A cricket ball is hard and it can hurt. Even the top professional players can suffer injuries at times. However, those cases are very rare and, if fear of injury is holding you back, here are some tips on how to overcome it.
How to Overcome Fear of Getting Hit in Six Steps
Fear is a natural reaction of the body and it shouldn’t be ignored. The first step in overcoming this issue is, therefore, the acknowledgement of fear itself. This can either come at the start, when a young player is just learning the game or it can manifest itself after being hit on the field.
As a whole, psychologists suggest the following approach:
- Acknowledge that fear
- Set an initial goal to overcome it
- Review that goal after a period of time
- Use positive visualization
- Use positive self talk
- Continue with practical practise
Afraid of the Cricket Ball?
Fear of the ball is common and it can be a natural reaction, particularly if you’ve previously been hit. Even in professional cricket it can happen and I would point out how Stuart Broad’s batting form has dipped since being struck in the face by India’s Varun Aaron in 2014. Nearly a year later, Broad admitted that he was still having nightmares.
This is a deeply psychological issue that is rooted in the human body’s fight or flight response. We either stay and fight a demon or we run away.
If you have an issue as a young player, you can work with your school or club coach. It’s also important to find your level in the game and a club cricketer will not be looking to play against county standard opponents. Use those six techniques and take a specific route in practise which will build up confidence.
Practise Tips for Facing Fast Bowling
The final step in the process involves practise. This can include issues surrounding fear when fielding close to the bat but, in the main, the issues are with fast bowling.
Experienced coaches will suggest starting to practise with a tennis ball or a training ball. Begin by asking a friend or teammate to throw down some slower deliveries. Build up from there to faster deliveries using the same, softer ball.
Facing fast bowling is all about building confidence: In time, when the batsman begins to react more confidently to the faster bowling, they can graduate and practise with a real cricket ball. Once again, start with slower deliveries and progress from that point.
As a club cricketer, I’ve faced county level fast bowlers and it was a scary experience so I can empathize with anyone who has a fear of the cricket ball. I would advise them to follow the above advice, and to get in line with the ball, and make sure that they have all the correct protective equipment.
If you are serious about the game, a chat with a sports psychologist could also help. Acknowledge that fear and deal with it.