There are many parts of the game that young players take time to develop.

Most of the time these area’s are developed and honed over years of making mistakes and re learning or planning to get the desired result they want.

These could be developing batting plans, honing your bowling skills, or developing the mental side of the game.

Another crucial one that we see many players take time to develop is their ability to set fields and plans around their bowling.

It’s a critical part of the game, especially in white ball limited overs cricket, which is a big chunk of the cricket that is played through youth levels and lower levels of senior cricket.

So sitting back lets see what effect having the wrong plan could have on your bowling and team performance.

Easy Runs - Batters having less pressure to score can ultimately effect how many runs you will have to chase. As simple as taking 1 run an over extra can lead to chasing an extra 50 runs.

No reward for effort - Missed opportunities by having fielders in the wrong places!

Pressure Release - Not creating pressure on the batsmen and making it hard for them.

Conflict - The result of the above area’s for you can then potentially cause conflict within the team and harm the direction and cohesion that the team has in that particular game.

I know from my perspective playing as an adult, many still don’t get it right all the time. I’m sure you’ve even seen it at the top level on tv!

So in order to help you find this task a little easier we’ve put together a simple 4 question process to practice at training and to use in games to make sure your fields are set much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In our academies our players are heavily involved in developing plans for their fields to batters)

 

1.What Ball Am I Trying To Bowl

The crucial aspect of this is actually think about what the best ball is going to be in this situation.


This may be your stock ball, a Yorker, bouncer, slower ball or whatever it is, but the key is actually taking the time to think about what the best ball you need to bowl at this time.

Too many times have we seen or spoken to players about what they are trying to bowl and many of the times they don’t think of anything!


Have a clear plan in your head for each ball to be able to identify what you need to do from there.

PRO TIP: It doesn’t have to always change, nominating the ball you want to bowl before each delivery is just an awareness thing also. It makes sure you completely are planned and prepared to execute.

Once done this, onto the next question..

2. If I Execute That Ball, What Shot Is The Batter Most Likely To Play?

This is more about the line and length you are looking to bowl.

Having a clear and set thought in terms of what shot you are trying to get the batter to play really helps with you visualising and understanding the type of ball you are going to bowl.

Cool? Ok next one..

3. If I Execute And The Batter Plays The Shot I Want, Where Am I Going To Get A Wicket?

Think about the sort of catchers you need to implement in this part.

For example if you are bowling out swingers and you are looking to get the batter to drive the ball straight down the ground, you are most likely going to get Knicks behind the stumps.

This doesn’t mean you have 3 fielders at mid off because you are trying to get them to play a shot there.

The higher probability is going to be that you will get the ball caught behind more than caught at mid off.

To do this effectively you really need to know where your type of bowling most likely gets wickets. See below for a rough guide.

Type of delivery.

Swing The Ball Away From Batter - Most likely caught on the off side. Look to bring catchers behind the wicket.

Swing The Ball In To The Batter - Most likely bowled and LBW’s or caught in front of the wicket.

Spin The Ball Away From The Batter- Batter most likely will hit the ball on the offside.

Spin The Ball In To The Batter - Batter most likely hit the ball on to the leg side.

PRO TIP: Of course you have to take into fact if the ball is swinging/spinning at all, and also the stage of the game you are in. Will you have as many of these fielders/catchers in place later in the innings of one day cricket etc.

4. What Field Setting Can I Use To Encourage A High Risk Shot

This goes hand in hand with no. 3

Try to create some sort of field placing to make sure that the batter has some sort of risk attached to hit that particular gap.

This may look like an area that can contribute or enhance your skillset and your strengths as a bowler.

Or alternatively try to get the batter hitting into an area that they may have as a weekness.

For example:

Your Strengths- Having no cover with a new ball bowling big out swingers. This encourages the batter to drive.

As a bowler bowling good lengths swinging it away, it’s going to be very tough to score and may encourage them to play into your strengths.

Batters Weakness - The batter may be really strong on the leg side, so as a result bowlers may plug a lot of gaps on the off and bowl tight lines.

From the batters perspective now that means they may have to take more high risks and play across the line to score in the middle overs of the innings.

As you can see from here, if you can look to put these 4 questions into process while you are bowling, it will make setting fields much easier.

The final piece to the puzzle is as a coach or captain, we should be able to see what field you have set and know automatically what type of ball you are bowling and the line and length of it.

Some may say this is being predictable, but from a bowlers perspective it doesn’t matter.

