Psychologist put my career back on track
There has never been a harsher critic of Ollie Currill’s game than himself – but the teenager says he’s now ready to break through at Bristol after learning to shut out negative thoughts.
The seamer has always been ahead of the curve – his first adult game for childhood club Moreton-in-Marsh came at seven – but doubts crept in when the pressure started to ramp up at county level.
He fell out of the Gloucestershire age-groups at 15 and, even at that tender age, needed the help of a psychologist to restore his self-belief.
In the end he only spent a year on the outside looking in at county level, and all his hard work came to a head last August after he was offered a one-year academy contract.
Currill, 19, said: “Everything started to click really early on and I was 12 or 13 when I got picked up by Gloucestershire but then at 15 I went through a dip in my performances and I dropped down to district level because I was having real trouble with the mental side of things.
“I worked closely with district coaches Luke Sellers and Wade Risdale to tackle that because I was struggling, I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. I can’t point back to one moment I started thinking that, it was just an accumulation over time.
“For a couple of weeks we got in a psychologist who did some personality profiles and my resounding issue was being too negative. It didn’t click overnight but I took it step by step, you can’t make it happen by forcing things.
“After that, I got back into the county at U16s and did OK but the following year it was my last chance, and I felt like I took it by storm. I’d worked really hard to get back to that point and, looking back, the 12-week programme I did to help me out mentally got me to where I am now.
“The higher level you get, you have to have the mental capacity to go with it. That’s the difference at top level, not just skill and technique.”
His experiences stand him in good stead for a year ahead that he admits could be make or break as far as his county future is concerned.
“My academy contract runs out in September, but at Gloucestershire you know as a youngster you’ll get a chance if there is one to take,” Currill added. “I know my ability is good enough to play at the highest level, and if I can just put my foot down this summer that will come with it.
“I played quite a bit of 2nd XI cricket, too, last year, I impressed on a couple of occasions but I wasn’t helped by a back injury. I’ve been managing that and hopefully I’ll be ready for the season.”
Banbury-born Currill plays his club cricket for Leamington Spa in a traditionally strong Birmingham & District League. He said: “Sometimes I’m up against players I’m used to watching on TV, guys at Warwickshire like Keith Barker and Varun Chopra. That stuff really motivates me to perform against them.”
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