How To Calm Your Nerves Before Batting In Cricket

Although some of them don’t like to admit it, most batsmen get really nervous before they go out to bat in a game! So, if you’re someone who suffers from it too, I can assure you that you’re not the only one!

The question is how do we calm ourselves down before we bat? We need to control our nerves and not allow them to take over us! The batsmen who fail to control them will often find it very difficult to bat freely due to their muscles being a lot more tense! All batsmen should be aiming to be as relaxed as possible while at the crease, and in this post I’m going to give you a few tips on how you can achieve this!

When I was a teenager nerves were a big problem for me while batting. Sometimes, I used to dread going out to bat even though I knew I should be looking at the situation positively and enjoying myself. I just found it really difficult! As a result, I had to find ways to cope…

Before we get into my tips, let’s look at a few reasons why you might be getting nervous before you bat!

Why Do Batsmen Get Nervous?

As I’ve already said, having some amount of nerves before batting is totally natural. Getting nervous shows that you care about your performance as well as the outcome of the game! There are a number of specific things may be making you nervous when you’re waiting to bat, here are a few of them:

  • The fear of failure – getting out without scoring many runs
  • Lots of people have come to watch you play and you feel pressured to bat well
  • Your parents/coaches put a lot of pressure on you to succeed
  • This is a must win game for your team
  • Your place in the team is under pressure
  • The bowler on the opposite team has gotten you out many times in the past
  • The opposing team has a very fast bowler that is intimidating

Those are just a few potential reasons! Obviously it could be something entirely different that bring out those feelings in you. If you suffer badly from pre-innings nerves, I want you to sit and think for a minute about what it is that causes it. Identifying the cause of the nervousness can help you to know how to solve it!

Now let’s get into my tips and see if I can help you find something that will work for you!

Listen To Music

Personally, I find listening to music a great way to get myself ready to bat! Thankfully, I have always had the time to put my music on because I’ve batted at number 4, 5 & 6 for most of my career! If you’re an opening batsman, you’ll have a bit less time to sit around the dressing room with your headphones on!

Listening to music doesn’t help everyone get rid of those nervous feelings. A lot of people will prefer to sit and watch the game and chat to their teammates, and I certainly did my fair share of that too! But I found I was able to get myself more focused if I sat away from my team for a little bit and did some warm-ups while listening to music! I’m a fan of rock music, so I would mostly listen to that! Something with a fast tempo to get me pumped up and feeling confident! You may decide that you prefer something more low-key and relaxing that allows you to zone out and forget about cricket for a little while. It all comes down to individual preference!

The only way you can figure out if this works for you is by trying it! So stick a few of your favourite tracks on and find out!

Do Some Shadow Batting & Visualisation

Shadow batting and visualisation are effective tools for getting your mind in the right place before you go out to bat.

Shadow batting can be done anywhere, and you don’t necessarily need your bat with you to do it. It is basically a way of rehearsing your shots without actually facing a ball from a bowler! For example, if I visualise myself receiving a good length delivery on and off-stump line then I can rehearse the shot I would play to this type of ball. Doing a bit of shadow batting before you go out to bat for real can help to get your feet moving, and help you to get in the right state of mind for what you are about to face.

I like to visualise which balls I am going to play at, which balls I’m going to leave, and which balls I’m going to attack or defend. This helps you to establish a plan before you go out to bat! A lot of nervousness comes from uncertainty, and if you have a game plan before you get to the crease, this can help you out a lot.

In my opinion, shadow batting and visualisation is even better if you can do it out in the middle of the cricket pitch! This is because for some of us, the middle of a cricket pitch is an unfamiliar place to be. Shadow batting in the middle helps us to get used to being out there! The umpires won’t always allow you access to the pitch prior to your innings, but if they do, it’s worth taking advantage of if it’s going to help you get in the right mental state for batting. Once you’re on the pitch, stand at the crease and imagine the types of deliveries you’re going to receive. Try to rehearse the shots you would play to each of them, and imagine where the ball will go when you hit it. If you have the time, try to rehearse each cricket shot at least once! (If you’re not sure what all the types of cricket shots are or you’re not sure how to play them, click here to view my post that will take you through them all!)

Think Positive Thoughts & Repeat Them To Yourself

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. When we’re feeling nervous and stressed, it’s almost like our mind is playing tricks on us. It forces us to start thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong, instead of focusing on the many positive aspects of the situation that you’re currently in.

