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Ben Stokes On Turning It Around When Things Go Wrong
This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance
Whether you're a team sportsman or training for an individual race or competition, things won’t always go your way. New Balance athlete and England cricketer Ben Stokes knows this all too well. We caught up with the 24-year-old all-rounder to talk about how to retain a winning mentality even when things don’t go your way.
Preparation Is Everything
When you're working towards a big game or race, the only thing you can always count on is the work you've put in to get there. Everything else is out of your control – other players, other racers, the conditions – so make sure you have made every effort to feel like you are physically ready.
This is the backbone of Ben's mental prep; "When I've done well in the nets, I feel like I'm mentally in a good place," he says.
As long as you feel like your training has been as good as it can be, if on the day things turn sour, you will find it easier to move on to the next challenge. You’ll also be better able to identify where your weaknesses lie, rather than stewing over what could have been if you’d put in more graft.
Play Your Own Game
Even if you're part of a team, it's essential to play your own game. You are the competition. If you start changing your performance based on those around you, you start to make mistakes.
This may manifest itself as speeding up in a race because the people around you are pacing too quickly or playing a more aggressive game that doesn’t match your natural style.
"I just go out and try to play the same way I always do. I'm always looking to play in a positive way when I'm at the crease," says Ben.
This is especially important if you feel like momentum is slipping away. Always be positive and stick to your game plan.
Pay Attention And Be Ready
As important as it is to have a personal goal, either at an event or in training, it's essential that you be prepared to adapt to the situation you're in. In Ben's case this means noticing changing pitch conditions or being ready to bowl at any moment. And if things aren't going to plan? "If the situation calls for taking a backwards step and rebuilding, then that’s what we have to do."
The same applies to the individual. You have to listen to your body and understand that, if you're injured, you need rest. If you have a cold, your race time won't be as fast. If you didn’t get enough shuteye, you’re not going to break any records in the gym.
Learning to identify when your personal goalposts have to change is vital for success.
Have a Good Sense of Humour
If things are going wrong, you can't beat yourself up about it. "It's frustrating, but it happens," Ben says of being hit around the park as a bowler. The trick is to bounce back fast. “You’ve always got another over to come back and try do better with.”
Not beating yourself up is crucial. "You can bowl really well one day and then you can turn up to the next game, bowl exactly the same deliveries, and get hit for plenty,” he says. “You just have to have a good sense of humour about it."
As hard as it can be when you get into a training rut or mess up a race, you have to remember that tomorrow's another day. Get back out there and take it on.
New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before.
Video: BEN STOKES| FULL JOURNEY|FIGHTS|SLEDGING
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