11 May 2013

Book review: The Psychology of Cricket

Book title: The Psychology of Cricket
Release: 2013
Authors: Dr. Stewart Cotterill and Dr. Jamie Barker
Publisher: Bennion Kearny Limited

Publication Date: 25 March 2013
ISBN: 978-1-909125-21-6
Approximate Cover Price: £15.99 / Aus$23.99
Pages: 232

You can buy a copy through The Book Depository (they offer free shipping to Australia).

The book is available on Kindle
It should be going live on Apple's iBooks.

For all other ebook formats (including PDF and EPub) - Smashwords is the best place to buy.


Steve Waugh regularly made mention of what it takes to not only become a champion cricketer, but also become part of a winning team. Mental toughness, self-belief, playing to your strengths, etc.
All of these factors come up time and time again when we read interviews with cricketer's or listen to radio or television commentary discussions.

So often we hear about these dynamics of the game but how often is it really explored? Sure, those of us who have played cricket have touched base on these aspects of our own game, but how many of us truly understand what it's all about?

A book such as The Psychology of Cricket is something I strongly believe there has been a need for at various levels of the game.

The Psychology of Cricket touches on these topics from two highly qualified chartered British psychologists. Although we often discuss the topics covered purely on the surface, what we don't realise is how deep the psychology really goes behind these topics and how they are all essentials into a cricketer's practice. And this is what Dr. Stewart Cotterill and Dr. Jamie Barker have researched and brought to the forefront.

Dr. Cotterill and Dr. Barker have done their groundwork, having consulted with sportsmen at different levels and lectured at top Universities to really tap into what makes players the best of the best.

The psychological battle on the cricket field never ends, simply because it goes with a cricketer wherever he or she ventures. Without the knowledge and without the support in the working environment, one can never truly control or grasp these different dynamics at play. This book may in time prove to be an invaluable tool for the emerging cricketer to have as hard copy support, which one coach can rarely relay.

In essence the book will equip you with a greater understanding behind the core components come amateur to professional cricket. These core components essentially come down to Confidence, How to control emotions, Ways to increase concentration, How to become more mentally tough, How to build a successful team, Effective leadership and decision making, Dealing with pressure and Staying motivated.

Throughout the book, quotes from players such as; Steve Waugh, Justin Langer, Wasim Akram and Sachin Tendulkar appear. It adds snippets to the overall insight and the psychological approaches to the game these players are so aware of. Each quote has relevance to the chapter being studied.

For clarity, the chapters discussed are as follows:

Chapter One - The Mental Side of Cricket
Chapter Two - Being Motivated and Committed in Cricket
Chapter Three - Staying Focused
Chapter Four - Performing Under Pressure
Chapter Five - Becoming Mentally Tough
Chapter Six - Playing Confidently
Chapter Seven - Controlling Your Emotions
Chapter Eight - Leadership and Captaincy
Chapter Nine - Preparing to Perform: Playing to Your Strengths
Chapter Ten - Building a Successful Cricket Team
Chapter Eleven - Effective Decision Making

The topic of leadership is something I appreciated as far too often we have cricketers so focused on their own well-being, they overlook the importance to release any evidence of leadership, which can in many regards help their own game. Just look how Steve Waugh thrived in a leadership role once he'd founded a solid foundation for his own game.

Short challenges and tasks are also set out at the end of various chapters on quite a fundamental level to put the concept across for the reader to find a way to relate this to their own goals and practice routines. I liked the concept as "recommendations" as not everything will work for everyone. After all, cricket is a very personal game on so many levels.

If you are looking for a quick fix to solve your woes of self-doubt and lack of mental application come your cricket, you will not be finding it in this book. If you want a book that will gradually take you through the tasks of the different ways to work on your game in a psychological capacity, then this book will be of a massive benefit.

One must keep in mind they will require a fair amount of focus and limited distraction when taking in the different concepts and then finding ways to interpret them into your own game and mindset. This in itself will take some time as of course when trying to gain new skills or master a challenge, time is everything, as well as dedication, focus and commitment.

The more you read the book while relating it to your practice, indeed practice will indeed make "permanent" (not "perfect" as the book tells us). The concepts are easy enough to grasp on the surface but to really understand and apply them to your game is a whole different challenge, but that is what makes cricket one of the most intense sports come the mind games. This book will definitely benefit many emerging cricketer's or coaches.

An extract from the Authors with regards to the application and purpose of this book:

"Anyone who has played, or coached, cricket is aware that the mental side of the game separates the best players from the rest. Indeed, many players, coaches, and commentators describe the substantial contribution psychology plays in determining levels of cricket performance. The Psychology of Cricket is the first book to provide sport psychologists, coaches, and players of all levels, with
expert knowledge on gaining the mindset necessary to maximize cricket
This book will teach you to apply mental skills effectively in specific practice and match situations, while also getting inside advice from the authors who have experience and expertise of working as sport psychologists in professional cricket.
Through The Psychology of Cricket, you’ll learn new ways to become mentally tough which include building confidence, improving concentration, enhancing emotional control, staying motivated, and handling pressure. You will also develop your understanding of the important ingredients of successful teams and begin to understand the art of captaincy and effective leadership. Central to this book is the development of the reader’s understanding of how psychological factors influence performance, and how knowing this can help to enhance psychological performance.
The Psychology of Cricket starts with an emphasis on individual player development and the fundamental psychological skills you need to excel at the sport. In later chapters, the focus shifts to the importance of team dynamics and mental strategies in competitive play.
For the definitive word on mental preparation, The Psychology of Cricket draws on the experiences of sport psychologists, coaches, and players working in cricket at all levels. If you want to gain expert, contemporary advice about developing the correct mindset and mental approach to arguably one of the most psychological sports around, then The Psychology of Cricket is the resource for you!

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