Sunday, 10 March 2013

Take 2

After a couple of weeks off while my toe recovered I restarted my pre-season preparations about a month ago and while no one session was worth blogging about I thought I'd briefly write up what's been happening.

As for the toe, the swelling has mainly gone and once some of the goo had found a way out of the side of the toenail it's stopped being painful. I can't be quite sure yet how damaged the nail is but at present it doesn't look like falling out, although it is a rather repulsive shade of purple and will be so for a long while yet until it grows out.

I've had three net sessions since I returned to action, and the first two were very promising indeed. The toe didn't cause me any problems and I was bowling well with good form, a slightly faster and flatter trajectory, good spin and turn and above all a good shape. I've been attempting to incorporate a few technical elements into my action, fiddly little things like the way my toes are pointed and how I rotate my torso, and it seems to be working really well. If I can bowl like this all season and get some good solo practise in the next few months I should have a bumper year, as I can say without too much equivocation these two sessions constitute some of the best bowling I've ever done.

Sadly last weekend the damnedest thing happened - I lost the feel. I don't know how to describe it other than that. After two weeks of reasonably accurate and very satisfying bowling, with plenty of wicket chances, this time I simply couldn't get the ball to the end of the net. It speared off to the left, landed at my feet, flew up too high, in short it went everywhere except where I was aiming. Not a single ball I bowled provided the batsmen with any useful practise, and I gradually worked through every technical aspect I could think of - I was doing everything right, just the same as I had the previous two weeks. After half an hour the ball fell out of my hand in that unmistakable trajectory that places the ball right on top of the roof of the net (and it's a pretty high net). To be honest it was a merciful release as I wasn't getting anywhere.

It's unfathomable though, how can it go so wrong so quickly? Not a single ball I bowled felt right coming out of the hand, but from my toes up to my wrist everything was happening as it should. Something was going wrong in my hand and there was simply nothing I could think of that changed it. Maybe I was a little tired after staying up to listen to the Test match, and maybe it was a bit cold, but overall I think the best I can do is stick this experience in the file marked "anomalies best forgotten". I only post it here in case one of my readers has had a similar experience and knows of some sort of fix.

Meanwhile I've been coaching the juniors every week and I'm beginning to really enjoy it. The group I've got are quite young, roughly aged 6-8, and they do present certain challenges, but unlike the teenagers I was looking after last year they're challenges that a simple and straightforward and the kids are very compliant in my attempts to overcome them. Their main issues are a tendency to chuck the ball when bowling and the widespread preference amongst youngster to play everything with a pull shot. Nothing I can't handle, and Phil and me are making a good team.

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