Nathaniel Bastin’s 7 Essential Rules for Batting Rule 1
Now, in over a decade of playing cricket for the Athletic, I’ve managed to build myself a
reputation as one of life’s improvers. Having wandered over to Hylands Park at 17 (fairly
late) not knowing which end of the bat to hold, I’ve actually managed to develop into a fairly reasonable batsman.
For those who know me well, it won’t be at all surprising to learn that, over the course of that journey, I’ve kept reams of notes to record the advice and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Most are unique to me and my limited natural ability. But there are some I think could be of use to any aspiring batsman looking for ways to improve.
And so, as the sun sets on my cricketing career, here are my 7 essential rules for batting.
Rule 1: At the moment of release, it ain’t you making the decisions
Let’s start with probably the most controversial rule. As you may have heard, within your
mind there are actually two types of competing psychological forces at play. There’s the part of the brain you’re in control of (i.e. logic, rationality, the human) and there’s the part that you ain’t (i.e. impulse, emotion, the chimp). When you hear a sudden noise or someone steps out in front of the car you’re driving, you react impulsively. There simply isn’t time for your brain make a carefully thought out decision.
The same is true at the moment the bowler releases the ball - autopilot takes over (assuming
you haven’t premeditated a shot). The natural impulse of some batsmen is to attack, others
to defend. Neither is actually in control during that second or so when the ball is coming
down. Of course, when we make a (and I use the term loosely) “mistake” and get out, we often sit around afterwards wondering why we made the wrong decision. The truth is that the rational side of your brain that is now searching for answers wasn’t calling the shots at the moment in question. To believe it was is an illusion. So, get over it!
Not a very encouraging start, but there is some hope. Which leads me nicely on to my next
rule: 'Train the chimp inside'
To Be Continued