Dealing with high pressure situations

Gary Kirsten

Being able to deal with pressure is a vital attribute of any cricketer’s game.

It is an element which is focused heavily on at Gary Kirsten Cricket in all our coaching programmes.

“One of the key things to ask yourself is, have you done the work under that pressure. That pressure is often really difficult to replicate,” GKC Head Coach, Ryan Cook said.

“Pressure can come from various sources. They can come from internally or externally,” Cook added.

Cook explains that players must be able to deal with psychological and physiological pressure during a game.

“One of the tools we use is training the guys (players) in pressure situations more often. That way they become used to the responses they will default to have. These responses can be psychological or physiological so for example, sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, those are all physiological ones,” Cook explained.

“Psychologically, players can go into different modes of mental states. Some players become clouded with doubt, others start to have fear. Sometimes they respond with bravado.”

At the GKC, coaches put players through different situations which are tailor-made for the individual.

“Some of the methods we use in training are raising the consequence of a particular task or decreasing the time that they have to perform a task whether that is cricket related or not. By increasing the consequence, we start to see how people respond under those circumstances,” Cook said.

“Some players will need to calm down more, some will have to hype up more but they need to understand what they need to do,” he said.

“Mindfulness and breathing techniques often allow the players to sort out their emotions or thoughts in their head at that particular time, which helps them raise their awareness levels and promotes better performance” Cook said.