Building pressure is going to get you more wickets, not having sneaky little field placings that the batter didn’t know about.

It’s still hard to score off good balls, being predictable doesn’t mean they can still execute the shot better than you.

That’s the key issue, nailing your ball and having the fields to benefit from them.

Enjoy and good luck!

Written By Joel Hamilton ACI Co Founder

Being able to execute a bouncer is a crucial skill for fast bowlers. What does a good bouncer do?

It can intimidate the batsmen, it can push the batsmen back on their feet, it can take wickets, it can set up a batsman.

All of these are true but the simple fact is, that being able to bowl a good bouncer makes you a better fast bowler.

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Simple keys to bowling a better bouncer...

  • Don’t try and bowl it too fast. Use your same action speed and tempo but release the ball later. You must have a good bowling technique to bowl a good bouncer.
  • Keep your run up the same speed - maybe a touch faster for some.
  • Remember to take your momentum towards your target, run up, jump, follow through. You want to bowl your bouncer straight at the batsman – not wide.

Now I know what some of you young players are thinking; “I’m too slow to bowl a bouncer,” “I’m not tall enough to bowl a bouncer.” These are true for some young players but it is important to still understand the concept of a bouncer and work towards bowling one as you grow older and stronger.

For those players who believe they're too small or too slow, here are some things you can do while you're waiting to develop!

  • Bowl a bouncer anyway. Practice it. This will help you understand the feeling of letting the ball go later. It can also be very beneficial for your bowling action.
  • Bowl bouncers in the backyard. This will help you understand the way it can intimidate and push back a batsman, making a full pitched ball more dangerous.
  • WATCH CRICKET! Watching cricket is extremely beneficial for young players. Watch the best bowlers bowl bouncers.

Some of you are starting to grow up bigger and stronger and you are noticing your bowling pace has increased and you are more confident executing a bouncer. GREAT NEWS!

Yes, it can be the age that the bigger you are the faster you bowl and the scarier you are but not always. For the smaller players at this stage – Don’t give up! You can bowl a bouncer and you can be a world class fast bowler even if you aren’t 6 foot 5…… remember Dale Steyn?

For the tall members of this development stage.

  • Bowl your bouncer but don’t overdo it just because you’re bigger than everyone else.
  • Remember good skills such as consistent areas and swing bowling are going to get you more wickets than your bouncer so they need to be prioritised.
  • Don’t neglect your field placings. If you're comfortable bowling bouncers make sure your field is set in place. This could mean fielders in catching positions or defending boundaries.

For all the smaller fast bowlers at this development stage.

  • Good consistent line and length is going to get you further than a bowler who sprays it everywhere but can bowl a good bouncer!
  • Keep practicing your bouncer – You’re going to grow soon! when you get bigger and stronger you will have the foundation.

For those who are further on in their physical and cricket development, these are some things you can think about.

  • Using your bouncer more against opposition batsman who can’t play it well. Attacking their weakness is a great wicket taking option.
  • Using your bouncer less to opposition batsman who play it very well and like it. Don’t give them their scoring shot, ask them to score in other ways.
  • Field placements are KEY when bowling a bouncer. Think about where your field needs to be when executing your bouncer. Both attacking fields and defensive fields or a mixture.

Good luck! Remember everyone can bowl a bouncer.

Get in and have a go.

Author - James Bazley: ACI Coach

 

Your ability to read a batsmen and identify flaws in their game and technique is critical in enabling you to develop effective plans to that batsman.

Is it solely the bowlers job to read batsmen?

Of course not. It’s a combined effort between bowler, keeper, captain, coach and fielders.

Here are six technical errors, how to spot them in batsmen and what line and length is best to bowl if you identify a batsmen with the error.

     

1. CLOSED GRIP

A closed give is a deficiency in the way a batsman holds the bat.

IDENTIFY

There’s a couple of things to look out for here…

Firstly, where the batsman’s bottom hand is on the bat. If they have a closed grip their bottom hand will be right around on the handle.

Picture when you pick up a bat - ideally you want to line the V’s between our thumb and forefinger up somewhere down the outside half of the bat.

If a batsman has a closed grip their bottom hand will slide around towards them and their V will be aligned somewhere down the inside half of the bat.

The second thing to look for is where the face of their bat is in their back lift.

With a standard grip the face of the bat should point out to the offside somewhere between 2nd slip and point.

With a closed grip the face of their bat will point to the ground, back at the keeper or even slightly to leg stump.

