A couple of weeks ago someone suggested that I look up this link on cricinfo http://content.cricinfo.com/australia/content/player/4188.html as there was something in there relating Clarrie Grimmett being one of the few people who could bowl him out. But as I read the article I stopped and noted this bit about Bradman as a kid -
"The fact that, as a boy, he sharpened his reflexes and developed his strokes by hitting golf ball with a cricket stump as it rebounded off a water tank attests to his eye, fleetness of foot and, even when young, his rare powers of concentration".
I can't bat - I'm useless and I'm frequently bowled out by both of my sons especially Ben the fast bowler. He bowls straight at the stumps and he always gets the ball past me either between bat and pad, using swing or just does me for speed (He's 10 years old). In the nets anyone who bowls straight generally bowls me out clean first ball - I just cannot get the willow on the leather. But I've been set a target of 20 in one of the matches over the year this coming season and I'm determined to do it so have been going to nets and practicing on my own trying to get some of the basics sussed. One of the things that I've noticed is that if I try and bat properly e.g. front foot drives and cover drives at straight balls I just miss. But today I remembered this Bradman excerpt and thought I'm going to get a bit of old wood and see if I can do that up against a wall with a tennis ball.
I did it a couple of times but then realised that the roundness of the wood was working against me and that in fact it may be a better idea to get a bit of timber from the garage and one thing lead to another and I ended up with these.....
They're about an inch and quarter wide and I rounded off the handle and put a grip on it. The blades been rounded of at the edges as well a bit and I ended up making one for my younger son Joe as he saw the logic in using these skinny 'Bradman Bats' as I'm calling them. So having made my one I gave it a go up against the wall a la' Bradman and initially I was useless but bit by bit using the front foot drive it came together. Then Joe came out and we bowled at each other and it we both got gradually better as the afternoon wore on. Then in the evening some more of the estate kids were about and we all had a bit of a game in the road and everyone did surprisingly well with these 'Bradman Bats' some of the other kids were using them more like baseball bats but me and Joe were generally driving the ball and playing front foot defensive strokes and doing surprisingly well.
We've both said that when we get on the field and play against all the estate kids we might choose to use these bats as a way of honing our skills. Joe I reckon might change his mind once he's bowled out - but then again he might surprise me as he did seem to understand why it would be good to use these bats to train yourself. But as for me - definitely! I'll play with these 'Bradman Bats' all summer against the kids and whenever I practice as I can only see that it's going to be beneficial?
Using the little soft blue ball you can see in the image I'm even able to throw that up against a wall in the kitchen and practice indoors! My wife Michelle will love that!