On and off I kind of look at what I'm doing with my cricket - especially with regards to my commitments to Grays and Chadwell and I think about the fact that I am so new to this game and there's so many blokes in the team that have played for years and years and here I am totally clueless and making a right hash of it sometimes and I think to myself 'Should I be doing this - am I taking someone else's place by being in the team', I just feel that I'm a liability and that maybe thier hearts sink when I step up to bowl or the ball sails off the oppositions bat in my direction when I'm fielding? I just feel that I'm all ways questioning - is it enough to be enthusiastic?
But then tonight happened - generally I work Tuesday nights so can't make it to the net sessions, but because the college is closed for Easter tonight and next week I'm able to go. During the day I was having my doubts again "Shall I go or am I going to make myself look like a pillock again" etc, but I thought "No - go and see how it pans out" primarily driven by the fact that my Captain gave me some advice last week and it was useful. So I went and what a good night it was it was brilliant. First though it only cost £2.00 for an hour and half, the place is fully kitted out with the option of 4 nets and 4 lots of spring back stumps. They pay £25 an hour, but they only charge us £2.00! I was expecting at least a fiver!
I asked one of the blokes why it was so cheap because during the day I'd got a club email asking for us all to attend a do in the next few weeks following a recent do that seemingly wasn't that well attended. The club relies on these do's and for the members to attend and dip in their pockets during the night - The recent one was a quiz night. But it strikes me that when the MPA 1st XI was up and running no-one had any real issues about coughing up £8 or £10.00 to go to the nets (2hrs) and yet none of us are "Real" cricket players and are all lecturers and technicians and relatively badly paid? So I put the question why is it so cheap - surely you could charge more? Apparently not. Tonight there was about 12 of us and the bloke (Matt) said that if the club was to charge more even fewer people would turn up! It sounds to me that running this cricket club isn't easy at all.
Anyway back to the session. Neil my captain was there and if you've been following the blog - he's the bloke that is easily the friendliest and most encouraging as far as I'm concerned, so there was a chance that I could learn something. The other Leg Spin bowler Alex "The Wizard" was there too so in our nets there was a few of us bowling spin, so it was good fun. The good thing was I wasn't throwing the ball at the nets all night and was getting it to turn a bit (Flippers and Wrong Uns) and it was the wrong un that was causing the most problems which was nice. But "The Wizard" was having an off day and ended up throwing the ball into the nets loads of times and was getting really frustrated, so it was good to see from that point of view that these other bowlers do have really bad sessions. At the end of the session one of our better batsmen (Matt) was saying some encouraging words and said that my main thing was to get an increase in my speed, so that's something I need to look at.
But - the best bit was yet to come. I had taken all my gear and had left it in the car but then Neil said get your pads on and have a bat. So I did and few of them threw a few balls at me and I swung that bat at them mostly missing as I usually do. Neil intervened - trying to explain to me what to do with front foot drives, but I wasn't getting it, so he then took me aside and out of the nets and threw so really easy balls at me telling me what I needed to be doing with my arm - I was far too stiff and rigid. After showing me and explaining I needed to relax - I think I got it and then he threw some ball across a greater distance and I was able to get the bat on the ball and was even following through. It did seem as though just in that one little demonstration along with a little coaching I made a big step forward. The main aspect being the relaxed arm - I've always had hold of the bat trying to really whack it, but within minutes it seemed as though the ball was simply pinging off the bat with no effort!
So that was a real revelation and really helpful, but again it was one of those things where I'm kind of thinking - all these blokes were shown this stuff years and years ago - this is the stuff that Ben and Joe should be learning with me teaching them - but it's me that needs to go along to the kids sessions - hence the reason I really enjoyed seeing Ben and Joe being coached by the bloke from the ECCC because he was keeping it really simple.
But I had a really good night and really appreciated that Neil took the time to show me how to do that, so if your reading this Neil - cheers I really appreciate it.