Latest News | Coping with Pressure by Adam Hollioake part 1
Coping with Pressure by Adam Hollioake part 1
One of the things I am asked most frequently is how did you cope with pressure in big situations? Well the answer I normally give is something quite bland or I actually try and fob the question off with humor by saying things like “I just swung at the ball and hoped for the best” or I just let go of the ball and hoped for the best”. Why do I always answer in this way? Well the truth is this isn’t a topic for the pub or a BBQ! This topic can’t be discussed properly whilst having a beer…nor is it you will be able to discuss it even in a controlled environment. As someone will interrupt and this topic is probably the most in depth of all topics in sport.
Firstly let me say that by no means do I claim to be the master of this topic, I am just a student, however because of the nature of the position I batted and bowled I found myself in high pressure situations almost every game I played and therefore have a lot of experience to pass on both good and bad unfortunately. Just like any other skills there were days I could execute my mind skills better than other days. There are also different pressures that come on us. The mental skills you need to cope with high pressure with the bat are entirely different to the mental skills required with the ball, in fact almost as different as batting and bowling itself. Therefore are a number of different ways to skin this cat (metaphorically speaking)
So to understand how to cope with pressure we need to understand what happens when we are put under pressure. There are a number of different things that happen, but the thing that I think happens with most people is we want that pressure off as quickly as possible. In batting terms pressure normally manifests itself in the form of making the batsman play an unnecessary big shot to release the pressure…This always works! You either get out or hit the big shot, either way the pressure is off! However this is not the answer to dealing with the pressure in the best way.
With bowling we rush and just run in and let go of the ball, what then happens is we either get a wicket or hit for runs and removed from the attack! Again either way the pressure is off the individual.
I wasn’t (as you could all probably tell) the most naturally gifted bowler, and I certainly didn’t have the best action in the game that’s for sure. That said I was quite confident bowling at the end of the game for a number of reasons. Firstly, let me say that that your average 1st class cricketer wouldn’t be laying awake at night losing sleep about facing Adam Hollioake. I was fully aware of this and in fact embraced it. I realized at a quite early stage in my career that my bowling wasn’t great (not that I let anyone else know I thought that ;-) I realized that I needed to develop a mental side to my game to be able to cope with high pressure situations. I realized that high pressure situations affect all of us and make us do silly things. I realized that I could gain an edge in this situation as I knew the mental side of my game was much stronger than the skill side of my game. Therefore common sense would tell me that if I could learn to cope with these pressure situations better than others I would have a better chance of being successful in high pressure situations than I normally would do.
So how did I put it into practice? Well you are going to have to come back over the next few days as I break it down into batting and bowling….. Sorry about that, I am like one of those bad reality shows that goes to an advert just as someone is going to be evicted…..
By Adam Hollioake
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Adam Hollioake with the 1999 County Championship Trophy