STRANGE hotel rooms. Relentless travel across the country. Games every three days.
Brody Couch is soaking up every second in his first year as a Melbourne Stars player, but knows downtime is vital if he is to mentally manage the rigours of a Big Bash League season.
The Nirranda export - a keen fisherman - hasn't had the time to wet a line often this summer but is finding peace and relaxation in ocean swimming.
"I reckon it makes a massive difference, just to be able to switch your mind from cricket to just relaxing," Couch told The Standard.
I reckon it makes a massive difference, just to be able to switch your mind from cricket to just relaxing.- Brody Couch
"Whether that's just getting down to the beach for recovery to clear your mind or sleeping in your own bed or spending the day thinking about something else, you put a lot of energy into training and games so downtime is really important.
"I've struggled for time for fishing in the past few months but just getting down to the beach, that's been something really good. Just to be able to switch the phone off and get in the water."
Couch has been a revelation since shifting to the Stars from cross-town rival Melbourne Renegades.
He was thrust into the thick of the action against powerhouse Sydney Sixers as a third-change bowler on December 5 and hasn't looked back.
Now, the former Warrnambool and District Cricket Association quick is averaging 17.40 with the ball and boasts an economy rate of 8.7 as an opening bowler.
There's now hype on his name. Media and pundits have started taking notice.
"I probably don't read into it too much," he said of the extra attention.
"One of the biggest things I've always tried to do with sport is just focus on what I can control. If I do that, things will take care of themselves. It's just been good to be able to reflect on things like the (Sheffield) Shield debut with my family."
So what's the secret to his success in short-form cricket?
"Twenty20 cricket is such a fast game. You've got to prepared for any situation that could get thrown up at you," Couch said.
"You have to have a plan B and C, if that makes sense. As much as it can get really full on, one of the things I try to do is keep it really simple and put plans in place and focus on executing them.
"I think that's really helped me, working on my process. My mental process mainly, tactically I think that's really helped as well."
Couch said the Stars, who are currently fifth of eight teams, weren't anywhere near their best but felt they had the quality to kick on in the new year.
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"I'm fairly happy with my form but there's always things to work on. Especially just as a team, we haven't quite hit our straps yet," he said. "We've still got a lot of improvement ahead of us. It's just about trying to improve that extra five or 10 per cent every time we play.
"We played the Sixers a couple of times early on and they're the benchmark. We sort of got a taste of where we need to be.
"I think if we can put some more wins on the board in the next few games it'll set us up really nicely."
The Stars will face Perth Scorchers at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night as a result of Western Australia's strict border rules.
The Scorchers will enter as slight favourites but the Stars are full of confidence after beating Brisbane Heat away on Monday.
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