A perfect out swinger is one of the most beautiful deliveries to watch in cricket and there’s not too many batsmen in the world that enjoy facing them.

The ability to swing the ball away at pace is a highly sought after skill from coaches, captains & selectors.

There are different ‘types’ of swing - new ball swing, old ball swing and reverse swing.

They all require a few little tweaks in terms of what makes the ball swing and how to swing the ball.

Here’s a few tips to help you bowl the perfect outie with a new ball.

 

1. GRIP

Angle the seam to 1st or 2nd slip. Your middle and forefinger will be going slightly across the seam.

Have your thumb resting on the left side of the seam (for right hand bowler - switch it for left).

The science behind this is the seam acts as a ‘rudder’ and by angling it to the slips it allows the air to catch in the right groove of the seam and ‘steer’ it away from the batsman.

2. RUN UP

Take two steps to your left (right if you’re a lefty)  at the top of your mark and angle your run up in towards the batsman.

Two reasons…

It allows you to keep your ‘shape’. You can keep your action the same, start the ball on leg stump and swing it away which makes the batsman play more often.

If you run in too straight you’ll find that you swing it when you start the ball on or outside off stump which makes it easy for the batsman to leave but as soon as you try to start it on or outside leg to compensate for the swing it goes straight. That’s because you actually have to change your wrist position (and we’ll get to that in a moment) to get the ball on leg stump line.

The second reason is that the angle in towards the batsmen actually creates an illusion that the ball is straighter than it is and makes the batsman think they have to play even if they don’t. So you’ll get them playing at (and knicking) balls just outside the off stump.

3. RELEASE POINT

Release the ball from slightly wider (arm further away from your ear).

There’s a fine line here because if you release the ball too wide and become round arm you actually won’t be able to keep the seam upright because you’ll cut down on the ball which means you won’t swing the ball at all.

Mitchell Johnson was a classic example of this - he often tread the fine line.

When his release point got too low he didn’t swing it and didn’t get his usual pace and bounce because the seam was scattered.

When he got his release point just right he was lethal.

Releasing the ball from slightly wider helps with your wrist position, which I’ll speak about now.

4. WRIST POSITION

Angle your wrist towards 1st or 2nd slip.

This obviously supports your angled grip and helps the ball come out of the hand in the position it needs to be to catch the air and cause drag to the off side.

You can do simple little wrist drills - flicking the ball to a partner using only your wrist - to practice getting your wrist in the correct position.

Check out our Swing Bowling Masterclass if you don’t know what I mean there.

5. SEAM

This one is pretty obvious.

You must keep the seam upright. If the seam is scattered the ball will not swing (and you’ll ruin the ball quickly).

Practice staying ‘long on the ball’ - keeping your fingers on the ball as long as possible and rolling them down the back of the ball rather than cutting down on it.

Imagine trying to get the ball to spin directly backwards.

6. LINE & LENGTH

Finally, your line and length is critical.

There is nothing worse that watching 5-6 beautiful outies sail through to the keepers gloves without posing a question to the batsman.

Batsman want to leave as many as they can when the ball is swinging. We want to make them play as many as we can! Bowl straighter.

What shot are you most likely to get a wicket with if the ball is swinging away?

Hopefully you said a drive. That means you need to bowl fuller. I don't mean bowl powder puff half volleys, we still want to hit the deck but make sure your length gives the batsman the opportunity to drive.

Yes you may go for a few more runs bowling fuller and straighter - but your job is to take wickets with the new ball.

I'd rather you take 3/25 off  8 overs bowling fuller and straighter than 0/6 off 8.

Over to you!

I hope that helps you to start carving out some magical outies.

If you’ve got any tips you’ve heard outside of the above that have really helped your outie I’d love to hear them.

I’m an outie nuffy!

Flick them through to nick@australiancricketinstitute.com

If you'd like to learn a bit more about swing bowling and some drills you can use to improve, check out our Swing Bowling Masterclass

It's a video training series with tips and drills to improve your swing bowling.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

ACI Co Founder & Coach

Confidence in your abilities is key to performing consistently.

I’m sure you’ve seen it in other aspects of life before, and I don’t want to mistake arrogance with confidence.

Being confident means you are happy to perform the skill, and know you will execute it well.

