Our Stance in Life

I started coaching cricket to two very young lads a few weeks ago. Now I may look old-fashioned but the time-worn phrase “In my day…” is not part of my coaching stock-in-trade.

I showed them both how to stand ready to receive the ball and one of them disagreed and said “This is how my Dad showed me to do it.”
Suddenly, here we were – on a communications roundabout with many exits. Had I looked at the signposts before entering the roundabout? Did I really want to cite his Dad as being ‘wrong’ – did I really want to explode his belief that his Dad was his ‘best’ model in life? Maybe I was the first ‘proper coach’ he had ever encountered in his young life so far – so was I to insist that he follow my instructions?

Of course not! These are three exits on the roundabout I would want to avoid like the plague!

The thing is – if he’d encountered me ten years ago, I’d have shown him the way I was taught, which was probably the way his Dad was taught too:-


During the intervening years I saw – and tried out for myself – the stance I now advocate, especially for beginners.


There’s a simplicity to it which is one of the reasons that it really works. There’s also a logic to it that facilitates a
number of other things that really do need to be correct for the next stage to work well. It’s a gateway that works when it is open, but that when shut you might vault the gate and fall flat on your face in a cow-pat!


 Our Stance in Life

There’s a parallel with our batting stance in cricket and our stance in Life. And it’s a parallel that actually matches these two young lads also.

Ten years ago I could have chosen to stay with the way I’d stood to bat all my life. The tried and tested, this works for me because almost everyone stands this way method; the its always served me well except when it hasn’t method; the I’m too old to try something new method; the this is the way my Dad* taught me method. (* And Dad here is a euphemism for society, peers, mates, the world, our culture, as well as dear old Dad himself.)

But I didn’t.

I tried it out to see what was different, what felt different, how it changed the way I played, whether I felt happier with it, whether it brought me success, whether it worked – ALL purely from my own perspective. Once I had the answers and installed it as an unconscious competence in terms of an applied skill – then I knew I would never change back. PLUS, as a coach I could now be utterly authentic in the way I was passing on the skill to others.

We all have some things we’d like to change in our lives – things we are doing, ways we are doing, that we would prefer having better results, better outcomes, more success from. It could be about certain habits or behaviours – like smoking, our relationship with food, our relationships with others, our relationship with ourselves, our fears, our worries and anxieties, and so on.

These things are all part of our lives until we change them. They are all part of our stance in Life. Now, if we want to see whether how we are batting in life might be improved by changing our stance – what could be simpler than just giving it a go?
Pete, you make it sound so easy, but I can’t seem to do it.
“Ah – I said it was simple, I didn’t say it was easy.”

“The process is what’s simple. The ease with which you do it is entirely up to you.

You can make it easy – like I did when I changed my stance – by just accepting all that the process entailed, and noticing what was different every step of the way.
Or you can make it complicated and difficult – by noticing the difference as discomfort; noticing what your peers, friends, colleagues think and believe (what your Dad says); by telling yourself it can’t work, it isn’t working, it won’t work, it’ll never work.
The choice – as always – is yours.”

The Lads

So the lads tried my invitation to stand this way and hold the bat like that – they gave it a go! You could say they politely indulged my suggestions! And, lo and behold – as if by magic – they found that hitting the ball really well, and so much better and more consistently than before, was starting to come much, much easier to them. Their eyes lit up, they beamed with smiles of self-fulfilment and, although I don’t know for sure, probably went home and said to Dad, “This is the way to bat. You try it!”