Friday, 5 February 2010

Looking forward to Sunday nets

So this Sunday marks the second nets session of the season and after last week I've got plenty of food for thought.

Last week wasn't too bad for a first try I suppose, and certainly by the end of it I could feel a definite improvement, but there were several issues that seem to be pretty fundamental. Firstly I wasn't moving my feet enough, secondly my balance was poor, thirdly I wasn't letting the ball come on to the bat, and finally I seemed, certainly to begin with, to have a weird tendency to take my bottom hand off as I swung the bat.

So firstly the feet. This is, I understand, a key aspect of batting in the same way that boxers need good footwork to throw a good punch. I need to work on automatically adjusting my feet to the pitch of the ball as it leaves the bowler's hand. Perhaps I need to develop a little shuffle as a trigger movement so that I'm on my toes from the start. Definitely this is worth a try so I'll have a go trying a few things in this area.

Balance. It was very clear to those watching that on virtually every shot I was leaning back as I played the stroke. This is perhaps partly down to poor footwork and also poor timing, leaving me reaching out for the ball rather than welcoming it onto the bat in a planned fashion. The main point is that I wasn't leaning my shoulder into the ball, and hence didn't have my head over the bat as contact is made. Perhaps I'm also not bending my left elbow enough, meaning I have to lean back to give myself room.

As for timing, I think this is something I can only really deal with through lots and lots of practice. I really have a problem assessing the pace of a ball as it is delivered. Perhaps this is down to another of my anatomical anomalies - having one faintly long-sighted eye and one appreciably short-sighted eye which means I have some issues with depth perception. I do have glasses but I wouldn't want to risk wearing them in the nets, and it looks like I'll have to wait a bit before I can get some contact lenses for the one eye. I'm not sure they make perspex safety monocles... However I'm concerned that it feels as if I may have a set default time in my head between the ball leaving the hand and playing the stroke, and if so this could be a real mental obstacle to overcome.

Finally, the whole taking my bottom hand off the bat thing surprised me, but it's probably more an issue of using a heavier than ideal bat, so hopefully this should just sort itself out. Other than that it may require a slight adjustment to the way I grip the bat, but of all the problems listed this is by far the easiest to solve.

Overall though there's plenty of really basic things here that I need to get sorted out before I can really think about learning how to bat properly. Some of it I can practise at home, some will only be possible in nets, but I suppose it's just practise, practise, practise...

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