Friday, 13 January 2012
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
There’s only one thing left to do, and that is charge him!
It's not as crazy as it sounds, read on.
Swing bowling is the downfall of many prolific batsman; and late swing is the most destructive weapon in a bowlers armoury.
Playing in an orthodox way you have no way to counteract the evils of the ball moving late and nicking off. Until you consider moving down the track.
I stumbled upon this technique when watching one of our senior players open the batting in conditions favourable to swing. The theory was that the pace was not an issue, but the lateness of the swing was what was causing him the most problems.
We have already noted that the hardest swing to play is when the delivery begins straight and then moves late; lulling the batsman into playing a false shot. So surely the best way to play late swing is to attempt to eradicate it completely?
He would advance 2 or 3 paces down the wicket and play the ball before the swing had chance to take effect.
This would allow him to play the ball with more confidence whilst allowing him the protection of distance from his stumps with regards to LBW.
Secondly, it also gave the impression to the fielding side that he was being very positive in his mind set and looking to take the attack to the bowler; all from simply trying to eradicate the late swing.
What do you think?
Is this madness or common sense? Leave a comment and let us know.
You’ve scored an unbeaten ton in your last 3 innings.
You’re batting well, you feel good and most importantly, you look good!
You can carry as much form as you like coming into your next game, but unless the opposition study and follow your scorecard closely, they are unlikely to know your recent success.
But, they can sense it. They know something special is coming out to bat when you walk out. It’s almost an aura.
First impressions count. You do it yourself to other batsmen.
Think about the “league legend” that everyone knows. We try to judge the mood he is in by his body language.
When he strides out with his bat over his shoulder, almost whistling a happy tune you steel yourself for a lot of leather chasing.
But what if you are not a league legend and you have not come off the back of several big scores. Can you still produce the same aura?
This is why you should begin to bat, before you’ve started your walk out to the middle.
By that I mean be conscious of your actions whilst waiting to bat; you are not invisible to the opposition or your team mates just because you aren’t on the field.
Now, I’m not saying act the big shot, you still have to be comfortable with yourself, but imagine the difference your attitude and manner has on your surrounding team mates and the opposition.
If the opposition see you giving off negativity and doubt they are more than likely to feel confident against you.
In your own style you need to give off a cool, controlled attitude to settle the rest of your team and give the message that the opposition are in for a grind.
Look to up the tempo by jogging out to the middle playing big shadow shots, sending out a message to the fielding side that they are in the firing line.
Sure, there is an element of “faking it until you make it” but you have to start somewhere. Why wait until you are 120 not out to give it a strut?
Right from the moment you arrive at the ground, be conscious of your visible signs of preparation and the effect they have on others.
Visible preparation will allow you to embrace the mind-set that you wish to achieve. You actions speak loudly.
- What is the average winning score batting 1st?
- What score guarantees you a win batting first?
- How many boundaries are scored per 20 overs?
- What number of boundaries per innings guarantee me a win?
- What is the scoring ball% that gives me a 80% chance of winning T20 on my ground?
- Which bowler types are most effective on my ground?
- Batsmen who prefer front foot have success with bats with lower middles.
- Batsman who play more back foot prefer high middles.
- Scoops: One way of improving the pick up is by a concaving the back of the bat. This method sees the spine of the middle keep its height, but ‘scoops’ away either side. This reduces the amount of wood off centre of the middle, but still keeps the original power directly down the centre of the bat.
- Blade length: Shorter blades tend to pick up lighter than standard blades due to the middle being placed closer to the batsman’s hands. These are not recommended for batsman of roughly 6ft and taller as this can cause problems when in the stance position.
- Starting in a balanced position
- Being balanced at contact
- Hitting the ball late
- Watching the ball as hard as you can
- Fine sweep, back foot maneuver to square leg and front foot maneuver to square leg.
- Lofted on drive, lofted off drive, on drive and off drive.
1. Start with a template
The first part is to start with a good basic template. In cricketing terms this falls into:
- Mental preparation
You might also include recovery.
It doesn't matter what template you pick initially as long as it is something that has been proven to work and you can stick with for 2-4 weeks.
2. Follow the plan for 2-4 weeks
It's important to stick with the plan you choose for at least 2 weeks. Any less than this and it's hard to see any results. You also need to make sure that during this time you don't stray from the plan. If you do then the results will not be correct and you can't properly assess its effectiveness.
3. Check the results
You don't need to do a battery of testing every couple of weeks to see results but you do need something to measure. Steer clear of directly relating runs/wickets to any changes you make as factors out of your control also have an influence on sports performance (such as the form of the opposition or the quality of the wickets).
Instead focus on direct tests:
- Diet: Amount of weight lost/gained.
- Fitness: Amount of weight lifted, distance run and speed over 22 yards. Visual evidence (do you look better).
- Training: Coaches assessment of your technical improvements, your own training journal.
- Mental preparation: Use a journal to record after a game how confident you felt, how much negative thinking was in your game, how well you concentrated and anything else of importance to your mental game.
Be creative about it and work out some direct measures to properly assess what is working and what is failing. It's certainly worth keeping a training/playing log at all times. This will allow you to go back over the training you did before a good performance. If you see a trend you can stick with it. Your log might include anything worth recording: What you ate, how much you slept, what type of training you did at nets, what fitness work you are doing and even how you feel.
4. Adjust where needed
If everything is going according to plan and you are making progress then carry on doing what you are doing. It's working.
