The challenge for this session was to deal with the many disconnections between it and the weekend: A junior game meant we could only use a small outdoor area for fielding. Indoor nets barely help with the main weekend issue of strike rotation. Finally, several senior players are away this week and turnout was down to 12.
Nevertheless, I set up the session to make the most of what we had, and I am confident it worked well.
After some simple fielding drills, we went inside.
I split indoor nets into "faster" and "slower" (we didn't have enough genuine seamers and spinners to do otherwise). Batsmen had 12 minutes each split between nets. Then I challenged the batsmen to a 10 point game:
- Out: -3
- Play and miss: -1
- Cut shot: -1
- Hit in the air back to the bowler: -1
Once you lose 10 points you are out, even if your 12 minutes are not up.
The idea is to add some jeopardy to batting, whilst also encouraging the batsman to play as he would in the middle. "Never cut until June" is a good general maxim to have, so we factored it in.
For the batsmen who were doing well, I added another rule that they lose another point for a cover drive, as represented by a cone in the net. You had to stay one side of the cone while driving. While this was a false restriction, the point was to challenge the player to restrict himself and feel similar strain to playing in the middle where you don't often have total freedom.
Someone suggested five press ups to all the bowlers in the net if a leg side wide was bowled. I loved it, and it gave the bowlers a bit of extra pressure.
Everyone who wanted to bat got a go, and got some good work done.
- The good: made the most of what we had.
- Needs work: Tie the session in better to the weaker areas from the weekend.
One to Ones
I've also done a couple of one to one sessions this week.
The first is a keeper working on leg side takes standing up. We did some technical work and talked about the difference between good technique and effective technique. The player tends to be hard on himself if he doesn't do something "the right way" and assumes mistakes come because he is doing it wrong. I stressed that there is a lot more flexibility in technique than he thinks. At one point I said "No one cares how you took that leg side stumping, as long as you take it".
If I can help him over that mental block he will be less hard on his errors and more likely to recover from missed chances that we all have from time to time.
Second is a batsman who wants a bit of confidence in playing shots. He feels like he only has a drive, and when that is failing he gets stuck and can't score.
We talked about developing a "get away" shot he can play with confidence at these moments, but didn't have time to work on it. So, instead I encouraged him to think about how he watches the ball to try and pick up length earlier. That way he can be in position to drive or pull much more quickly and feel better about the shots he can play. He still needs some work but we have a path for him now, whereas at the start of the session he was not clear about how to move forward.