Some of the best life lessons I learned is from playing cricket at an early age, which helped me throughout my personal and professional life.
It is hard to pick one ingredient that makes any recipe taste good.
Similarly, in life, it is the combination of many components in the right proportions, and the correct order helps you achieve success.
Following are the 17 best life lessons I learned from playing cricket.
1. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
Instant gratification is causing a significant strain on our minds nowadays.
The first lesson I learned that you’d have to prove yourself first before getting the chance to enjoy the game as you would like to.
For example, all new batsmen loved to get the chance to bat in the nets as soon as they joined the cricket nets. However, it was not easy; you have to start from:
- Cleaning the wickets
- Setting up the nets
- Helping seniors with fielding practice
- Bowling to established batsmen for long hours
Those who passed this endurance test, taste the joy of batting in the nets, and a place in the playing eleven.
Life Lesson: It needs a lot more power in the first gear to start the car moving. However, as soon you move to bigger gears, your ride gets smoother.
2. Your Fitness is More Important Than Your Skills
Doing the rounds of cricket ground before the practice was always hard.
The person who performs consistently in the team is usually the one who is the fittest. It is hard to improve your batting or bowling skills without working on your fitness.
Improving your fitness requires constant efforts. The way eating one pizza can’t make you fat, similarly working out once in a while, can’t make you fit.
Life Lesson: Health is real wealth and must be your priority while developing your career. Prevention is a lot better than cure.
3. Practice Makes You Perfect
They say you require 10,000 hours or ten years to master a skill, which is so true in cricket.
Those who spent hours practising their batting and bowling skills in the nets performed consistently in the matches.
Life Lesson: There is no alternative to hard work when it comes to master any skill. Pick something you love and keep practising to get better at it every day.
4. You’ll Make Runs If You Stay on the Wicket
I saw many talented players in my career who could not perform as expected because they lack to improve the skill of staying on the wicket. No matter how great you are at batting, if your game planning and shot selection are weak, you can’t stay on the wicket longer.
Being a great student does not mean you must be a great teacher as well.
Similarly, being an excellent team player does not guarantee a successful team captain either.
Both roles require different skill sets.
Life Lesson: Learn to work on your game consistently and don’t forget to acquire other related skills to improve your results.
5. Better Luck Next Time
Every day is a new day; you can’t perform at your best all the time.
Take all the learning from your failure, and spend all your energies on:
- Identify the root cause of your failure
- How to avoid the same mistake again
- How to improve your game to do better next time
Repeat this process after every failure.
Life Lesson: Failure is nothing but feedback, and improving your life game is an infinite process.
6. The Attack is the Best Defence
The Australian cricket team is the master of using this success principle to achieve great results, particularly when they are in a losing situation in a match.
The lower they scored, the more pressure they put on the opposition to improve their chances of a win because the alternative is the easy route to victory for the opponents.
They always make the opponents work hard for their runs.
Similarly, the best way to deal with problems in life is to take those problems heads on.
Life Lesson: Problems only grow when you don’t deal with those heads on.
7. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
We lost the game badly whenever we sourced top-notch players from outside to strengthen our team for any vital match.
Few reasons for this in my opinion:
- Lack of team chemistry with sourced players
- Existing team members felt relaxed and expect a performance from sourced players
- Sourced players failed to perform because of all this pressure
Life Lesson: Teams working together often wins over a more skilled group of individuals.
8. Always Play to Your Strengths
It is hard to master everything in life. If you try this, you’ll be a jack of all trades at best.
Pick your one thing (batting, bowling or wicket keeping), and be the best version of it. You can be an all-rounder as well; however, they are usually batting or bowling all-rounders, which means they have mastered one thing first before branching out to another.
Life Lesson: It is hard to master everything, pick your one thing, your X factor and spend all your energies to master that.
9. You Can’t Hit a Six on Every Ball
Planning your innings is crucial as it is unlikely to hit a six on every ball.
