Yesterday, I was invited to Exmouth Cricket Club to watch Somerset play the ECB Unicorns in the Clydesdale Bank 40 League. At lunch, I was sat next to the former Somerset player John Francis and we were talking about our experiences of playing professional cricket and what we had learned from the senior players we had played with. John had been fortunate to have spent a whole season playing with the Australian Test Captain, Ricky Ponting; his highlight was sharing a stand of 196 with him against Yorkshire. I asked him what he considered made Ricky such a great batsman. He thought for a while and then said “his preparation and attention to detail.”
John went on to tell me how Ricky would spend the night before a game compiling a list of the bowlers he would face the next day. He would write a list of their strengths and weaknesses, and then a list of the best suited shots he would potentially play to score runs off them. In addition to this, he then selected some key words and phrases to use throughout his innings as a trigger, to ensure that he was in the right frame of mind to perform.
It is therefore no surprise that Ricky is considered to be one of the best batsmen in the world. If you have read books about other elite performers you will know that they all share one key attribute – their commitment to preparation.
It is very easy for us to allow days to drift by in our lives…BUT… if we are to live life fully, and to make the most of every opportunity that it gives us, then we need to approach it with the commitment and dedication of an elite sportsperson. And if we do, the rewards are infinite.