If you are not trying, failing and adjusting at nets, you are not improving. You are having a social.
This idea of practice is fairly new to cricket. Most people at club level still come to nets to have a go without any specific direction. This is fine if all you want is a run out and to catch up with the boys in the week. You better be an absolute gun if you do this and expect to do well on Saturday. Because science has proven there is more to practice than turning up.
The good news is that this newer way of training is super easy to do, you just need the right mindset.
Here's what you do.
- Come to every session with a specific, measurable goal.
- Review how you do both during and after the session.
That's it! If you stop reading now and do these two things you will make your coach very happy.
But let me give you a touch more detail.
First - and most important - come to nets with a specific goal in mind of thing you want to achieve.
This must be challenging to you rather than something you know you can already do. For example, if you want to improve bowling accuracy, make your target to hit a smaller target area on PitchVision than you need to. If you are hitting your target zone more than 50% of the time, it's probably too big.
Second, make sure you can instantly review how you did.
So, with our bowling example, you can use PitchVison see see straight away if you hit your target or not. It's instant and measurable. This is important because you're need to be able to remember what you did when it went well, and adjust when it doesn't go right.
As a general rule, you know you are pushing your limits when you fail 40-60% of the time. More is too demotivating get, less is too easy. This sweet spot will keep you going when you get it wrong but not bore you with its simplicity.
What are a few goals you can measure?
- Develop a new shot.
- Learn to hit an existing shot from more deliveries (for example drive a length ball).
- Improve your ability to rotate the strike.
- Bat under the pressure of a run chase.
- Pace an innings.
- Improve your speed or endurance running in pads.
- Judge line and length.
- Improve shot selection.
- Better accuracy of your stock length.
- Better accuracy of your variation (googly, yorker).
- Ability to bowl a series of balls to outsmart a batter.
- More pace.
- More turn.
- Ability to bowl under pressure.
- Caught and bowled chances.
You get the idea.
If you need ideas for ways to measure these things, ask your coach.
This creates a feedback loop of trying, failing, adjusting and trying again. That can be tough, because we are told failing is bad. In fact, it's only bad if you don't learn from it.
So, turn up at nets with a specific, challenging and measurable goal. Learn from your failures in practice and improve your chances of success in matches.