Sunday, November 25, 2007

Plans and Hopes 2007-2008


After spending all summer trying to get the Flipper to pay dividends as my stock ball I've had to review the situation. It seems that in practice (This is still the case now) I can get my Flipper to turn acutely across the wicket from Leg to Off. But on the wicket at Blackshots it just wasn't happening and that tied in with the psychological aspects of having my confidence knocked for 4 along with the ball mean that my bowling was poor.
Then in the last game we played I saw the bloke that got the multiple maidens. He seemed to be bowling straight balls, straight down the wicket at the stumps on a good to short length, nothing flash just very consistent. So I've left the Flippers and now I'm concentrating on bowling Top Spinners but getting them to land in a very small area to order. So over the next few months all I'm doing is bowling 95% Top Spinners concentrating on line, length and flight. The other 5% will be the ocassional Flipper and Wrong Un which will serve as my variations. On that front since laying off the Flippers and concentrating on the Top Spinners it seems the rest has done wonders for the Flipper as it seems to be a lot more accurate now that I bowl it less?

With regards playing for G&CCC my main strategy will be to try and ensure that I don’t suffer any injuries. Seemingly the problem areas are

• Sprinting in the outfield calf muscles
• Sprinting in the outfield thigh muscles
• Throwing the ball in from the outfield shoulder and upper arm muscles.

Needless to say it sounds like I might have to do some kind of training with my legs, either more running or more cricket specific running. Looking back all the time I was practicing over at Great Berry I never suffered and that represented cricket specific training. As soon as we had the problems at Great Berry and the practicing tailed off that’s when the injuries started to occur. It may have been the reason for both the arm and leg muscle pulls?
With the throwing it’s also obvious technique is also an issue, so I’ve got to look at my technique.
Bowling aims – to take more wickets. The equivalent of one per week would be really good and to reduce the amount of runs I conceded. All of this I’m hoping will simply fall in place because of the new strategy with the Top Spinner ball which will become my stock ball. I’m hoping that the fact that I deliver it straight will mean it will threaten the stumps and cause the batsmen to play in a more cautious manner.

Persevere with the Flipper and the Wrong Un and have them as my other balls in addition to the Top Spinner.

Batting – I’ve not even addressed this yet, but one of the blokes at G&CCC commented that I need to move my feet more and stand slightly sideway to the stumps rather than directly in front of the stumps and then not move. At the end of the summer I had started to practice with a ball up against a wall which was useful in that it forced me to move my feet in relation to the trajectory of the ball otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get behind or on top of the ball. The thing with this is finding a decent wall and a ball with the right amount of bounce. Having said that now having discovered the basket ball courts with their high fences and tight nit mesh I may be able to use large bouncy balls if they come back off the fence in the same trajectory that they went into the fence? Something to look at for the future. Ideally when the spring comes I’ll be able to resume practicing on Great Berry and people will join in over there.

Teams – Obviously I’ll be playing all year with G&CC. Other than that I’m looking to get a team together within the college amalgamating our old MPA teams with sports science. The intention then is to play against G&CCC a couple of times if not more.

The other thing I’d like to do is get the blokes over at Glouscester Park to get a team together and play them over at Glouscester Park or Great Berry. There is so much potential there it would be a shame if those blokes never ever got to play a real game, so I’m determined that I get that together somehow.


I've started a fitness regime with a strategy to get my upper body strength increased - arms and shoulders with some attention to core strength. I've got a series of exercises I'm doing every other day and for the next month I'll be doing the exercises and seeing how I get on. I'd imagine that if I keep it up for a week or two the exercises will then become easier and I'll increase the amount of reps. Once I get organised what I may also do is post the exercises on and get feedback from the people on there - Liz Ward and David Hinchcliffe of That way hopefully I'll be building up to a good start to the season at G&CCC.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Here's how to put new grip onto a bat using a cone. This has been lifted from the simply cricket website with the permission of Tom. So cheers Tom. Have a look at the website and get involved with the forum loads of useful stuff on there including our old mate David Hinchcliffe and LIz Wizard from Harrowdrive still promoting fitness and core stability....

Although this will be teaching many of you to suck eggs, one or two of you have asked for tips on using a gripping cone so below is quick guide with pictures.Firstly -a gripping cone!Before you start it's a good idea to check the binding on the handle, make sure there are no loose ends and it's not starting to unravel. If it is you can stick down the loose bits with a little bit of wood glue. If the string has come away completely you need to get it rewound by a pro.You need to place the grip as far onto the cone as you're able - don't force it on but you should get about 2/3 of the grip on, like so:Once you've done that roll the grip upwards (as per arrow on photo) until the grip 'pops' off:Turn the half rolled grip around and place the unrolled bit back onto the cone, until the rolled up section is back on and then roll the grip down:Continue to roll the grip down the cone, towards the metal ring (if your cone has one). It should look something like this:Once you are near or on the metal ring, place that end over the handle of the bat (you need to grip the bat with your feet to free up your hands) and push the grip over the bottom of the cone and onto the handle. It may take some force, depending on the age of the grip and how thick it is:Proceed to roll the grip all the way down the handle - try to get the bottom of the grip to fall where the handle meets the bat (this will take practice). If you don't get it first time, you'll need to play with the grip to get it to fit. Use your thumbs and palms to work the grip.Lastly, roll the grip all the way up the handle. You can 'pat' down a small amount of excess using the flat of you palm. If its a lot then you can again work the grip using your hands. If the grip comes up short, roll it down the handle and then back up to stretch it.To finish off you can place some electrical tape on the base of the grip (wrap it twice round, keeping the second wrap over the first) but it's not critical.I hope that explains the basics, after that its down to practice and blisters on your palms! Apologies for the pictures being slightly blurry but I had to take them on a camera phone.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter plan of action - Throwing

