Mental toughness and stories of great Australian cricketers

Sport history is littered with athletes who have shown exceptional promise, precocious talent, and then like a shooting star, the brightness vanishes even more quickly than it appeared.

In the coming months, we will witness many such cases across sports such as Wimbledon, The Tour de France, the Ashes, the World Cup of Rugby, the Netball World Cup.

As athletes ply their skills in the various sports, it is important to know that the majority are generally not too dissimilar in their abilities; however, mental skills – the ability to have a clear mind when decisions are required to be made instantaneously is what separates winning from losing.

Then the ability to repeat this mental skill time and time again, day in day out, for weeks, months, years – that is mental toughness

Three stories of great Australian cricketers outlined the routines which made them some of the most mentally tough cricketers in the world, which because of the nature of the game, means they are among the most mentally tough global athletes.

Shane Warne

  • developed a routine of being “fresh & relaxed” before a day began for him. He had an invaluable skill of being able to compartmentalise his life, eg cricket, work, pleasure, family, friends & so on. The night before a game, he would in his own way, deal with all areas of his life which were not in the cricket compartment. This might have taken him a long time or a short time. But importantly, in his mind they had been dealt with. He could then sleep and wake up “fresh & relaxed” with only the cricket compartment open. Warnie could then walk onto his stage, the cricket field, with a clear mind; a set of bowling & tactical skills that made him one of the alltime greats of the game; and a confidence, a mental toughness that believed he would come out on top.

Steve Waugh

  • developed his mental routine, his mental toughness as a batsman around a notion that he was ‘under siege’. For Stephen to bat at his best, he needed to be involved in a ‘battle’ – a ‘battle to survive’ and then turn this ‘battle’ into a winning position. it was backs to the wall. He was the saviour of the team. He could make his mark as he fought against the odds, against the world. He believed mental toughness was about giving 100% to the moment, then being able to repeat this mental capacity time & time again, till the contest or ‘battle’ was decided.

Matthew Hayden

  • developed his mental routine through mentally rehearsing the game the day before. He would see the bowlers, what they were trying to do, and how he would counterpunch. His aim was to dominate the bowler as soon as he could. Matthew wanted to ‘own the ground’. Every action Matthew took from the moment he strode onto the ground, to taking guard, to preparing himself to face a ball, to scuffing the crease and so on showed everyone that this was his patch – he owned it and no one was going to take that from him

What are your mental routines that allow you to have a clear mind from which to make decisions?

If you know your mental routines, how do you access them constantly so that you are mentally tough?

Add your comments………………………….

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