Singles & doubles play a vital role in scoring a hundred. All great batsmen are good at rotating the strike.
Similarly, in life, it is hard to get your ultimate goal at once. You have to work your way up, step by step.
Life Lesson: Have a clear goal and keep moving towards it one step at a time. On this journey, there will be instances you’ll get a chance to make a few jumps. Keep your eyes open to capitalise those opportunities.
10. You Don’t Lose the Match Until It’s Finished
Sometimes match gets one-sided, which means apparent to win for one of the teams. However, no matter how obvious the match gets, it is not finished until you chased the score, bowled out the side, or you have bowled all the overs.
This particular rule of the game helped you stay positive in all situations and do your best to win the game until the last ball.
In life, Colonel Sanders is an excellent case study of this rule, who started KFC at the age of 65 and failed 1009 times before succeeding.
Life Lesson: Never give up!
11. Timing of Your Decisions Matters
Cricket is a long game, and all the team players get a chance to make several decisions during any match.
For example, if you are leading the team, depending on the match situation, you often have to:
- Shuffle the batting line up
- Rethink your bowling attack
- Rotate the fielders
Sometimes you have to review your decisions on a ball by ball basis to improve the chance of winning because one long inning or a quick wicket can change the result of the match.
Life Lesson: The results you achieve in life are usually the compound effect of your timely decisions throughout your life.
12. Any Team Member Can Lead the Team to Victory
Although a team captain is an official leader of any cricket team, however, every player gets the chance in the match to lead the team to victory.
For example, to lead the team to victory:
- A batsman could play a winning knock
- A bowler can bowl a winning spell
- A fielder can save the runs and hold the catches
Life Lesson: You don’t need an authority to be a leader.
13. Mindset is More Important Than Skills
Sometimes, you get smashed by the opposite team in a match or bowled out cheaply.
“If you can do it, we can do it too.”
This mindset always helped me give a tough time to the opponent’s no matter how hard it gets; your positive mindset enables you to deal with the challenging targets.
Life lesson: Your mindset drives your behaviour, and your behaviour provides results.
14. Who Handles the Pressure Better Wins More
In cricket, you get plenty of chances to build your pressure handling muscle.
For example, you experience the pressure of:
- Seeing off the new ball
- Getting out cheaply
- Avoiding giving extra runs
- Hitting the final run to complete your century
- Chasing the big score
- Facing the furious bowler or batsman
- Holding the important catches
Life lesson: The more difficult situation you overcome, the stronger the person you become in life.
15. You Don’t Need to Play Every Ball That is Bowled at You
Good batsmen are patient and master of leaving the difficult balls. They wait for the right ball to hit and leave or manoeuvre the difficult balls to rotate the scoreboard.
Life lesson: They say opportunities are like trains. If you missed one, there is always another one will come soon.
16. If Your Basics are Strong, You’ll Bounce Back Sooner
Every player gets a rough patch in his career. In a cricketing lingo, we call it a bad form.
When a batsman is in bad form, he usually:
- Finds it hard to move his feet as needed
- Couldn’t find the middle of the bat while playing his strokes
- Struggles to find the gaps
- Started to play away from his body
- Give away his wicket cheaply
In short, when you are in bad form, it feels like everything is going against you. To get out of this bad patch, coaches usually advise that you should try to spend as much time as possible on the wicket.
Those batsmen who have strong basics manage to get it over rather quickly compared to those with weaker fundamentals.
Life lesson: Going back to basics, always helped whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation in life.
17. Keep Innovating
We often saw in cricket that new players perform well at the start and then they lost their touch.
I guess it is because they stopped improving their game. Oppositions usually work out their strengths and weaknesses to contain them.
Players which performs well over a more extended period are those who keep innovating their games ahead of their opposition.
Life lesson: Innovation is an infinite game if you want to stay competitive and perform well consistently.
Which life lesson you learned by playing cricket or your favourite sport?
I’m excited to learn from you in the comments below!