When you are confident you have no issues with it. You are comfortable and happy to be doing it.

The problem arises when there is little confidence in the task at hand.People are more apprehensive and not willing to do it due to the consequences that may result in a sub standard effort.

More so, I think it’s what other people will think and judge you on which makes things harder if you are not confident in performing that particular skill.

Over time seeing many, many young players evolve and develop their skills, we’ve managed to underline a few key areas where we feel if these are done correctly will help foster that increase in confidence.

A lot of feedback we find parents giving us is that the biggest change is their consistency and confidence in what they are doing...

“He just feels much more confident and looks happy and confident being out there” or “she’s increased her levels of confidence so much”.

As you can see these areas are vital for many players to gain that confidence to play the way that they need to. We’ve provided 5 key steps to becoming a positive cricketing parent.

So what are these 5 Steps?

1. Enable/Encourage Mistakes

This is referencing more about the environment at training or at home. We find that one of the major factors is that many players are so afraid to make mistakes they often really hold off on expressing themselves or playing the game on their strengths.

One thing we speak about is creating an environment where they understand it’s ok to make mistakes, as long as they learn from it.

We want players to have the confidence to make these errors but it’s then the time after reflecting and dissecting what happened which is vital.

Having that weight off their shoulders is massive. They tend to go from " I don't want to stuff this up!" to "Let's have a crack and see what happens!" A total reversal in their psyche and body language.

 

 

2. Place Minimal Pressure

I think a major part of the whole confidence to perform is the thought of letting people down and stuffing up.

A major area that we place on our programs is highlighting the enjoyment factor and doing it to have fun.

Placing pressure on players can be a huge influence on their confidence levels.

The idea of going out and trusting their preparation places less pressure on them to perform and emphasises the need to have fun and enjoy what you are doing more so than the result that is going to take place.

3. Don’t Think About The Outcome - Be Process Orientated

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the whole process orientated way of thinking.

The idea of taking your focus away from the result, and focusing more on the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve that desired outcome.

A big factor in this is getting young players to place emphasis on plans at training and identifying a focus on what they want to work on/improve.

All of a sudden from this, they take their focus away from the big result “scoring runs or taking wickets” and now set themselves up to succeed on the smaller side of things that all culminate into the end result.

For example, focusing on executing a delivery or a particular way of scoring or making positive decisions. Rather than the emphasis on scoring a 50 or taking as many wickets as possible, the focus is switched to the process of doing this.

Take away that pressure or importance of scoring a 50 or you have to take wickets today or we will loose mentality. Replace that with what do you need to do well over and over again today and focus yours and their energy on that.

4. Find The Right Time To Give Feedback

Another tough part of this is when giving feedback. I see a lot of parents asking us about the right time to evaluate their children's performance.

I think the time to give feedback is when emotion is not as raw and fresh.

Try to refrain from speaking to them straight away as they’ve come off the field or when they come up and get a drink.

Find a time when emotions are less raw and the event isn’t as fresh to then ask if they would be comfortable to chat.

Ian Renshaw spoke about the time that he speaks to Matt Renshaw about his performance in a recent interview with cricket.com.au

Ian spoke to Cricket Australia writer Adam Burnett that he established his own ground rules. He would keep his distance immediately after Matt was dismissed, and he wouldn't try to tell him anything.

Instead, when he sensed the time was right, he would gently pose some questions, and allow the steps towards a solution to unfurl. (Read the full article here) 

 

 

5. Choose The Tone You Lead In With

I think one thing that really does set out the standards and the mindset that young players get in once they have come off the field is the tone or the way that the feedback is delivered.

As we mentioned, picking the correct time is so important, but it’s also how you guide the conversation and the tone that you set when you start it.

It really pays to be open and non judgemental. Many young players find it hard and are overcome with emotions when parents are the ones giving feedback.

I’m sure you’ve either experienced it yourself or you’ve heard you fellow parent friends say “oh I’ve said that many times, but they don’t listen to me!”.

The tone of the conversation and what you actually ask is vital here. Don’t just come to judgement straight away.

With playing cricket there are many ways to play the game, many different techniques that get the same desired results.

We find that because you yourself wouldn’t do it that way in particular, then the thought is automatically it’s incorrect.

