Latest News | COPING WITH PRESSURE BIG GAME NERVES by Adam Hollioake part 4

COPING WITH PRESSURE BIG GAME NERVES by Adam Hollioake part 4

 
One of the main things people associate with being able to cope with pressure is big game nerves. Why do we get nerves in big games? Because in our minds we place more importance on doing well and heap more pressure on ourselves by worrying about the outcome. Our fear of losing makes us worry about the outcome and distracts us from the process. The process is the important thing on big game days. Often we think we need to play better than we normally do to succeed! This is massively incorrect. The days I played best in big games was when I said to myself “Just go and play like you normally do, and let the other team try and go up a level” Often doing the basics well on big days is enough as a lot of players are consumed by the big occasion.
As I discussed in a few blogs back (COPING WITH PRESSURE BOWLING part 2) you need to put in the hard yards at training to learn to cope with the big occasion this should be done in your net sessions as discussed however another thing that is helpful is to have a little routine that you can stick to. This makes you feel more comfortable and feel more at home. A big mistake many players make however is to create an unrealistic routine. A lot of players want a full net and all their favorite facilities at every game…..What happens then? Well my feeling is that if your routine is too demanding when faced with a lack of facilities or if your preparation gets interrupted by weather or unforeseen circumstances then you will immediately be taken out of your comfort zone. My routine was designed around things which I always felt I would be able to perform (like bowling in the middle (or nets) a few catches and a couple of throw downs. If I was fortunate enough (and I always looked upon it that way) then I would have a bat in the nets or take any extra opportunity willingly.
I remember reading a book by a guy called Kostya Zsu (a Russian boxer who immigrated to Australia) he said that his coach when he was an amateur used to keep him up late at night before certain fights and make him sleep on the floor etc. His thinking was that one day when he became professional he would get a terrible nights sleep or encounter upsetting preparation. But the fact he had already practiced being upset would help him not be to upset by any situation that could possibly arise.
Watching great players under pressure is always a fantastic way to learn. They appear immune to the pressures of big games and situations. One of the most recent examples of this is Dhoni’s innings in the World Cup Final. He came to the crease with the game in the balance, his dismissal would have left India in a tough position. However he appeared to stride confidently to the crease and play better than he had previously in the entire world cup. I think it is important to note body language at this time. Not only can you upset opposition by appearing confident, you can also more importantly give yourself a little bit of confidence by just walking confident. Dhoni on that particular occasion gave off very impressive body language and I think it impacted on the whole result. Sri Lanka went very quickly from feeling they could win the game to looking like a side that were being dictated to by a very confident man.
I save a special paragraph for Sachin Tendulkar in this particular section as he has lived a life of pressure, almost every game for him is a big game. The nation stops when he is at the crease and that in itself brings its own pressures. Unfortunately it was never a problem or a pressure I ever had to deal with. But I can imagine this would be a unique type of pressure that very few will ever have to cope with therefore I wont even try to understand it, I will just admire it.
 

Adam Hollioake

 

Adam Hollioake playing for England

[caption id="attachment_427" align="alignleft" width="237" caption="Adam Hollioake"]Adam Hollioake[/caption]

 

Adam Hollioake playing for England

 

Adam Hollioake playing for England

 

Adam Hollioake playing for England