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Sunday, February 05, 2012

To net or not to net

There's been an interesting article written on Pitchvision questioning the usefulness of net sessions http://www.pitchvision.com/ditch-the-nets-at-winter-training-to-make-a-better-preseason although I always go I've always wondered about how useful they are? The last couple of sessions I've had have been pretty useful and I've been happy with how things have gone and I'm looking forward to remembering to take my box next week in order that I can have a bit of a bat. But over the years and having read Grimmetts opinions on nets, I've often wondered how useful they are to you if you're a wrist spinner. I think most wrist spinners take an over in games to get settled, so if you're in a net with 5 or more blokes, by the time you get to bowl having waited your turn any sense of rhythm is lost. Recently at our nets the batsman have been slow to get ready in our 3rd net and it's allowed me to bowl on my own or with another bloke and get some rhythm going before the bat has turned up, so that's worked out well.

The article linked though looks at the idea of playing indoor cricket, which to me sounds like a good idea but would limit the amount of people being able to particpate. There are obviously pro's and con's to both sides of the argument which I'm not going to go into here - maybe you could sign up to Pitch-vision and have it out with David Hinchcliffe on there.

The reason I'm not that fussed is that we're able to supplement the nets with the fact that we have the old tennis courts at the local park to practice in and we get in there as much as we can out of season keeping things ticking over. Generally Dec, Jan and Feb gets so cold we don't get in there, but I bumped into Frank, Jack and Mark Farrington a couple of weeks ago just after Christmas on my way back from a session and as a consequence they gave it a go a week or so back. I think as a result of that first session Mark & Frank have seen the value of practicing in there and rang me today and asked me if I wanted to come over and join them! I have to mention at this point today was 0.5 degrees centigrade and they were looking to play cricket!!! Who was I to turn down such and offer and I was over there before them!!

In the article, Hinchcliffe highlights the use of playing indoor cricket and the fact that it incorporates all of the following skills...

Running between the wickets
Backing up
Calling
Judging a run
Manipulating the ball into gaps
Bowling accuracy
Bowling to a plan
Chasing a target
Setting a target
Wicketkeeping
Fielder reactions
Fielder decision making
Fielders backing up
Catching
Throwing
The nature of the tennis courts, its 3 metre high fence and its size mean that if you incorporate a few rules like If it goes over the fence you're out the batsmen have to learn how to keep the ball on the ground.

As you can see its a biggish space, probably a little larger than a sports hall and it's surrounded by an 9' fence. Which means you can hit the ball hard and it never goes so far that people get the ache with having to run miles to retrieve the ball when there's just a few of you. As a consequence the balls retrieved quickly and it's difficult to run 2 if the fielders are on their game, if the fielders mess up - over-throws are a consequence, so communication is key to scoring runs and not getting run out. We mark out extra players with cones and have a rule where if the balls in the air and passes the cones within fielding distance we toss a coin to see whether it was caught or not and this encourages hitting the ball along the ground. We have markers either side of the bowler and if the batsman drives the ball back past the bowler along the ground within the markers they gain extra runs. The set up brings in every single point made in that article...
Today there was only three of us, we had a knock about and we did some drills, I introduced Frank to accuracy drills - putting down a mat outside of the Leg -Stump and getting him to land a ball on a 15" x 15" mat and still turn it into the stumps. Next week if we're not knee deep in snow I'm hoping we'll all be there - Ben, Joe, Kieran, Frank, Mark and me. If we can get that many of us along we can have two people batting together and look at a game where we play who can have the highest scoring partnership, where the objective is exactly that and that involves communicating, calling and planning.
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