Instead of that thinking, ask many open ended questions and see if you can find the meaning behind what they did...

Did they have a plan? Can they justify what they did? If they can that’s great! It’s just the execution that has to be worked on. If not and they had no plan, that’s cool, it’s something you can start to implement when they are training.

But the key to this is how you approach it and the language and tone that you use. As I’m sure all parents are aware in everyday life, the way you say things will evoke a certain reaction.

These factors can provide a framework to understanding how to create an environment that builds much more stronger and confident cricketers.

Of course, not only these, but we find these 5 hold significant weight to creating that level for players to come out of their shell and stop living in the fear of failure.

Many players have the ability to perform consistently to a level that is above theirs currently.

It’s all about shaping that and providing an environment and training habits that encourage players to be free and back their strengths to get the job done.

The more confidence people have in their ability and plan, the easier the game gets.

 

Author: Joel Hamilton - ACI Co - Founder & Coach

 

 

In 2018 we were lucky enough to have young Queensland batsmen Sam Heazlett join us in one of our live online training sessions with our academy members, here's a little bit of what we spoke about with Sam.

 

Q: Tell us about your journey so far, as a junior and then where you’ve gotten to today.

 

My cricketing career started at Alex Hills Junior Cricket Club, just down the road from where I live and played bit of Milo Cricket down there and loved it. Then started playing in the u10’s and worked my way up through there.

 

Played club cricket all the way through, my school didn’t play cricket so was just club for me. Played a lot of other sports growing up, I loved just competing in anything really and got to an age (14 or 15) and really though I should probably choose what sport I should focus on, I played a lot of Rugby League as well and they sort of overlapped a bit there in the winter and summer.

 

I then continued on to play senior cricket for the Redlands Tigers where I still play today and made my way through there and was lucky enough to get picked in some rep sides like the Met East and other rep teams in the area’s. Loved that, had a great time with my mates. I had seasons where I didn’t score many runs, and then season’s when I did, that’s cricket and I guess the last few years had gone very fast. I got selected in the Australian under 19’s team after my Queensland U19 carnival and I guess it all ready started from there.

 

After having a good series against England U19’s I was awarded a Rookie contract with the Queensland Bulls. That was great that I was going to be able to train and play cricket full time, not really expecting to play many games, but would be great if I did and that was in 2017 where I was selected in the second shield game of the season and was lucky enough to take the opportunity and perform well which cemented my spot in the team for a little bit longer.

 

I then played a bit of big bash cricket that year as well which was awesome to play a few games in. This is my second year of shield cricket (2018) and also with the Heat in the Big Bash and yea like you mentioned to be selected in that Australian Squad and be in that group with the different coaching staff they have there it was a great experience. It is a similar set up to what the state systems have, but just a different bunch of people to learn off was really good.

 

Q:You’ve certainly had a massive couple of years, and you certainly had taken the Shield and Big Bash competitions by storm, did you think you were a sniff for getting picked for Australia?

 

I wasn’t expecting it at all, not really. I Guess the fact that the Indian tour was on soon and a couple of players had gone to Dubai to prepare for that and Steve Smith had got injured in the Pakistan One Day Series.I was just down at my local cricket club doing some cricket coaching  and got a call from the National selector saying I was going to New Zealand the next day!

 

That was a surprise but I was definitely stoked to hear it. Obviously back in state cricket now and just looking to score as many runs as I can and see what happens from there.

 

Q:Yea nice, now in terms of when you were growing up, one of our philosophies here is to sort of follow in the right footsteps, so find mentors or coaches I guess that have achieved what you want to achieve and learn from them. Who were some of the mentors that have played a role in your cricket growing up?

 

Yea well I guess I’ve had a lot of mentors.It’s going to be hard to mention all of them but when I started under 10’s cricket I was coached by a bloke called Bryan Briggs who was a grade cricketer himself and I was playing with his son Grant at the time so I was lucky that things fell into line and I had a good coach in Brian at a young age.

 

Over the years I’ve had a lot of good coaches. Blair Copeland who is the Head Of Cricket at Gregory Terrace in Brisbane has done a lot of work with me recently and all the other coaches at Queensland Cricket, obviously a lot of high level coaches there. Other coaches at Cricket Australia and the National Performance Squad who have really changed my game for the better.