HOW TO BOWL

Players with a closed grip a generally bottom hand dominant and because of the angle of their bat they’re stronger through the leg side.

They generally find it difficult to hit through the off side.

If you bowl a little bit wider outside off stump it’s going to make it very difficult for them to score and create a lot of pressure.

2. LUNGING ON FRONT FOOT

This is when a batsman commits to a big step onto the front foot towards the off side before you have released the ball.

IDENTIFY

Obviously a reasonably easy one to spot.

You’ll be able to see it in your delivery strip but make sure your keeper and slips are on the ball too.

If they’re taking a big stride before you release the ball then you’ve got yourself a candidate.

HOW TO BOWL

Batsmen that do this are a big chance of getting trapped in front (LBW). Once they commit to the front foot it’s very hard to move it and their front pad can get in the way to straighter balls.

If they’ve just come in, set a straight field - give yourself some protection on the leg side and bowl a little bit straighter. You’re a big chance of pinning them early before they get their eye in.

If they’re set when you come on to bowl, I normally like to try and set them up. My plan would be to drag their front foot further and further across their stumps and then spear one in a bit quicker.

The over would look something like this…

4th stump 85% pace, 5th stump 85% pace, 5th stump 85% pace, 6th stump 80% pace, middle/off stump 100% pace - (hopefully wicket)!

That’s a very simple example but hopefully you get what I’m saying there.

The other option (only if you’re quick enough) is to bowl short - because they’re lunging on the front foot they’ll have less time to play the ball and can get in a tangle against short balls.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

3. WEIGHT BACK - HALF STEP FORWARD

On the flip side - you’ll come across batsman that hang right back and only take small steps forward.

IDENTIFY

Again, pretty simple…if they bat deeper in their crease and don’t commit their weight forward to full balls you’ve got yourself a back foot player.

There’s two reasons batsmen do this…

  1. They’re timid and have a fear of short balls.
  2. They’re really strong square of the wicket and are sweating on short balls.

HOW TO BOWL

If you think it’s because they’re timid you can bowl aggressively at them.

Bowl a shorter length, push them right back in their crease and then bowl the odd full ball trying to get knicks, bowled’s & lbw’s.

If it’s because they’re really strong square of the wicket they generally won’t hurt you down the ground so you can bowl a fuller length.

Take their strength away from them and get them driving the ball.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

4. FRONT FOOT STRAIGHT DOWN WICKET

IDENTIFY

This is when a batsman takes a step straight down the line of middle stump to a full ball no matter what the line of the ball is.

Take notice when they first come in where their foot goes to fuller balls outside off stump.

If it’s always straight down the wicket then you might have yourself a ‘knicker’

HOW TO BOWL

If their foot is going straight down the wicket then they’ll likely be stronger to straighter balls. If the ball is a little bit outside off they’ll be playing the ball outside their eye line and their hand will be going away from their body.

Don’t bowl too wide but if you’re consistently around 4th-6th stump line you’ll be a big chance of getting a knick.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

5. BACK LIFT TO FINE LEG

IDENTIFY

Ideally a batsman back lift should go somewhere between 1st-3rd slip. Any wider and they’ll be chopping in on the ball.

What we’re looking for is when the batsman’s back lift goes behind their body and points to fine leg.

HOW TO BOWL

If their back lift is pointing to fine leg it generally means their shoulders will be aligned to the off side as well.

This puts them in a great position to hit cover drives. Anything outside the off stump they’ll generally smoke!

Anything straight they’re in a very vulnerable position for.

If you picture it they kind of have to swing their bat in a semi circle to get it around to access the leg side.

Bowl straighter - middle/off stump line and you’re a big chance of an LBW.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

6. HEAD FALLING TO OFF SIDE

IDENTIFY

This is a really common one and happens in a sequence - like dominoes!

It looks like this - hands go away from body in back lift to gully/point > head follows to the off side > front foot follows across to off stump a a balancing mechanism.

This means all of their weight is going to the off side.

HOW TO BOWL

Again, the position they get themselves into really lends itself to hitting through the offside.

Anything just outside off stump or wider they’re going to feel really comfortable with.

Where they won’t feel so comfortable is anything on the stumps.

With the position their hands are in and their weight planting their front foot on the off stump they’re going to find it very difficulty to hit straight and will have to play across the line to straighter balls.

This means you’re a massive chance of an LBW!

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

 

I hope that helps you identify some possible errors in batsmen you’re bowling to as well as develop some plans.

