Pre-season nets started today for Ben and Joe at James Hornsby school. The space in many respects is so much better than the Fitzwymarc facilities. For a start it's just round the corner and the light in the hall is superb, whereas Fitzwymarc was miles away and was as dark as a medieval dungeon. Other good things about the James Hornsby facilities are the viewing area which over-looks the hall now, having been built in the last year or so and the fact that there is three nets and two big spaces down the outside of the three nets which are ideal for practicing bowling in and other drills. The negatives for JH are the surface which is polished wood effect and very slippery and the mats as I mentioned before and back in October when they first said they'd be having their nets there.
Anyway, prior to making our way over there, Joe and I had a bit of bowl outside the house for a 10 minutes, I kept and he bowled and he got his line and length going okay, hitting the stumps a couple of times before we packed up and went back indoors out of the 5 degree centigrade cold weather. I didn't ask Ben as I knew I'd be met with a look of 'As if'? As it turns out Ben hit the stumps with his first ball and carried on pretty much in the same vein throughout the session. He then hit the stumps another 6 times while there were batsmen there during the session which was only 40-45 minutes long once you factored in some of the fielding drills. Joe did okay hitting the stumps a couple of times and finding the outside edge of the bat similarly. Some of the other boys were doing well also - Harry, Harrison and Frank who was bowling Leg Spin. At the end of the session a few people mentioned the fact that Ben had grown physically since September and had got visibly faster at bowling. That and the fact that Ben had come away from the session thinking that it had only lasted about 15 minutes bodes well, because he obviously enjoyed it and would have carried on for a lot longer.
While I was there John one of the player/youth trainers came over and said that they'd be looking to encourage a couple of the boys that showed an inclination to spin the ball. They're looking to develop a couple of spinners for the team to give the team another dimension. Dave Ayres chipped in reminding us that Joe had taken apart the tail of Wickford a couple of season ago. John asked if I'd look after them in the end bay in a couple of weeks and see if I could help develop their spinning. They spoke to Frank about it and he was up for it and so too was Joe. Joe went as far as suggesting that we hire out the 'Muno' and practice in there during the next week or so, which I'm not totally adverse to if he's going to take it seriously.
The things is where do I start? John implied that it would only work really with some of the more switched on boys as it's quite complex and not as easy as simply running in and chucking the ball fast and on target, but the challenge I reckon is to somehow simplyfy it to almost approximate that same description.
So where do I go with it? What do I work with primarily? Watching Frank he spins the ball well and his line and flight was pretty good, so whatever is that he's doing with his wrist and fingers it's working okay. So with him I'd probably look to change his 'Explosion through the crease' aspect and get him to rotate and step over with more energy, that alone, looking at his action would give him more spin and turn off the pitch. The same drill would work with Joe as well and what with Frank taking notice and vice versa, it may work out that they'd both develop that aspect of their game?