 

You hear a lot of things from coaches and you need to try it all but individually you have to find what works and what doesn’t.

 

Q:Growing up as a Youngster what were your training habits? And how have they evolved and increased to where they are now?

 

Yea I guess as a younger player it was just about having fun and just going to the nets and hitting and bowling a cricket ball, having a love of the game. I still do that now and do love it, but I guess I have a bit more of a focus.

 


It’s really important to go into a session with a focus, something technical that I might be working on, or mentally how to approach the session or trying different tactics against different bowlers. If I’m coming up against an off spinner next match I’ll try and face as much off spin as I can rather than leg spin to prepare for that match.

 

Obviously I train a lot more now which includes gym and running and spreads into other disciplines like that.

 

Q:Like you’ve said earlier it’s happened pretty quickly for you, you’ve gone up and played different levels fairly quickly. Say from junior cricket to senior cricket and from your rep junior stuff right through to state and international cricket, what’s the step up been like and what are things you’ve noticed stepping up the next level?

 

Yea I guess it is fairly gradual at each step of the way. Each step I’ve sought of thought to myself “alright, when am I going to get to the next level ?” and I really wanted to get to the next level, but I kept thinking to myself “ there’s so many people ahead of me in the pecking order. There’s this person, and this person etc. they are going to get selected before me, they are more experienced than me and will get selected next” I guess my advice is it’s not as far away as you think if you just enjoy it and do your best. Don’t worry about selection too much, worry about what you can control then things will happen and you’ll get the opportunity.

 

I guess the biggest jump is going from junior cricket to senior grade cricket, where you are playing against people your own age  compared to playing against older men who are experience and have that strength who may be able to bowl a little faster or get more bounce or hit the ball harder without the same technique that I may have played against in junior cricket. Yea that was probably the biggest step up.

 

Q:What about mentally, are they a little more aggressive on the field as well?

 

Yea I guess you experience different challenges on the field with that extra pressure of getting into your head. I think when you get up the next level you want to prove yourself again. There are a few guys I’ve not seen and others that haven’t seen me play so I had to sort of prove that I can perform well and have to show them how good I am. That can be that extra pressure as well, especially if you don’t believe that you should be there, it’s a big confidence thing cricket, and if you get there and think maybe I’m not good enough or maybe I’m a bit underdone and that’s going to negatively affect your performance. Have that confidence and I think that I’ve learnt that every step of the way you’ve just got tell yourself that you are good and you are going to succeed and perform well.

 

Q:Having a look at the mental side of the game, how much of a part do you think that plays on a players success? Being strong mentally?

 

Yea massive!

 

Yea the mental side of things, depends on weather you are talking the confidence side of things or your plan going out to play or approach, but it’s going to affect it a-lot.


I think you’ve got to be well planned…

 

You need to figure out what works best for you. As a batter or bowler your always going to be finding out what works best throughout your whole career, I don’t think any player gets to a point and says “alright this is what works every time” and not change. Especially when conditions change and you are facing different types of bowlers your not used to. Being able to have a plan but also adapt and find new ways to succeed in new challenges and that’s important as well.

 

Q:What about nerves, do you experience nerves and if so, to what extent and how do you deal with it?

 

Yea look I’m nervous every time I go out to play, no matter what level it is. I always want to succeed and do well, I don’t like loosing and getting out.

 

I want to be out in the middle cause that’s where I have the most fun, contributing to a win for the team. I guess you’ve just got to use that nervous energy as best as you can, it’s not a bad thing that you’re nervous, it means you care you want to do your best which is a good thing.

 

If you trust in your practice and training and trust that you’ve done the work and it’s going to work, that’s all that you can do. As a batsman you might get a good ball first ball, jags away and catches the outside of the edge and you are off, but that’s the way cricket is and you’ve just go to have the approach that you can just take each ball as it comes and do your best.

 

Q:What’s been your biggest set back so far since you started playing cricket and how did you deal with that?

 

There’s different ones and different types of setbacks. Not getting selected in teams as a younger player isn’t ideal growing up  you might get disappointed about that but you can’t let it affect you too much.