Remember these a general plans that I’ve found work to MOST batsman.

Every batsman is different and may eat up the bowling plan I’ve suggested, you’ll have to use your game awareness and try to identify where a batsman might struggle.

Good luck and as always would love to hear any that’t you’ve picked up along the way that I haven’t mentioned.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

ACI Co Founder & Coach

You can all probably think of at least one player you hate having a net with for one reason or another…

Don’t be that person!

This guide will help you become a better teammate in the nets.

1. THROW THE BALL BACK TO THE BOWLER

When a bowler is putting in the effort to bowl to you and give you a quality practice, show them the respect of picking the ball up and throwing it back to them on the full.

It’s so rude and disrespectful to kick or hit the ball back to the bowler along the ground, or worse still, make them come and get it when it’s in your half.

It’s almost like kicking something to your Mums feet when she asks you to pick it up - don’t do it!

2. DON’T ALWAYS TRY TO HIT THE LAST BALL FOR SIX

For some reason I think this is one of the most common habits in cricket.

Batsmen always seem to think the ‘last ball’ call is a signal to tee off and launch the ball as far as you can.

Firstly, what you’re doing here is training your brain to switch off and relax. More often than not you’re finishing your net session either shanking one or getting out.

Secondly, it really annoys bowlers (especially if they have to go and fetch it) and your coach won’t be impressed either.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve been practicing finishing off an innings and power hitting go for it.

But don’t all of a sudden go from tempo one to temp three in one ball.

3. BOWL PROPERLY AT THE END OF THE SESSION

Disclaimer: Bowl properly for the whole sessions - if you’re completely cooked hand the ball to someone else.

 You might be tired but make sure you give the last couple of sets of batsmen a quality hit.

They’ve probably put in the effort to give you a good hit. Too many bowlers switch off and muck around at the end of a session (even starting bowling something they don’t usually).

Use the end of a session to practice executing under fatigue. It’ll help you, it’ll help the batsmen and it’ll help your team.

4. DON’T WALK THROUGH THE BOWLERS RUN UP

It amazes me how many people just cut through a bowlers run up without looking.

There is nothing more annoying for a quick than being cut off half way through a run up by a space cadet cruising back to the kit bags.

Have some awareness and walk behind the bowlers run ups.

5. REMEMBER THE BOWLING ORDER

This goes two ways.

Don’t over bowl and don’t under bowl.

Don’t be the player that keeps slotting in out of turn, remember the bowling order and stick to it so everyone gets enough volume in.

Spinners, towards the end of a session or if you’re short on bowlers ask the quicks if they would like you to split them. Meaning you bowl every second ball. This often works well if you’ve got a spinner and two quicks in a net.

6. DON’T BOWL 2FT NO BALLS & EXCESSIVE BOUNCERS

Unless the batsman asks you to bowl over the line to sharpen their reaction time, make sure your foot is behind the line.

It doesn’t help your game either and creates bad habits that will lead into a game.

Bowling the odd bouncer is fine and encouraged (they’re going to get them in a game). But don’t over do it, especially if you’re on concrete.

It’s easy to get carried away on concrete and think you’re quicker than you are.

If you’re bowling excessive bouncers from 2ft over the line the batsman is going to get into bad habits and you’re going to get a false sense of security (and get met on the weekend when you bowl short).

Have a great season in the nets!

Would love to hear what you would add to the “Netiquette” list - drop a comment below or shoot me an email on [email protected]

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

Australian Cricket Institute Co Founder & Coach

In Australia, thousands and thousands of eager cricketers have either just begun or are about to embark on another summer of Cricket.

 

One time of the year that many have been preparing for over many, many months.

 

I don’t know about you but I always seem to spend this time of year in the lead up to the season constantly thinking about how well I’m going to start my season.

 

Thoughts start to creep in…

 

Have I done enough?

 

Am I fully prepared?

 

For the most part, yes, yes you all are, it’s just some nervous energy wanting to get out there any finally play!

 

I’ve come up with a little check list that has served some great purpose over the last few years with our academy members.


These area’s of the game are something that we place great emphasis on not only throughout the pre season, but also in the lead up to round 1.

 

Using these as a checklist really helps a lot of players feel they are fully confident to hit the ground running.

1. Understand what your particular strength is as a batter and bowler.

 

This is a very important aspect.

 

I find that many emerging players aren’t overly clear in what they can define their strengths as.

 

Such a critical part of your game and something that is not really necessarily clear to many.

