COMMON FACT NO. 1: As soon as you lose concentration, that’s when something happens that calls for such focus.
This is the usual admonition, challenging you to maintain your focus constantly during a game. You caution yourself that, if you allow your attention to wander for an instant, something will happen to exploit your lapse. The truth is, this type of “happening” occurs throughout most cricket matches. The reason it seems that they happen only at bad times, (when something critical occurs), is because the other occasions are not noticed because nothing happens to call you into action. You have not been called upon to make a decision when you were in fact not ready to make that decision anyway.
COMMON FACT NO. 2: Normal game circumstances lead to abnormal mistakes.
Contrary to our beliefs, there is no magical force out to get you as an official even though it seems like it sometimes. Maintaining your concentration and focus at all times is important because when you lose it, common match circumstances lead to uncommon mistakes. A lapse in focus can cause you to be in poor position for a call or to interpret a Law incorrectly. Becoming uncomfortable and flustered when dealing with tension and pressure can also lead to a lapse in focus. Concentration and focus is foundational in that when it is lacking, the other skills an aspects of your umpiring will break down.
COMMON FACT NO. 3: The focus ability of the better umpires is at a different level.
The ability to put all other matters aside and focus entirely on the job at hand is what separates the elite umpires from the rest. These umpires are never in the wrong place, never surprised when the unexpected happens and never unprepared to deal with any situation that may arise even in the most tense of situations. Every game is different but the principles remain the same and flexibility in applying Laws and techniques is the key.
Because the last game involving the same teams was difficult and tense does not mean the next one will be the same. Umpires who go into a game with a preconceived set of ideas are not focused. Keep in the here and now.
COMMON FACT NO. 4: Focus must exist before the start or restart.
For the correct concentration and focus to be maintained throughout a match, it must exist prior to the commencement of the match. If you miss a call or get a decision wrong, players will assume you were not concentrating at that time. This perception by the players is often based on the fact they are told to focus on their particular part of the game. Quite often this conclusion is incorrect but you will be judged more harshly if they feel you had a lapse in concentration than for an error in judgment. Make sure you are prepared and focused from the time you walk onto the field, as it will be your best weapon to get through the day unscathed.