 


For me it’s injuries that frustrate me the most, I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had many bad injuries. This year I injured myself in the NPS 4 way series against India A, South Africa A and Australia A and the last game I tore my quad, I had a really good carnival up there and was looking good and looking forward to playing the Matador Cup for QLD.

 

I just had a good white ball series and was confident in what I could do and to injure myself in that last game meant I missed about 9 or 10 weeks and missed the Matador Cup which was disappointing but I guess in the future now, I’ve started playing shield cricket again and I also got a chance to represent Australia so I guess in the short term when you have that set back it’s going to have a massive negative affect in every way but in the end if you have a positive attitude it will all work out well.

 

Q:The tactical side of the game. How did you go about improving your tactical side of the game and game awareness?

 

Yea I guess you’ve got to talk to the more experienced guys in your team, people who’ve been there before and have more experience in that part than you. Your coaches, you learn from your coaches in the team.

 


Talk cricket and think about different things. I think just discussing with different team mates, they have a different view on things and if you just speak with them as well.

 

Through junior cricket I was thrown in the deep end a little and made captain of many teams. Even if you are given the opportunity to be captain I guess it can be daunting as you are in control of the field settings and bowling changes and things like that which are going to have an impact on the result of the game. I think you learn pretty fast when you have to experience that. I think being thrown in the deep end like that and having a go is all you can do. Having a crack and having a reason behind your plan or behind what you are doing then that’s all you can do really.

 

Q:How much emphasis do you put on the physical aspect of the game? And did you place much emphasis on it growing up or has it just only really been like that since you’ve been a professional?

 

Yea, definitely I was always very active when I was younger and tried to eat well I thought that was just important for overall health, not just in sport, I just wanted to be healthy. I guess now I feel like it’s important because of injuries, you sit back now and think I just wish I was just that little bit stronger so that didn’t happen.

 

You think I’ve really gotta work hard in area’s that you think you may be deficient, but also to be the best player you can be. If you are that little bit quicker or bit faster you can run between the wickets faster and score more runs that way you can be a better fielder and teams definitely value good fielders.

 

Guys who can take catches and get run outs in the field, I guess if you are stronger you can hit the ball further without putting much effort in or be more controlled in the shots you are playing. As a bowler might be to bowl that little bit faster or bowl with more controlled and bowl more spells.

 

Q:Yea definitely, is there anything physically that you do religiously?

 

Ah, not too much I guess with being in the Qld set up and the Brisbane Heat, a lot of the running and strength sessions are planned out for us with the Sports Scientists and Strength & Conditioning Coaches. We are lucky we have that structure with people who know exactly what to do and how to structure it around games. Obviously you want to be as fresh and you can for the game, but knowing if you’ve got a few days off, a run or gym session is going to help.

 

You have to do things to relax and take your mind off it. I’m studying at Uni, that little bit of uni is a good way to spend my time and take my mind off cricket. I like to go surfing, for me it’s still activity and physical which helps me build up my strength and fitness as well.

 

Q:Is there anything that you change technically between all three formats?

 

Nothing technically in terms of batting stance etc. I change a bit between facing pace and spin, but between the three formats I stay fairly similar. Across the three stages I might change some small things like batting out of the crease or on leg stump. Depends on what the ball is doing, swinging or reverse swinging or spinning a different way. It’s more what’s happening in the game rather than a technical batting stance etc.

 

In terms of my mindset when it comes to the different formats, is slightly different. I have a bit more positive mindset in white ball, but I guess it’s more my plan. My plan to play certain shots, in 4 day cricket my plan is to play more limited shots as you’ve got more time and the red ball moves around more than a white ball will.

 


I still want to make sure I’ve got a positive mindset in the 4 day stuff. If I get a bad ball I’m going to want to put it away as I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity. I think it’s more the plan thinking about the stage of the game and in the nets knowing what the field would be and trying to play that way.

 

Q:What do you do to reflect on how you got out in the game and improve on so it doesn’t happen again and how do you move on?

 

I guess now days I’m lucky enough that I get to have vision that I can look back on after the game. I can go back and have a look at certain things such as my pre ball movement to see if I get that right or my balance and head which I can look at in the vision which is good.