If no positive changes are happening you need to tweak your plan to make it better. If you are trying to lose weight you need to reduce the amount you eat slightly. If you are trying to develop a perfect yorker you need to increase the amount you practice it.
5. Go back to step 2 and continue
As your plan becomes more tailored you can continue through the loop. Keep going back, trying, testing and reviewing. Keep doing this until you reach your goal.
For most people this tailor-like systematic work, test and review plan takes the guesswork out of cricket. Form is no longer something mysterious and fleeting. You can work out what brings you into form and what takes you out of it. That sense of control can only work wonders for your game.
1. Eat more protein
When you think of losing weight you think of cutting stuff out. That is right but it also makes is psychologically harder to stick to your plan. So instead think of certain foods like sweets and cakes as occasional treats and eat more lean protein.
Protein fills you up more quickly and so overall you will eat less and lose weight.
2. Save your carbs
Some people consider carbs to be evil. While we all probably eat too much sugar and starch, they do have a place.
And again, to keep it simple, that place is after exercising. If you love your pasta, potatoes and chocolate then have it, but make sure you earn it by lifting up heavy stuff before you eat it (and that includes drinks with sugar in).
3. Set a weight lifting target
If there is one secret to exercising for weight loss (there isn’t but let’s pretend) then it’s to train with weights. Most people think it will make you bulky, but if you are overweight it will help you burn fat fast and keep it off.
2-3 sessions a week with resistance will do the job and to keep you motivated to do the work, set yourself targets. For example, if you have never barbell squatted before then try the stronglifts 5x5 programme and see how much weight you can keep adding in the months before you start playing cricket.
A little at a time and it becomes fun, not a chore.
4. Get some support
The science behind losing weight is easy. You burn more than you consume. You win.
What’s difficult is the psychological side. It’s hard to resist the plate of chips (if you have not exercised) and tough to go to the gym after a hard day’s work.
SO make it fun by bringing in a bit of support.
That could be a training buddy or just someone who tuts at you when you get in straight from work instead of going to the gym first. Make yourself accountable to someone (maybe with a training log) and you will be far more likely to enjoy it, even when the going is tough.
5. Add some competition
As cricketers we love the challenge of competition. I have lost count of the number of warm up games of football at my club that have become full-blown grudge matches.
So make your fitness competitive too. You could play a winter sport for the team camaraderie, or you can compete against yourself in the gym. You can do this by keeping track of how far you run or how much weight you lift and trying to beat it week on week.
6. Think about NEPA
Non-Exercise Physical Activity is a bit of a buzz phrase in the fitness industry. It’s overrated on it’s own, but when combined with a solid eating plan and regular strength training it can make a huge difference.
What is it?
It’s all unplanned physical activity you do when you are going about your day: everything from jiggling your leg while you read articles on the web through to walking up stairs instead of taking the lift.
Its low level and you barely notice you are doing it, but you are always conscious of ways to increase it. Walking to work, doing some gardening, shovelling snow, vacuuming the house and so on; the options are endless.
And of course, getting frisky with the one you love really ups the NEPA levels. Now that is fun.
Noone has the perfect diet and exercise plan. Everyone has moments where they cave in to cake or skip the gym.
As long as you make eating well and training hard the norm for 90% of the time, the occasional pizza is going to make no difference to the overall result.
That means you can cheat and spoil yourself sometimes.
Not only is that fun, but it helps keep you motivated and sticking to things the other 90% of the time.
1. You have to be a talented professional to train preseason
Anyone can benefit from preseason training no matter how bad they are. In fact, the worse you are to start with, the more important and effective winter preparation.
Many people say to themselves that they are not good enough to bother. These people would rather fail and have the handy excuse ready; ‘what do you expect? I didn’t prepare.’
That’s fear talking.
They fear that if they failed after taking the winter seriously by training hard they would reveal their true lack of talent.
But the truth is that we always do better if we prepare better. Anything else is just rationalising our fears.
2. The Internationals don’t bother with preseason
Technically, this is true. But it’s not the whole story.
English cricketers rarely have time for an off season of more than a couple of weeks. They go from summer to tour, to another tour, and back to summer. They are playing all year round and have no time for preseason.
But they are surrounded by coaching staff who know how to make the most of limited breaks they have. It’s not as good as being able to focus for four months without a match, but they make it work.
And I guarantee if they had a big block break they would be pushed hard in preseason by those coaches.
So you, with your months of winter nets to get through have no excuses.
3. All that fitness is not relevant to cricket
Doing squats and press ups in the depth of winter seems a long way from bowling and batting. It is no wonder some people still think badly of fitness training.
But a well tuned body is the foundation of good cricket.
Do this right and you will hit harder, bowl faster, last longer before technique fails under fatigue and be less likely to become injured.
Yes, fitness training will never replace a good technique, but it’s not an either-or situation. They complement each other perfectly.
4. It takes a lot of time to do preseason properly
The more you can do the better, but you don’t need to commit your life to preseason training to get an improvement effect.
You can net once or twice a week, hit the gym two or three times and make noticeable improvements over a few months.
Everyone has more time than they think; it’s just a matter of priority. You may have higher priorities than cricket, but you can still make time to improve your skill and fitness in the winter months with careful planning and good knowledge of what works fast.
5. You need to have an expert to guide you through preseason
Most players are not lucky enough to have access to a strength trainer and personalised coaching. If you are in that boat there is still plenty you can do without experts on hand.