Fail to prepare – then prepare to fail. A number of us (especially the author) need to attend to good quality practice in order to achieve anything like a respectable level of performance on the pitch. With this in mind, net practice is to become more structured. Here’s what we’ll be doing:
1 Warm up before the net … jog on the spot, shake your shoulders and hips loose, twist your torso, gently stretch your leg and arm muscles; get the joints working – it’s as important for batting as it is for bowling – and for fielding its paramount.
2 Batsmen – put yourself in a game situation. Imagine the team needs you to score runs in one of these scenarios. So plan what balls you’ll be looking to score off and which you need to keep out. Try to keep in line with the ball. Even in defence, positively commit to the shot you’re playing.
Scenario 1 – opening the batting – you mustn’t give the opposition an early breakthrough, but if they give you a scoring opportunity you want to get the scoreboard moving with as little risk as possible.
Scenario 2 – middle order – take the game to the opposition by looking to play shots, but respect good bowling by being prepared to check your attacking instincts into blocking.
Scenario 3 – crisis – the Gardeners are 20-4 and we don’t want to give the opposition any more wickets. Batten down the hatches but look for gaps in the field to stroke the ball safely into to get the team back into the game.
Scenario 4 – hammer time. We’re either trying to set a big score or in a run chase with wickets in the bag so you need to take calculated risks to score a couple of boundaries per over. Keep your head as the team needs 10 an over and we need you to deliver them.
Scenario 5 – accumulator. A good “fallback” position – think that every ball has the potential for runs with minimal risk. Look to play every ball but keep your technique tight, punching or gliding the ball rather than bashing it.
3 Bowlers – taking a turn one after the other is not like how you bowl in the middle. So to make this more like the game situation, here’s the plan.
Bowl 3 balls in a turn … whilst you are waiting for your turn, keep yourself loose and plan which variations you are going to use in your 3 balls.
Have a clear plan for your first ball and contingency plans for the next 2 depending on the results of ball 1.
Think – what line and length am I aiming for and how do I want the ball to behave. If the batsman is a back-foot specialist, pitch it up. If he likes to get forward, drop it a bit shorter. Are you better at moving it in to or away from the batsman?
Take careful aim, relax and deliver. Get it firmly in your mind what you’re trying to do but don’t strain to do it, let it come by maintaining your concentration.
Net Practice Schedule – January to April 2014 at The Oval, Thursday 7pm-8pm
4th October 2013