Poor form is part and parcel of sport and sometimes you`ll feel the game you once loved is starting to eat away at you. The more you analyse your predicament the more confusing things seem to get, and those days of rich pickings seem a country mile from where your form is taking you.

In these challenging circumstances take key advice from Dad`s Army`s Corporal Jones, and “Don`t Panic”, as you`ll always find yourself in challenging situations. In a warped sort of way you have to find a method of enjoying the battle, the process, back to productivity.

As a batter you may find any amount of ways to be dismissed when searching for your touch. The harder you try and the more you concentrate, the worse the outcome. In these circumstances I`d advise you to relax and hit a lot of balls, be it in net practice, throw downs, or ideally, centre wicket practice. Hell, sometimes it is best to walk away and have a break, but, once the ball starts hitting the sweet spot then confidence will reappear and you`ll realise you are not the only one walking that road.

Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakara said this about form – “You understand that, rather than performing every day, it`s really more often than not – to be successful more often than not, to score runs more often than not. You have to hope that you will score runs every day, but it`s never going to be like that.” Fair advice and from the horses mouth.

Another high profile cricketer who is living through a spell of poor form by his own high standards is ex India skipper Virat Kohli – Having finished the recently completed IPL season with a batting average of less than 20, and no centuries in two years of International cricket, he is certainly under the cosh. Kohli is far from being out the woods, and with time, and media scrutiny, the pressure mounts .

Recently he said the following – “I am not finding any self worth or value in what I do on the field. I`m way past that phase. This is a phase of evolution for me. Not to say I don`t have the same drive, my drive will never let me down. The day my drive goes away, I`ll not be playing this game. But to understand that some things are not controllable, the only controllable you have are things you can work towards, which is working hard in the field and in life as well and from that point of view, I feel that I am in the most balanced space that I have ever been and I am happy with who I am and how I am living my life.” – Kohli`s battle at this time is more mental than physical, or technical.

Where as a batter can be on his or her way back to the pavilion after just one delivery, the life of a bowler can actually be more painful. Where as in the past it seemed possible to bowl with regular accuracy and would be capable of hitting a handkerchief in net practice, there follows a period where ones seems incapable of hitting a beach towel. The very things which have brought successes in the past, no longer seem to be working, and the smallest of things that is out of sync will cause chaos with confidence and consistency.

Just arriving at the crease comfortably to deliver the ball can seem a nightmare. My ex skipper Bob Willis once bowled over 100 no balls during a home Ashes series and fellow Bear Gladstone Small once delivered a19 ball over against Middlesex in which he bowled 12 consecutive no balls, then a wide, before concluding his spell off two paces. Australian Rodney Hogg advised me to run from one stride less to get rid of a no ball issue – I`d never heard of this method and it is clearly in no coaching manual, however it worked almost immediately. Always remember that there is no one conventional way of doing things.

When coaching someone through a rough trot it helps if you know the players individual trigger points, and how their minds think, as often a players mind will have become cluttered with negatives. An often overlooked but obvious way to see what is wrong is comparing footage of a player performing well, then comparing footage where confidence and form are lost. The modern world allows for this through mobile phones – Give a thought for players of the past who had no video evidence to look at. It made things ten times harder.

Maybe it`s your team which is in a rut!! – We have all played in a side that is having a shocker of a summer. The captain can`t win the toss, the openers never seem to get the side off to a decent start and all the early order batters are feeling the pressure of seemingly never getting shelter from the new ball. Colleagues become irritated and if you’re not careful you`ll end up with a team that`s a split camp. Often you`ll end up with batters blaming bowlers, or, the other way round. I played in teams where this happened and in these circumstances one just has to forget egos and be honest.

There is no magic formula to rediscovering form or the winning habit, but the one thing guaranteed is that better times will return when confidence is on the rise. A snooker player wins ball by ball and frame by frame, and doesn’t think about the finishing line. In theory, cricket is the same; it plays out one delivery at a time so don`t over think things. Growth is growth, no matter how small, life never stops teaching, and no two days are the same.

The most successful side I played in had big ups and big downs before we collectively fired and started winning trophies. Key to this time was that our side never lost its spirit – There was a ton packed into those years but my overriding memories of this time in life is how hard we worked, the sheer volume of continuous days without rest, and how everyone dug in to get each other through another gruelling, pressurised day.

Overcoming obstacles and hardship is always best addressed through thought and hard work, as there are few short cuts. Should you be told differently then let me throw cold water on that myth. One obvious example of groundbreaking achievement is Jamaican Usain Bolt who`s 8 Olympic gold medals took less than two minutes performance time to attain, and yet he sweated for 2 decades to achieve these outcomes.

There are few things worse than feeling a burden so it pays to remember the good times. No person succeeds forever; ask Tiger Woods, Sachin Tendulkar, David Beckham, or Lewis Hamilton. Life is about the people you surround yourself with so stick with those who genuinely support, wisely encourage, and are willing to go the extra mile – These are the things that create the backbone for our future successes. Good luck, and remember it is only a game.

A wise old man (Gladstone Small) used to say about form – “It comes and it goes, and it hides in strange places, but class will always rise to the surface.”