I'm also writing a blog on a cricket website so some of the content of this blog will end up on there and vice versa.

So - a winter plan? Whatever happens initially it's going to be hindered by the fact that I've pulled a muscle in my L/H calf muscle and I've been told by Liz Wizard on the simplycricket website that I need to rest it properly in order that I don't do any more damage to it. Liz is good at this stuff and has given me advice before that has then led to me getting fixed as such.

The winter plan I feel needs to lead up to the start of the season. At 47 I'm not as physically active as I was when I was younger and I have a tendency to expect my body to still do the kind of stuff I used to do as a kid. Over the last season I found that I was useless at throwing the ball in from the outfield and that everytime I did it I could sense that I was almost injuring my arm each time and it was obvious that if I continued I would in fact do some injury. Fortunately I noticed that the other 'Older' blokes were rolling the ball in and throwing it under arm if the batsmen had stopped running and wisely adopted that as an injury avoidance strategy. But at the same time I was gutted that I couldn't do what would have been easier in younger days - but then younger days would have been spent throwing rocks at objects out in the river Thames or hours spent trying to hit Swifts as they flew along river banks stuff like that where you'd be constantly exercising your arm. These days all I do is type and drive a car in between weekends, so it's not surprising that my arm isn't up to it?

So one of the things I need to do is exercises that will help with that and also practice on the technique. There's a good link on in the cricket pages where Paul Collingwood has a video where he covers throwing techniques and as soon as you see it and then try it - it all makes sense. Also on the website David has covered ways of practicing using different weight balls alternately as a method - so I'll re-visit that before I start.

How often? As yet I'm not sure and I want to do it in a way where I'm not really feeling I'm going to be wasting lots of time. I suppose what I could do is make it more cricket specific (If my leg was okay) by setting up targets opposite one another and everytime I've thrown the ball run/sprint to retrieve it, that way I'm also doing things like stooping down to pick the ball up quickly and turning to throw back in the other direction accurately which'll all add to my agility?

Anyway - my legs knackered so I'm not going to be doing that so what will I be doing this weekend? More than likely I'm going to be spot bowling trying to pitch the ball from 17 yards throwing top-spinners trying to get it to land in area 10" x 30" as that'll be fairly easy on my leg? If it proves to be too stressful on the leg I'll ease up again. I'll let you know what I decide.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Great Berry plan of action

For some reason tonight I was laying in bed and started thinking about Great Berry Open Space and all the stuff that happened over there last summer and how it was finally resolved and the councils official line on the matter at the end....

You can play cricket on the field whenever you want, you can mark out the boundaries, wear whites and play two proper teams.

If we can help you in any way we will, if we could somehow get our three tonne roller over here from 'The Rec' we would and we'd roll a wicket for you. In the meantime you can cut the grass as much as you like - we think it's brilliant what you're doing and if there's any other way we can help don't hestitate to contact the office, there may be cash and incentives available on the basis that you're grass roots and you're encouraging a sport that is on the decrease in this area.

So there I was going over this in my mind thinking what can I do next spring to ensure that I'm able to practice over there and maybe get some of the old MPA team over there for a knockabout. I was going over it and thinking maybe I should go and repair the holes where the foxes dug up the stump holes - fill it in and plant some grass seed. Then I thought maybe I should mulch it as well as I've got tonnes of compost in my back garden doing nothing? Then I thought that without a roller to then roll it once the mulch had been absorbed that was pointless and would make what is very flat piece of grass more lumpy. Then I had one of those moments of genius and remembered this....

Watch what happens 55 seconds into the clip - it's genius! Why didn't I think of this last summer? The council blokes when they came and spoke to me on the occasion that I was mowing the wickets drove up to me on the field in their own van, so there's obviously some way of accessing the field in a van via the adjacent estate. Okay, so maybe I'm not going to be able to go to the council and ask can I use my car to roll the wickets as they're bound to be tied up in H&S laws and will almost inevitably say "No - sorry". But there's a chance that they might just drive across the wicket when they're in the area?

I know it's going to work because last summer during our camping holiday I noted the impact the cars had on the grass on the campsite when they drove around - compressed and flat and lovely for cricket!