Sunday, 12 September 2010

2010 Season evaluation part 1: Batting

So with the season now over, I thought I'd do a series of posts looking at how I've developed over the season, and looking at what I can do over the winter to come back next year even better. My starting point should probably be the targets I set myself in January, and in batting terms I set my targets out thus:
Right now, in batting terms I just want to get out in the middle and face a few balls, see what I'm up against and not be a complete ferret. From there on it'd be nice to score my first boundary, then aim to reach double figures for the first time, then once I've done that a few times think about 25 as the next target, and after that I can see whether I can aspire to anything greater.
How successful have I been? Well I'm not a complete ferret, and can usually count on sticking around for a dozen balls or so, and I have at last scored a boundary.
That said I'm still not certain of regularly scoring any runs, and have yet to register what I'd consider to be a respectable contribution. Looking at the league matches the 4ths have played this year, the average contribution for the winning side is 24.74 per man at a strike rate of 58.48, while for cup matches this is 51.04 at 85.07. That's not to say this is what the 4ths have actually managed, far from it. However, my own average of 1.67 at 18.18  is clearly nowhere near enough on either score.

The actual mechanics of my batting is still very poor, and it starts right from the point the ball leaves the bowler's hand. Essentially, I'm simply very short on experience. I am still not able to properly judge line and length in the first moments after delivery, and from thereon I'm left playing catch-up. My footwork is extremely poor, but if I can't judge quickly where I'm supposed to be aiming to play the ball this is not really a surprise. The eyesight problem probably causes the footwork problem, and I am faced with a choice between getting into position too late or not getting into position at all and improvising as best I can. There's really not much I can do about this except practise as much as I can. What bothers me is that I can practise the shots on my own all I like but how do I make the connection between the pitch of the ball and the right shot to play? I need to make this connection instinctive, but I fear it'll take me several years.

As you can see the problems breed on themselves and multiply. I can't judge line and length quickly enough, so I don't have time to move my feet, so I get out fairly quickly and don't face many balls, so I don't get to significantly increase my experience of judging length, so I can't increase the amount of time I have to move my feet, so I don't get used to it, so it doesn't become instinctive, so I keep getting out quickly, so...

The one good part of my batting has been that I haven't played stupidly. I've been beaten plenty of times, and my technique has been poor plenty of times, but I can't think of an occasion where I've got myself out through poor thinking. On the 4ths I may well be unique in this respect! I haven't yet got to the point of being in the position to plan an innings, so I've no idea how I'd fare if I had to. For the moment my mental preparation for batting is OK I suppose, and getting better. I still need to work on switching my concentration on and off from ball to ball, and I'm still not quite sure what to think about when I'm padded up waiting to go in. The butterflies as I approach the middle are gradually diminishing, so I seem to be doing something right.

As for the actual business of running, I'm not the fastest but I can't seem to remember a time when I wasn't fast enough. I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to be doing in terms of backing up but I try my best. One big flaw for me is calling - like many other things with my batting it's just not instinctive enough and I can't seem to get the process clear in my mind when I'm actually in the middle. I know what I'm supposed to do, it's just a case of, again, getting more experience so I do it without having to think about it first. I also need to be more decisive, but that's probably more of a confidence thing.

Finally a word about my kit, just for the sake of completeness. I think everything I've bought has done the job pretty well, I've looked after it and where things have got in the way I've got my hands on something better. I always follow a policy of not allowing my kit to be a cause of excuses, and with the possible exception of needing some lighter pads I think everything in my kitbag is very much up to the job and looks the part. At some point it would be nice to get a better quality bat, but at the moment my performances just don't justify the financial outlay. I'll save it for when I've put a decent score on the board.

So where do I want to be next May? At least until winter nets start up in February I'm pretty limited in the things I can work on. My balance is pretty poor so that would be one thing to develop, and it would be good to get my body used to playing all the orthodox shots with good form and balance, even if the connection between the shot and the delivery have to be established later. There's probably quite a lot to be done in terms of flexibility and strength, but I'll speak more about that when I come to consider my bowling.

Technique: 2/10
Results: 2/10
Application: 6/10
Mindset: 8/10
TOTAL: 18/40


Max said...

I enjoyed reading that. I am also in my 4ths and some very similar stuff about my batting too. I too can not pick up length very well at the moment. I was in the best form I have ever been in just over a month ago but now I have lost it without making the most of it (it has also been hampered due to many games being called off due to poor weather).

I am an all-rounder, either open the bowling or bowl first change, and over the past month have lost my bowling. At the moment I believe there is pressure on me to retain my spot in the side but at least with how my club is set up and its relationships with clubs in lower competitions I will still get game time to try and get me back into form.

Good luck to you for your cricket season and seasons to come, I'm sure, if it hasn't happened already, that you will get a big score.

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