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Posted by Sarah Brown on 26 Aug '20

Do you know how to go from really average to best in the world?

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"When I hear 'Jimmy Anderson has broken this record' it feels like it's not actually me - maybe in part it's because when I was growing up I was really average I wasn't quick and I definitely didn't swing it." James Anderson in Bowl, Sleep, Repeat. Inside the World of England's Greatest Ever bowler published 2019

Whether you like cricket or not, there is a lot to learn from Jimmy's success in going from 'really average' to the top of the world. Not only is he England's highest-ever wicket-taker of all time but he has taken the most Test wickets of any pace bowler in the world, bowled the most test balls as a fast bowler and is fourth highest wicket-taker of all time.

How has he done it?

He practises action learning. He uses all the data he can get about the pitches, his opponents and his own deliveries. Every day he looks at an app to see how other people get wickets. He has learnt to adapt and knows what works. He also practises a lot and maintains his equipment, in his case, his body. He also uses the data about what he is doing to stop him from feeling down. Sometimes you do everything right, but it still doesn't work, so don't beat yourself up. He has been doing it 17 years, and he is still learning, he doesn't think he knows it all.

You could say he was lucky that all that data is around. Earlier players didn't have the technology, but other bowlers have not used it to become as good. And he continues to refine what he does so it takes him fewer balls on average to get a wicket now.

What can we learn?

Well, I think these are the main messages:

  • Don't let your self-doubt stop you - if you have a passion and commitment, you can be world-class.
  • Identify what you need to know and do everything you can to get the data you need - then learn from it and put what you learn into action.
  • Keep learning and practising. You can always get better.

Even the greatest, like Jimmy, can have imposter syndrome and self-doubt. But if you recognise you can keep on getting better by learning from the data and what you do, getting feedback, then when you feel low, you can refocus on the learning to pull you through. There is no failure, just feedback.

If you found this useful you may want to look at these:

Seven rules for success based on 20 years of experience
Are you breeding scapegoats? Why you need a culture of pioneer learning.
Is running a business easier than driving?

Want some help, give Sarah a ring for free chat on 01709 810080