What Comes First in Youth Cricket, Mental or Physical Tiredness?
Posted on June 28, 2011
The Under 15 cricket team I am running has this season had unprecedented success to date this year, winning eleven out of eleven games played so far in a season that is consisting of no fewer than eighteen fixtures in just over two months. We entered in to the North Hants league two teams consisting of virtually the same players, the idea being that the better players get to do all the bowling and batting at the higher level and the lesser players get to do the same at a lower level. It was an act only a genius like me could come up with to satisfy all and it has worked to perfection……well so far anyway!
Many of the players have done so well that not only have they being playing in men’s friendly games, they are also getting selected for Saturday League cricket. Last week we had three playing Men’s League on Saturday plus six playing the Sunday game with the U15 game sandwiched in between. I calculated that my own son (George) was playing cricket for fourteen of the forty eight hours that made up last weekend and that was after other Colts and school matches during the week, crazy stuff don’t you think? The problem with all this cricket is that despite the rapid improvement from the players because of it, I am beginning to sense disaster, a bit like a marathon runner collapsing a few hundred metres short of the line. I am sensing exhaustion both mental and physical, the cost of having a small squad of fourteen. Maybe I am not a genius after all?
Last Sunday the team had to play with just ten men because of injuries to keys players such as our wicket keeper and opening batsman/captain. George stood in and captained reluctantly and from somewhere, I don’t know where, the players rallied for him like true mates do, stared in to the face of adversity, and made an almost herculean effort to win the game from an increasingly difficult situation when the odds were heavily stacked against them. At the end of the game I saw a reaction of elation at what they had achieved, but also signs of physical and mental tiredness, which was all to apparent amongst the players who then played again in the afternoon heat. It was a game too far for all of them, if they are to get the medals they deserve this year, they need rest, but alas, they are playing again tomorrow and on Thursday.
What we must do as parents, is find some way of rewarding or congratulating them at the end of the season if all their efforts come to nothing, because many of them will be, by nature, bitterly disappointed after all the effort they have put in during the season. They are in commanding positions in both the leagues they are playing in, but they still have tough opposition to face who are now seeing us as a side to be shot at. I fear that if we suffer any more injuries our chance of glory will be gone, which will be a shame, but something they will have to deal with in the right manner should it happen. It is easy to be a good winner but it takes a lot more to be a good loser, I hope that if they come up short they can achieve that, because that will be a little victory in itself in the university of life.
The big test over the next couple of weeks, I think, will come from mental rather than physical break down, some of these lads are, as you can imagine, super fit physically, but they have never been in this position before in the five years they have been under my guidance, they are not used to winning trophies and nor am I. Some of the lesser lads have managed, through sheer guts and concentration, to play to a level that is beyond what has been asked of them and I fear that if they do have a dip in form, it will be costly. We have always had four or five good players, but it is the leap in standard from the lesser players that has turned a decent team in to a very good one, that is without question.
Time will tell, the season reaches it’s conclusion towards the end of July, I will no doubt blog again then. However, if in the meantime you wish to keep up with their progress please click on the link below (our team is Oakley by the way). If you go to “competitions” tab we are in the U15’s Ospreys and Kites Leagues, fixtures and results are at the bottom of the page. If not, why not come and cheer them along, they are a great bunch of lads who play some fine cricket at times.