HOW WEAKNESS CAN BECOME YOUR STRENGTH.
In sport, the main objective is to succeed in what you specialize in. In Amateur sport, the way you do this is often by talent or by pure skill over the opponents .In professional sport, however, it’s more about margins of error, the little things you do wrong, but mostly, confrontation. Confrontation, whether this be by sledging an opponent, or by going out of your comfort zone. When being attacked or confronted, the player doing so will always be looking at your strengths and weaknesses as a competitor. In sports like cricket and football, teams pay money for opponents to be analysed, to try and get an upper hand when coming up against them. One example of someone being analysed, would be, a footballer, people like Messi, get analysed all the time! What foot they use, signature tricks, stuff like that. This is an anylsis.
The one problem for me in this, is that everything gets a little mechanical. Thinking and common sense goes out the window. An example would be, the England cricket team playing South Africa last Summer. At that time, there was a lot of hype going on in the media about it being the no.1 series, as whoever won would go top of the world rankings. As a consequence of this there was a lot of analytical work put in to each South African batsmen about where they we most prone to getting out to, where their comfort areas were. The 1st test was played at the Oval cricket ground in London. The bowlers knew there plans right away, but didn’t make use of the natural resources around them. Great swinging conditions that could of taken the wickets of the under prepared South African batsmen were not utilized as the bowlers bowled in areas that had troubled the batsmen in the past in different conditions and different circumstances.
On this occasion the South African batsmen prevailed and England’s hopes of winning the match were left in shatters by Hashim Amla scoring a mammoth 311* as South Africa romped to victory securing the No.1 spot in the world rankings. In my opinion there are at least 4 nautral conditions or times where circumstance comes before talent or skill and weakness.
One other thing England didn’t take notice of was that the margin of error for some of the targets were very short, and that batsmen can adapt too. A great example of this would be Graeme Smith. Through out his career he has be shown to be tentative outside his off stump. He is a human, and has a brain, so he quickly worked out that he could cut off he angle be moving outside off stump then hitting through leg side. Although these are professional sportsman, they do have some margin for error. An example would be Joe Root, his weakness is just on his legs, but the margin for error is quite high, the angle carries the ball further down the leg side, he can leave it for a wise or easily flick it for 4.
Another example would be when Andrew Strauss faced Australia in 2010/2011 .The Australians were aware of his so called ‘Weakness’ against Spinners so they put Xavier Doherty and Michale Beer on, both inexperienced left hand spinners with a notable lack of any track records. These two din’t get any purchase on the Adelaide track, which is usually very responsive, and Andrew Strauss batted for 4 hours. The problem of this was that the new ball in Australia is very important and when they bought the spinners on in the 16th over, they used up an nautral swing, which was a key bit in Australia’s downfall. England amassed 620-5.
Also, going around the county circuit is this philosophy about comfort zones. The standard philosophy is simple really. The more you come out of your comfort zone, and confront more challenging situations, the more your comfort zone will expand. Another way of putting is your stretch, and skills , your most important is your stretch as the more comftorable you are streching, the more you can add to your armoury.
By Henry Howeld