Remember when you were young? Who did you want to be? I can remember wanting to be Spiderman or Superman as a young boy. I think I may have even wanted to be the Incredible Hulk.
As I got older, I wanted to be both a professional footballer and an international cricketer. As a teenager growing up I wanted to be Steve Waugh. I loved the way he batted, I loved the way he captained the Australian cricket side.
Maybe you can recall when you were learning the game perhaps if you enjoyed watching Indian cricket then you wanted to be Sachin Tendukar or if you enjoyed the cricket from the Caribbean, Viv Richards or Brian Lara, may have been your heroes.
Perhaps you have enjoyed England’s success and admired Ian Bell or James Anderson. Perhaps you have enjoyed watching the powerful South African sides.
We all want to be like our heroes and children study and watch the masters regardless of what sport or activity. Children are very good at modelling their heroes, they imitate, they pretend and they study. Let us look at how children imitate, pretend and study their heroes.
There is almost wall-to-wall coverage of Cricket on the television and almost every country has dedicated sports channels and it is possible to watch almost every test match, every one day international and every 20/20 game that is played anywhere in the world.
The Indian Premier League is televised worldwide for millions and the Australian Big Bash is gaining popularity. Even local domestic cricket is televised and it is here where children and young teenagers can learn from the masters.
I’d like to add that older cricketers can also learn from watching the talented player in action. You can watch and record the television to replay live games. The Internet is full of resources to allow batsmen the opportunity to study how the best play the game.
The key point to remember is to get the balance between playing your own game and so the balance between your own game and new heroes is very important. If you have a weakness on your pads you can watch ex-Australian skipper Ricky Ponting or Andrew Strauss play through the leg side.
If you are weak at cutting the ball through the offside, you can watch videos of AB De Villiers technique. If you have a weakness against spin, I would suggest that it would be a good idea to watch Michael Clark or some of the top batsmen from the sub-continent. Maybe you would like to learn how to build an innings by watching Ian Bell play.
I’d encourage you to watch the masters play and to learn from them. However, I must stress that you don’t lose your own individual style. It is good to incorporate your own model and that of an expert if you study many people in business, in the arts, music and other sports, use a model to create a perfect ideal of how they want to act and manage their performance.
I like to encourage you in your next training session on that practice to really act as if you are that batsmen that you wished to emulate. How would your model batsmen approach the session? How would the batsmen play the innings? How would the batsmen rebuild the team score after the loss of a couple of quick wickets? How would the batsmen attack the bowling? Next set the field in your imagination to one that you have to face when you play.
When you practices in the nets you can begin to initiate this way of playing as if you were out in the middle. You’re going to aim to always have the end in mind when you go out to bat. Say, “I’m going out to bat and I’m going to be like (name of batsman).
What a great way to begin your innings at the crease and to really gain the mindset of being in that player you’ve always admired.