded, energetic and ready to take on the challenges.
Red Caps are in the mindset to attack. They’re quite hyped and maybe a little over eager to get on with the game.
Orange Caps bring low energy. They’re tentative, and perhaps preoccupied with doubts and fears.
Which cap are you wearing? What makes it change colour? What habits and behaviours help you to bring the blue cap? What habits and behaviours turn you towards to over-hyped or tentative style of the other two caps?
STEP 2. Blue Cap (Zone) is the Place to Be
The Blue Zone is the place to be to play consistent cricket (or consistent anything) because it is your unique Game Mindset:
Composed …. not … Reactive
On Task … not … Distracted
Simple … not … Complicated
Adapting … not … Fixed
Do you notice feeling more in control of your game when you’re in the Blue Zone? Chances are you make better decisions, solve problems and anticipate challenges because your mind is clear and you bring positive energy.
STEP 3. Learn Your Triggers & Blockers
Think of situations in cricket or in other times in your life when you experience the clear mind and calm energy of the Blue Zone.
What triggers this for you? Is it your physical preparation (sleep, exercise, nutrition), or the way you set your mind to take on the challenges?
For some players it’s small successes, or being less critical and controlling and instead trusting themselves.
Make it a priority to keep track of what triggers these experiences - and also what triggers the Red and Orange Zones
Specific Worksheets are ready to download in Mindful Cricket tools.
STEP 4. Create Habits
Habits are the key to delivering high and sustainable performance.
Get to know what triggers your Blue Zone, and then build habits and patterns of behaviours to increase the consistency.
For example a Test Player I have worked with builds in short periods of relaxation and stillness each day, including in the hours leading up to a match. His habit is to use a Mindful Breathing technique and he swears by it as the key to having a clear mind and finding his blue zone.
Mindful Cricket is continually learning how to get into the Blue Zone and stay there more often. That doesn’t mean it always works, but as you build the Mindful Cricket skills (like Go-to-Plans, 1-2-3 Reset and Centered Breathing) you create that Game Mindset.
CLEAR MIND - composed, focused, keeping it simple and adapting fast
PLAY BRAVE - putting it on the line and holding the tension
PLAY CLEVER - knowing your game and reading the game
PLAY BETTER - optimistic and game ready
Inconsistency is very frustrating, however it is more likely caused by your habits and patterns of behaviour which push you into the Red and Orange Zones - so take a mindful breath and get on with learning how to make the triggers to your unique zone a habit.
Join the Fast Start Course
Find out more about our Fast Start Course. Take the 20 Day course to strengthen your Game Mindset.
Get a Book & Workbook
Purchase hard or soft copies of the Mindful Cricket Book and Mindful Cricket Workbook.
Create High Performance
Learn how to train mindset and cricket at the same time with our High Performance Program.