 

When it wasn’t vision, I used to write down what I thought about my dismissal. I might have gone back over my innings and at the start i’d jot down this was my plan, this is what I was looking to do against these bowlers and this is how it worked out. Did it work? Did it not? And also how the innings progressed and all the details of the different bowlers and how I faced them/what was my plan/ how I got out, would this be different the next time and how could I improve etc.

 

Journalling on those innings really helps as you can look back in your season and collate on what did and didn’t work.

 

In terms of moving on, like I said earlier you want to score a hundred every time but it doesn’t usually happen. Often and that’s what makes it so exciting when you do succeed. As a junior when I didn’t perform well I did get down and upset but I guess it’s just about having a positive attitude and thinking that it is going to work next time. Have confidence that what you’ve done at training is going to work. If you do have a bad innings go alright, I’m going to go and train hard this week and enjoy it.

In my opinion, creating a training environment that is as close as possible to the one we experience out in the middle is a critical contributor to the way a player performs but it’s something that’s largely overlooked.

I think it’s an area that cricket can improve dramatically (and is in the process of doing so), not just at junior level but senior level as well.

I’ve picked out 5 really common training behaviours that we see and I’ll explain why the create bad habits in a players game.

 

 

1. TOO MUCH WORK ON THE BOWLING MACHINE

This is is a big one…

It happens at team/group training sessions as well but I think a big contributor to this one is the huge influx we’ve seen in players just getting one-on-one coaching.

One-on-one’s are great for certain things and in limitation, but I think they’re very limited in the things you can do and they don’t allow a player to learn how to compete (that’s another story though.)

Let’s focus on bowling machines.

Some of the bad habits and negative effects of too much time on a bowling machine are…

  • Moving before the ball is released.

Because you generally know where the ball is going to land you tend to start getting into position before the ball is released. Do this in a game and you’ll get yourself into big trouble.

  • False sense of security.

Because you know where the ball is going to be and you’re moving early, you generally strike the ball well on a machine. This causes a false sense of security because it’s completely different to facing a bowler.

  • Inability to read bowlers cues & slow reaction time.

The above mentioned causes an inability to pick up on bowlers cues - when they’re bowling short, when they’re bowling full, how they’re holding the ball. It also has a negative effect on your reaction time.

All that said, I’m not completely against using machines. They’re great for certain things…

Technical work and getting your shapes right on a certain shot.

But don’t over use them!

PRO TIP: If you’re not facing bowlers, use a side-arm. Far better for your reaction time and ability to pick up cues.

2. BOWLING WITHOUT MEASURING YOUR RUN-UP

I know sometimes circumstances don’t permit, but when possible all bowlers should be bowling off their full run-up - the same run up they use in a game.

Too many bowlers just run in from wherever at training or go off a ‘half run’.

I also believe every single fast bowler should measure their run-up with a tape measure.

How do you expect a stepped out run-up to be the same every single time? It’s simply impossible.

Garden tape measures are 25 bucks. If you want to improve your bowling consistency it’s a no brainer. Get yourself one.

Bowling off an inconsistent run up creates the following habits and problems…

  • Lack of fluency.

There’s just no way you’re going to develop a smooth, fluent and consistent run-up if you’re training and playing with a different run-up all the time.

  • Bowling no-balls.

This one is pretty obvious. Your strides are going to be different, you’re going to be taking off from different positions and that will contribute to the likelihood of you bowling no-balls.

PRO TIP: Buy a garden tape measure from Bunnings, measure your run-up to the millimetre and use it every time you bowl. Your run up will be more fluent, you will bowl less no-balls and it saves time in a match (measure both ends before the game starts).

3. BOWLING WITHOUT STUMPS & UMPIRE

The stumps and umpire act as a visual cue for when to start your take off and delivery stride.

If you don’t have at least stumps and better still an umpire (or something to imitate an umpire) you’re going to develop the bad habit of…

  • Late entry into delivery stride.

This will lead to bowling more no-balls and then feeling like you have to hold back on your run-up in a match.

Have you ever felt like you’re steaming in at training and then feel like you’re bowling at 75% in a match?

PRO TIP: Use anything you can to imitate an umpire - chair, witches hat, agility pole with a hat on it, kit bag…anything is better than nothing!