Instead of allowing these stressful thoughts to take over and dominate our mind, we can instead choose to repeat these positive things to ourselves. This can be done in your head or out loud, it’s entirely up to you, but the goal is to remind ourselves to enjoy the experience rather than suffer through it.

Here are just a few examples of some phrases that you may choose to repeat to yourself for some positive reinforcement:

  • I have practiced hard and I am perfectly prepared to bat in this game.
  • Cricket is the game I love and I’m lucky I get the chance to play it.
  • I’ve had success in cricket before so there’s a good chance I can be successful today.
  • This isn’t the last cricket match I’m ever going to play. This innings isn’t the only chance to shine that I have.
  • I have faced bigger challenges in life than this cricket match
  • I can help my team win
  • Every batsman gets out at some point. It’s part of the game of cricket.
  • I am not in any real danger. The equipment I’m wearing will protect me from harm.

As I said, these are just a few examples! You’ll probably be able to come up with some better ones than these that apply to you as an individual! Anything that is going to make you feel better, repeat it to yourself so that it gets stuck in your head. This whole approach is about changing your negative mindset to a positive one!

Breathe Calmly & Deeply

Getting your breathing under control is a great way to get rid of a bit of that nervous energy, and there are a few breathing exercises that are incredibly easy to do! Nervousness and anxiety will often lead to you taking quicker, shorter breaths. Doing specific breathing exercises and making yourself breathe slowly and deliberately can help to free you from that state of mind. It helps to supply your brain and the rest of your body with plenty of oxygen, which is incredibly vital when stress levels are raised.

Here is a really simple breathing exercise that you should try:

  • Get yourself into a nice comfortable position, either sitting, standing, or laying down.
  • Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. As you do this, focus on the sensation of your belly/chest expanding to accommodate the air you’ve breathed in.
  • Then, purse your lips close together as if you were going to whistle, and breathe out slowly through your mouth. As you do this, focus on the sensation of your belly/chest deflating.
  • Repeat this as many times as necessary until you feel satisfied.

Breathing exercises like this can be done at any point during a cricket match, but if you’re nervous about batting then it would probably be best to perform them in the periods when you’re waiting to bat, and also between overs or when you’re at the non-strikers end during your innings.

If you’re interested in finding out more about breathing exercises, including several different ones you can do, then I found a great guide on the University of Michigan medicine website…click here to have a browse!

Develop Your Own ‘Routine’ Between Deliveries

Ok so this isn’t really a tip for before you start batting, it’s a way of calming yourself down and keeping your focus during your innings!

Loads of professional batsmen have their own routines that they’ll go through while they’re at the crease. In fact, many of them will repeat the exact same thing after every ball that they face! Jonathan Trott who played for England a few years ago was probably the most extreme example of this. His habits in between deliveries often took up so much time that the opposition teams began to complain! He would endlessly scratch his mark at the crease with his boot, walk up and down the pitch tapping it with his bat – by the time he was back in his batting stance it felt like a long time had passed! But this routine made him comfortable at the crease. It allowed him to get into his own little bubble, and totally concentrate on what he was trying to achieve, putting everything else out of his mind.

Other batsmen take a simpler approach. In between deliveries you could just choose to walk away from the crease a little bit, getting yourself out of the firing line and away from any fielders near the bat that could be trying to put you off. Again, this approach can help you to avoid distractions and get into your zone at the crease, fully focusing on how you want to bat. It also helps you to forget about the previous delivery that you faced! Adding little routines like this to your batting style can help to occupy your mind, meaning that you are less likely to be worrying about the next ball!

Remind Yourself To Watch The Ball

Many professional players will continually repeat the words ‘watch the ball’ to themselves every time the bowler is approaching the crease. This is a great technique because it has 2 significant benefits:

  1. It helps to focus your mind totally on the current delivery and the movement of the ball, allowing you to forget about other things that may be worrying you.
  2. Watching the ball closely is VITAL if you want to become a good batsman.

Believe it or not, it’s quite difficult to get into the habit of doing this! Trust me, I’ve tried! If I were you I’d get used to doing it in the nets first, and then take it into a game. Once you’ve done it for long enough you’ll find that it becomes a habit! I’ve found that it really helps me to focus my attention in the right place. You don’t want to be thinking about how fast the bowler is going to bowl, what position your head is in, what your teammates are going to say if you get out for a duck, these are distractions and thinking about them as the bowler approaches will harm your ability to react quickly to the ball. When you strip batting down to its basics, the whole thing rests on how well we are able to watch the ball! We can only play a good shot if we know exactly where the ball is pitching, and what line and length it is on!

