Friday, April 01, 2016

More pre-season nets

As the start of the season approaches... 2 potential friendlies on 23rd and 30th April, we're looking to have a few nets sessions with the bowling machine and today saw the first of three we've got planned. If you're a regular on the blog or the big cricket forum you'll know that I can't bat and that my highest score ever is 16 against Orsett two years ago. There's been no improvement, as that year we were promoted up to a far better league and our team struggled. I had a couple of promising starts with scores of 11 and 14 that came far more fluently than my 16, but I was always let down by the bloke at the other end as I bat at either 10 or 11.

With those two double figure scores being thwarted in the usual no.10/11 way I sensed that the more positive approach to my batting that I'd adopted seemed to be paying off. It seemed to have come about by virtue of more practice with a more positive mind-set. The practice aspect was interesting as coming to the game so late in life, the chances to practice for instance with a bowling machine was non-existent and I figured that if I was able to have someone or something to put the ball in a specific area consistently I might have the chance to improve? I can't remember how it happened, but looking around I found a venue with a bowling machine that in late October was (1) empty and (2) relatively cheap and decided that I'd give it a go. In the worst case scenario, I might come away from a handful of sessions being less fearful of the ball I figured?

Better, still what I wanted was to move up the order a little... (8)? so that I had the chance to make a contribution with the bat. So back in October and through November and December Joe and I started to go to Writtle Cricket centre for an hour or two every fortnight with specific aims. On the first visit it soon became very apparent that this was the potential answer to the problem, the more balls you face the more likely you're going to be able to figure things out and make a fist of staying in and scoring a few runs. So over that period we've been working on playing with a straight bat and I've definitely made some advances which numerous people at the club have commented on having either seen the videos or my batting at pre-season nets at the club.

Recently I videoed my batting over at Mopsies and posted it on Youtube (Double click the image).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP5vveQsZhg

Off the back of that, one of the coaches on Bigcricket commented on it privately, pointing out the fact that I'm jumping away from the ball when it's on my leg and offered me some drills and guidance. Yesterday I spent 3 x 20 minute sessions working specifically on this aspect of my batting and the results are here (Double click the image for the video).
https://youtu.be/g0JhSn8Aqlk
Although there seems to be a significant improvement whilst I know the balls coming into the legs, I found it a lot harder to maintain the discipline when the bowling was mixed up - different lengths, offside. legside and on the stumps, so there's still some work to do.