Sunday, February 21, 2016

The work starts here.

Whoa! That seems to have snuck up on me suddenly. I'm back to work on Monday having been off for half term and thought today must be pre-season nets soon? Sure enough, checked the calendar and the first session is on Tuesday night.

I think I'm okay upper-body wise, as I've been putting in the work for that alongside the extra batting net sessions Joe and I have been doing, but lower body and general running around fitness and stamina I'm not so sure. If I'm honest I'm slightly concerned about my Achilles which I injured last May. I have been resting it, but it still feels vulnerable especially if I wear trainers that have the high heel support at the back as this feels as though it digs in and causes a sensation of soreness. Not a great deal of soreness, but enough to notice and be aware of. This is my right foot so it'll be put under pressure coming out of bound into BFC where I need to land with the foot side-on. I'll have to remember to warm up and increase the physio/strengthening I guess?

Over the last week Joe and I have been practicing outside over at 'The Wreck' AKA The Rec, I'm calling it 'The Wreck' because of the state it's in. In the picture below the best fence is over-grown with possibly one of the most densely spiked bushes on the planet and the fence is about 12" (300mm) inside the bush it's that over-grown and we lose fluorescent orange Windballs in there!

 
Another downside is the surface - the tarmac is deteriorating and is no longer smooth and it's really pitted so the ball spins like crazy making any realistic batting virtually impossible. You can't play your regular game and have to come up with solutions that take in account the fact that the ball is going to bounce more than normal... Joe loops them up on this surface bowling slow Off-spin mixed with differing speeds, lengths and straight balls. The thing I've picked up from playing in this scenario is to learn how to leave balls that you don't have to play, balls that are not threatening the stumps he throws up so they bounce more with top spin or off-spin so cross bat shots are ultra risky. So hopefully these lessons I can carry forward to the coming season?
 The surface!

I did speak to the council park keepers a couple of years ago and they said there were plans afoot to do something with these tennis courts, as I recall there was talk of a proper anti-climb type fence and for the area to be re-surfaced with smooth tarmac like the 'Cage' over at Markhams Chase. That would be nice because people do try and use this ever-declining facility aside from us. There's a kid that plays cricket at a very high level who practices over there and my own son plays at county district level and to be able to have half decent facilities to practice on would be nice.
 
Besides from the bushes being over-grown all the other sides of the courts have either broken fencing or are covered in brambles. The surface is uneven and breaking up in places and the place is in an awful state of repair. If the council had money to spend at the end of the year this is one place that could do with a bit of loving care.
 
Moan out of the way - despite that it has meant that we've practiced a bit and I have done a little bowling and I noticed that I need to work on the new run-up again as I was getting lazy and doing the 'Stuttering' thing again. More work needs to be done leading up to May, including general fitness and stamina, so some running and cycling are in order over the coming weeks.