 

Understanding what you do well as a batter or bowler is the key to batting long periods and scoring consistent runs or bowling good spells and taking lots of wickets.

 

Knowing your a good leaver, or you play well straight, or spin bowling is your strength.

 


Or as a bowler, is your strength your consistency?

 


Or maybe it’s your pace and bounce?

 

All these cues are imperative to know so that you can base your game around these.

 

When you become under pressure in a game or you find a tough period during the game, resort to these to get you through.

 

Strip your game right back and do what you do really well to get you through to the other side, because that other side is mostly very rewarding.

2. Have clear plans in place.

 

FOR BATTERS

 

Having a clear and identified plan in place for each particular scenario or type of bowler is a great way to maintain your consistency throughout your innings.

 

Try setting up area’s you feel confident to score against good bowling of different types.

 

For example, where you should look to score against a right arm out swing bowler compared to a right arm off spin bowler are completely different.

 

Knowing that you probably shouldn’t be looking to drive a good length ball through cover against and out swing bowler, or close the face and hit through the leg side too much against a right arm leggy.

 

( A regular part of our programs see's players hone down on their strength's and use them to their best ability)

 

FOR BOWLERS

 

Understanding the sorts of fields you would have depending on the situation of the game or the type of batter you may face.

 

What sort of shots are you trying to get the batsmen to play early with the new ball?


Or how many sweepers and what sort of angles can you create as a spin bowler to entice the batter to take some high level risks against your good consistent bowling.

 

** TIP

See how I’ve mentioned against good consistent bowling... It’s important to understand that you need to be able to bowl that consistent length for these to work, or alternatively as a batter, these are sorts of shots against good bowling where you become under pressure.

 

It’s really important that in the lead up to your start of the season that you take the time out to actually sit down and make sure that you have these plans down pat.

 

Obviously you don’t have to be planned down to the ball. As we know, the game changes so much so fast, and as a player you need to be able to adapt, but I feel having a starting point and adjusting from there during the game you are going to feel much more in control when the nerves set in out in the middle.

 

3. Have your goals set out for you to reference.

 

Many of you would have your set goals for the year.

 

Great!

 

Now it’s time to actually put them down in writing.

 

It’s so important to have these as reference point.

 

Many people once they have written down something or verbalised it to people, feel much more obliged to carry it out.

 

It’s also a great place for you to gain motivation. You should really sit there and look at your goals and feel pumped about the season!

 

It’s just another way to ensure that you are in a positive state of mind throughout the year.

 

 

(If you haven’t done so already, check out our goal setting template we’ve got for you for free. Click here! )

 

4. Create a weekly process out of your goals

 

Something that many really great and successful people do is start to split down their goals into a weekly process.

 

In order to become consistent &  successful you need to have a measure on what you are doing to get you through to that end result.

 

I’m  sure you’ve heard us or other people reference or talk about the compound affect?

 

Many small improvements over a long period of time brings great change!

 

Now is a great time to set some standards or non negotiables around what you do at training to continue to improve any of the area’s you’ve been working on.

 

Want to take 35 wickets for the year as your goal?

 

Well for that you need to be consistent and fit enough to bowl, so it could be part of your training routine to bowl 12 balls at a target throughout each bowling session and measure how successful you are.

 

Little things like these go a long way to continuing that improvement you have worked so hard for in the pre season.

 

5. Have a process to measure you effectiveness at training

 

A lot of players seem to take the foot off the gas once they get into the grind of regular season.

 

We understand that obviously you may switch your training a little bit in terms of more bat vs ball stuff and not focusing on just yourself as much.

 

However what we don’t want is for players to loose the relevance in their training.


A simple way for this to not happen is find a way to review your training and performance after games.

 

This then lets you understand what you really need to focus your energies on that week, but also means you can spend less time on each area and still great greater results.

 

Many players spend too much time doing irrelevant tasks at training.

 

It’s not about how much you do necessarily, but the quality of what you do.

 

If you can manage to train with such purpose and use the 2 hours (or less ) time each session you have, you are still going to get a great deal of value out of your training.

 

Remember this transition from pre season into the regular season is a very important time.

 

Have the confidence in your preparation and just go out and enjoy the game.


If you can put some of these practices into your training and time leading up into the games you start playing I guarantee you will taste success!

 

Good luck for the upcoming season and enjoy yourself  above all!

 

WRITTEN BY JOEL HAMILTON - ACI CO FOUNDER AND COACH