Alex Gidman: Time to develop that ‘no-fear’ mentality

gidmanMy six-year-old daughter loves roller coasters. I, on the other hand, hate them.

Why? Because I don’t like the speed, I don’t like not being in control and I hate the thought that it could be that one time that I choose to go on one that the damn thing breaks down.

My little girl, however, loves the thrill and the excitement of the new experience.

You may wonder what on Earth this has to do with cricket. The answer is everything.

I had control of my career. I wasn’t a superstar but I knew what I was doing. I learnt my skill over years of practice and hard work, and backed myself to execute on a daily basis – not always possible when other people are doing the same against you – but I had the belief.

I’m now in the queue for the roller coaster, and instead of fearing it like I always have done, I have to approach the ride like my daughter and look forward to the new experience with excitement.

As we get buckled in for the ride my daughter is buzzing, wants it to start but I’m more cautious, exactly like I find myself feeling right now that cricket has ended.

As the carriage pulls away she is laughing and screaming as the first bend approaches. I have my eyes closed and am not even interested in what’s ahead.

In a way, I’m just hoping the ride finishes as quickly as possible. Again that’s like I was a few weeks ago, I knew my career was over but I was hoping that everything just ‘works’ out, but you get to know that the real world doesn’t just hand you things on a plate!

As we fly around the bend I start to open my eyes and see the first intimidating challenge, the dreaded corkscrew. I’m still apprehensive but starting to get a bit more confidence, once again my daughter is loving it.

She doesn’t care, she has no fear. That is the attitude to life after cricket, no fear. I need to approach that first intimidating challenge with exactly that.

Starting something new, however good or qualified you are, is tough. Even staying in the game as a coach would mean learning how to behave differently or learn that balance between coach and teammates.

As the ride carries on I can sense myself realising that it’s okay to be scared, but most importantly that nothing can hurt me. Every twist and turn that is invented on that roller coaster is put in so to scare me, but if it actually can’t and I embrace it, like my daughter does, then I’ll be okay.

I know I have to take it on, the corkscrews, the bends, the tunnel where I have no idea where the rollercoaster is going. That’s life now and the approach has to be one of excitement and no fear.

It’s a funny old world isn’t it. I’m starting enjoy that my cricket ‘bubble’ has burst.


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