PRO TIP TWO: If you are bowling noey’s in a game and feel like you have to hold back, ask the umpire to take a couple of steps back, this can help by giving you an earlier cue.

4. BATTING WITH NO FIELDERS

Obviously you can’t have fielders in the nets (if you can have centre wickets jump at it!).

But what’s the next best option?

Use cones, stumps, pool noodles, chairs…whatever you can to imitate fielders in the nets.

Two benefits….

Bowlers are thinking and getting into discussions about their fields (developing tactical & game awareness).

More importantly, it gives you, or the batsman a visual cue on where the fielders are and where the gaps are.

Now you have to actually think about where you’re hitting the ball which is completely different to hitting the ball anywhere.

Too many players hit the ball anywhere and everywhere in the nets without any accountability or thought of where the field is.

That causes an inability to hit gaps.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard…”I feel so good in the nets, why can’t I score runs in the middle.”

That’s why.

At all of our Junior & Elite Youth Academy sessions we get bowlers to set fields with coloured cones in bat v ball sessions (infield and outfield colour).

PRO TIP: At the very least get your bowlers to set their fields verbally when you go in to bat. Then take a mental snap shot.

 

5. BATTING WITHOUT A PLAN OR PURPOSE

A bit of a follow on from #4.

A lot of batsmen walk into the net session with absolutely no plan or purpose around what they want to get out of the net session.

Are you practicing opening the batting?

Are you working on closing out an innings?

Do you want to practice ticking the scoreboard over like the middle overs of a one day game?

Not only your plans but the bowlers plans are going to be vastly different in those situations.

  • Inability to develop plans.

If you go in and just ‘bat’ your ability to develop plans and react/adapt to different situations of the game is not going to be at an elite level.

Go to training with a clear plan on what you want to work on that session.

Make sure you let your bowlers know before or as you’re going into bat so they can also work on their plans. Win win.

  • Lack of competitiveness.

Going in to just ‘bat’ is easy. There’s no pressure, there’s no competition.

Giving yourself scenarios is going to create pressure and teach you how to compete.

We want to develop competitive players.

PRO TIP: Be very clear on your role in the team and work on scenarios that you’re likely to find yourself in on a Saturday to create the “been there, done that” feeling when you go out to bat.

If you’re anything like me, a bowler that bats in the bottom 6, you’ll be practicing going in and doing the top 6’s job fairly regularly.

Haha jokes! Love the top 6 vs bottom 6 banter!

Anyway, I hope that’s helped!

Would love to hear which of those training behaviours you think you can apply to make a difference in your game.

Drop a comment in the box below or flick me an email on nick@australiancricketinstitute.com

Written by: Nick Fitzpatrick - ACI Co Founder & Coach

 

Over the time I’ve spent working with and developing 1000’s of players games, I’ve seen a pattern emerge.

There are key area’s that players neglect, sometimes by choice, other times just because they don’t understand the magnitude of the role that this particular area plays on their game. This comes with inexperience and a lack of exposure to high level coaching/mentoring.

Below are the 7 area’s of the game that we found many players both senior and junior neglect.

It’s becoming better in these area’s that we’ve found great improvements in players games.

You’ve all hit 4’s or felt amazing in the middle or in the nets…

You’ve all bowled the perfect ball once, or your stock ball really well many times…

And for keepers you’ve all felt amazing and confident behind the stumps…

This tells me that you’ve all got the ability to execute your skill better than what you do all the time, it’s just a matter of harnessing this more often.

1. Developing Plans

Having a better understanding of your strength/weaknesses is so important. Having a strength based approach to the way you play enables you to play the game on your terms.

Having clearly defined batting or bowling plans is the best way for players to feel more confident and comfortable when out in the middle.

Being able to tap into a certain plan for a right arm out swing bowler, and knowing how they are trying to get you out, what type of shots they want you to play, what are the low risk/easier shots for you to play all form a basis of this plan.

And when it comes time to face another type of bowler you click straight into that plan to make scoring against that type of bowler easier.

In our programs we actually get bowlers and batters to set out their plans against types of bowlers, or for bowlers set their fields for the type of bowler that they are so that they can see these clearly and problem solve with our coaches.