In my opinion, if there is a decent amount of time left in the innings, you should use your first two or three balls as an opportunity to just focus on watching the ball. Don’t worry about picking up runs straight away! Let all of those worries go. All batsmen need time to adjust to the pace and bounce of the pitch, and you are no different! Obviously if you come in with just a couple of balls remaining needing 4 runs to win then there is no chance to relax and watch/defend a few deliveries, but in most situations you’ll be able to take this approach!

Don’t Watch The Game While You’re Waiting To Bat

When I was in my early teenage years one thing that always stressed me out was watching my teammates bat and just sitting and waiting for my turn in the middle! I felt even worse if I was watching and I saw that the opposing team had some seriously quick bowlers bowling for them. Because I hadn’t faced enough quick bowling at that point in my career, seeing quick bowlers on the other team made me dread going out to bat a little! And seeing as though I batted in the middle order, I could be sat waiting in the pavilion with this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach for a long time!

For a while in my career I decided not to watch the game at all, and I would pretty much just go out to bat when I was required. All I would do is watch a couple of deliveries here and there, maybe one from each bowler so I could see if they had a really unusual bowling action or anything like that. I’m guessing a lot of you have heard the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ before? Well this was definitely the case with me on those occasions! I found that instead of sitting there worrying about how well the opposition was bowling and how fast they were, I could focus on other things instead!

If you decide to use this option, then you could choose to do something productive with your time like getting some throw downs from a partner. Have your partner stand about 10 metres away from you and tell them to throw the ball towards you with one bounce. A lot of professional batsmen do this while they are waiting to bat so that they can get used to moving their feet in a positive way and feeling bat on ball. If you’re not in the mood for practice, you could just use this time to chill out and listen to some music like I mentioned earlier!

Put The Hours In At Practice!

A really simple way to stop feeling as nervous before you go out to bet is to prepare and practice your batting as much as you can! Basically, the more you test yourself with difficult bowling in the nets, the more comfortable you will feel when you’re going out to face it during a match! Compare it to the feeling of starting a new job. We might be nervous in our first week there, but the more experience of the job we get, the less nervous we become!

Most of the best batsmen in the world become confident in their abilities because they work very hard in practice. In a recent world cup match, I remember Michael Clarke saying on commentary that he’d never seen anyone practice as much as Steve Smith. Smith is one of the best batsmen in the world, but he still wants to make sure that he leaves nothing to chance. He knows that the more deliveries he faces in practice, the less likely the bowler will be able to surprise him during a game! Therefore, he doesn’t have much to worry about. He strides out to the middle knowing that he’s done all he can to prepare for this moment.   

Getting nervous is often the fear of the unknown. What if this bowling is too fast? What if I get out? Can I play this type of shot? The more you practice, the more you will create solutions to these problems for yourself. This will lead to you being a lot more confident as you walk out to bat!

Exercise/Move Around To Dispel Nervous Energy

Have you ever been watching sport on TV and had that nervous/excited feeling when your team is about to win the game? That feeling where it’s hard to sit still and you feel like you have to move or walk around to get rid of a bit of that nervous energy? Well you can apply that same thinking to batting in cricket!

Sometimes, doing a few warm-up exercises on the side-line or in the pavilion can help you cut down the levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol in your body. It also helps your body to produce endorphins, which can lift our mood and help us to dull pain. If you want to try this, I’d recommend doing 5 minutes of light jogging while you are waiting to bat. This is what I chose to do as it was so simple, but any exercise that will raise your heart rate will do. However, remember not to do too much! You don’t want to be tired when you walk out to bat, this can be just as dangerous as being extremely nervous! Just treat it as a brisk warm-up.

I’ve only summarised the benefits you can gain from using exercise in this way, but if you want more information on it, click here to go to the Harvard Health website where I got the information from!

Hum A Tune To Yourself

You can do this before your innings, in between deliveries, or as the bowler is running in to bowl at you. I’ve spoken to a lot of batsmen over the years that say this calms them down and helps them to lose the nerves and chill out a bit. Think of the first song that pops into your head and just start humming it quietly to yourself. It’s worth a try!


Hopefully this post will help many players to realise their full potential when it comes to batting! There’s a lot of useful tips here, but feel free to let me know any other techniques that you’ve used before in the comments below!

Try to be positive and believe in yourself when you walk out to the crease, and focus on making it through those first ten deliveries. Your next focus should be scoring your first 10 runs! Once you’ve achieved both of these small milestones hopefully all of your nerves will be gone! Good luck!

Recent Posts