“Last year my three favourite drills were player-designed.”
With the longer days and the promise of warm sun on your face again, April is heavy with excited anticipation.
The best players at club level take this energy and use it to fuel their game through the season. They grab onto the potential of the season and drag it with them as they plunder runs and wickets.
You can use this early season energy to do something else too, take responsibility for your own game.
When you do this, there is no blaming the weather, the pitch or the training drills. There is only a raw determination to keep going.
You hit every session with a specific, acheiveable (and possibly measurable) aim in mind and you don't let anything get in your way to achieve it.
Let's take drills as an example.
We often do unusual or new drills at West. Some of them don't seem to be much to do with cricket. Others have you "standing about" waiting for your turn. You might find yourself asking if there is any point.
The average player blames the drill (or maybe even the coach).
The good player finds a way to adapt the drill to their needs.
They make it work.
This is tough. You don't want to stop a drill for a personal complaint. You don't want to step on the toes of the coach who knows more about drill design that you. You are tempted to moan a bit and get grumpy instead.
Resist this urge.
Stop the drill.
Explain why it isn't working for you and suggest a positive change to make it better. Chances are at least one other person will be thinking the same thing but is afraid to pipe up.
Then try the change.
It might not work. If it fails, change back.
Or it might be brilliant. Well done you. Either way you have tried and you have learned. That's a win.
I can assure you that none of the coaching team at West will mind a player adapting a drill or practice to help them improve. Last year my three favourite drills were player-designed.
Naturally, we will have ideas and suggestions. We are experienced (I should hope so after 22 summers as a coach) we look at the latest ideas, drills and research. We know what others have reported that works. We will encourage you to try something new. That said, we won't be offended if it doesn't work for you. Just use it as energy, not fuel for complaints.
Want another example?
Next time you find yourself "standing about", don't wait for an instruction from the coach. Do some stretching. Do a quick drill with a buddy. Help someone else by hitting balls or throwing with the Sidearm (we have plenty of them). Form a group of rebels and start a new drill that helps you work on your skill.
You know your game way better than any coach ever will.
So, listen to your body, work together and harness the April enthusiasm to have the confidence to do what you need to do.
Updated 17:28 - 1 Apr 2017 by David Hinchliffe