 

(It's key to even speak to your coaches and players about this at training)

 

2. Training An Easy Option

Neglecting areas of your game that are uncomfortable/hard is the easiest and most common thing many players do.

Batting in the easy net, or having throw downs that are half volleys, or even putting the bowling machine on hitting half volleys for half an hour.

These aren’t going to make you better. Yes there is a time to train in these environments but the key to becoming a better player is to make training tough and to get out of your comfort zone.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the term train hard play easy? Many players shy away from training short balls or doing things they aren’t so good as because it’s a natural reaction because they don’t want to fail.

If you are training something hard or uncomfortable, break the skill down into smaller parts or use softer balls etc to get the confidence first. You are only going to get better at it by doing it, if you neglect it for long enough it’s going to affect your game.

3. Physical

This is a massive area that needs to improve within community and amateur level’s. Players neglect the physical component of the game.

Many people think crickets an easy game that doesn’t require any sort of physical fitness (think meat pie for lunch and sinking cans of beer).

However, to truly be consistent and perform over longer periods of time and also to perform at your top level you need to be fit and strong enough.

Bowling enough overs to take enough wickets, batting for 2 hours or getting from 20 - 50 or to make more than 50 requires you to be performing your skill at a high level for long periods.

Even the mental side of the game is directly influenced on the physical side. The fitter you are, the easier it is to recover and make repeat efforts, but also enables you to recover and switch back on and make better decisions due to less fatigue.

It’s all about training the body correctly.

4. Using Your Time Between Balls

You may have heard us speak about the time in between each ball being critical.

For many players, this time between balls is used negatively or neglected totally. Your ability to control your thoughts, feelings and emotions during this time goes a long way to contributing to a far better performance in your skill set.

The time in between balls is crucial, and many things can affect what you do/think then. Thinking too far in the past or too far ahead of yourself are key components that many players are guilty of.

It’s trying to steer these thoughts away and turning it into a positive time to help you reflect and then keep your composure and commit yourself to your batting/bowling plans.

Having a between ball routine, or using positive imagery, controlling your breathing to lower heart rate are all things that can help with using this time for the better. 

It’s all about avoiding distractions that take you away from your plans and focus.

5. Pre Game Preparation

Not many people think about the days before the game and how that influences performance. Many players when you say pre game they think the morning of, or in the warm up.

Ensuring you receive enough rest/sleep the night before.

Eating a nutritious night before meal so you have enough energy.

Using mental skills techniques (visualisation, meditation or even reviewing your plans as a batter or bowler).

Ensuring you are prepared to perform to your best and having the mindset to know that you’ve done all you need to during the week to ensure you can perform to your best.

These are routines and habits to get into, not superstitions. Habits and routines are what you repeat in order to get the most out of your time before you play to ensure you can play to your best.

Use this time effectively and find what works for you. This is a process that only you can control. Don’t copy other people as it may not fit in with you.

6. Reviewing/Reflection

A critical time after you’ve played a game or trained.

Understanding what you are doing well but also to learn from errors or parts of the game and identify these area’s for improvement.

This may be done by journalling and writing these down, or simply sitting in the car or in the change rooms at the end of the game or session.

The importance of this is however, that you identify things you are doing well, but also what you need to improve.

Use this review as a basis of planning out what your focus needs to be during training next session or what is important this week during your game.

7. Growth Mindset

Finally, this last one all comes down to a mindset you take.

The actions that come from it are overall going to be what makes you take on these extra areas.

We speak of having a growth mindset, a throw away word if not understanding what the meaning is.

Having a growth mindset is being open to getting better, doing the things that you need to do to learn from mistakes…Picking out key people who have already walked the path that you are and finding and extracting all of the information you can to make better decisions.

Understanding what is beneficial to your development and what isn’t.

This is the key under riding factor that will get you to where you want to go.

Now I’m not saying that you have to start doing all these straight away…

However if you do spend time on developing these area’s, or even at least just being aware of these, you will become a far more well rounded player.

As you can see, these factors contribute to your performance on a cricket field. It’s not just batting and bowling.

However we seem to only really just train how to hit a ball, throw a ball, bowl a ball and catch a ball, weird huh..

Written By Joel Hamilton (Co Founder of the ACI)