I couldn't resist it, this afternoon I went over to GBOS and bowled a bit - 2 hours, but it was with my sons in attendance, so they were involved - batting, bowling, fielding in between playing football and throwing frisbees and stuff, so I never really had a spell where I was able to really focus on what I was doing and concentrate. Despite that I am getting the ball to turn into off from outside leg and it happens in varying degrees. Peter Philpott reckons you should be able to decide whether you're going to bowl a "Big Legbreak" or a "Small Legbreak" and it happens when you decide - not every now and then when somehow you get it to spin! I'm still I mile away from that happening - but bit by bit it is coming together. I am managing now to get it up the full 22yards and get spin on it but varies from top spin to a weak Legbreak. It's a massive move forward from a month ago and I still need to keep plugging away at it and I'm optimistic that it will come together.
This evening I was itching to get out again, but what with it being a school day tomorrow that meant getting the kids off to bed. Last year being a year younger it wasn't such a problem as the rule was they were in bed during school days around about 7pm - 7.30pm , but now they're a bit older they're up that bit later and I'm involved in getting them off to bed - reading stories, getting them showered etc. Luckily because of the party and the social activities and being out and about today they were pretty knackered so they were in bed by 7.30. The easiest option therefore for a practice is our local field 200 yards away.
This morning I noticed that the groundsman was out there mowing it again and this afternoon I'd gone across and he'd finished it off after 3/4 doing it on Friday. So today before getting the kids ready for bed I went over with my mower and had a go at mowing it. The bits I'd already done with hand shears were fine, but the main parts that had only been cut with the sit-on mower were still too long for my little barrel mower to handle. So what to do? So many practice places and they all need attention.
GBOS has just been cut and the grass there is a fairly thin variety which my mower can deal with, but it's a car drive away and if you go over there it means taking a full bag of it in the event that anyone who wants to can join in. The advantage is - people do join in - including Suhail.
FTF - Similar grass quality - very public and the trees - but rival groups of blokes for the space and is 2 miles away and you have to pay for parking and mowing it publicly might be an issue.
Local Field - 200 yards away thick dense grass. Private no one goes there but needs some attention (Serious cutting).
Weighing it all up for ease of use - kids can walk home if they get bored etc, you only need your stumps and 12 balls and you're away I decided that I'll prepare the local field so having given it a go with the mower the only answer is to do it with shears (Call the men in white coats)! Over the last few days I'd cut a rectangle shape at both ends around the area where the ball lands and then yesterday cut that further at one end so that it was short from about 4 yards out back to the stumps. So this evening when I went over there and bowled I took the shears and in between every few overs cut a bit more so now I'm at this stage -
The light green areas representing the bits that have been cut with a pair of shears and from now on will be easily mown with the lawn mower. So every four or five days I'll keep the short stuff trimmed and bit by bit cut my way down the wicket. But to be honest as long as one end is short as the diagram shows It's okay for bowling - I just have to retrieve the balls and go back to the other end each time. Looking at the short bit though it's not that bad for a football pitch and I can't say that I noticed a lot of football going on over there this year, but I did notice the bloke mow it back in may and use a roller at the same time albeit small, so what with my rolling a couple of years ago it's quite flat.
So anyway - bowling progress.
Yeah I'm fairly happy with what happened today and tonight over at local Field I must have thrown 10 overs worth of balls between getting the shears out and cutting another foot down the wicket each time. The one thing I'm enjoying is my accuracy again tonight so few wide balls, the thing that seems to be happening which I think is to be expected is dragging the ball down and bowling it ridiculously short - that happens more frequently than bowling wide. It tends to happen when I try and put extra oomph into the bowling, which I think is a case of trying to move forward too fast with the bowling. Tonight I was thinking that what I may do which is recommended in Peter Philpotts book is to start over again. Go back to the beginning and do all the things he advises and see if it makes any difference by the time I reach the point I'm at now.
Thumb News - It still hurts, it still feels tender and there's no way that I'm going to be able to bowl flippers in the near future and I'm expecting that this coming weekend I'll still be in the same situation.
Cricket - Game Psychology
Last night on www.simplycricket.net there was a bloke who was asking what is your celebration when you take a wicket? I haven't really got one and I remember last year that when I did get the couple of wickets that I did I didn't do anything and I'm likely not to this year. Then thinking about it - the kind of approach I have is that I'm trying so hard and the objective is that I'm trying to get the other bloke out so if I succeed it's not really a surprise it's what I'm supposed to do? Also I'm kind of arrogant in these situations and when people say "Well done you did it - I often answer with 'yeah of course I did - that's what I'm here for'? Dismissing their surprise and jubilation.
Yesterday I was really concentrating a la the advice of Peter Philpott and was totally focussed on the stumps and what I was intending on doing where the ball was going to pitch and how my wrist and fingers where going to combine to put the rotations on the ball and I thought - the batsman doesn't come into this equation at all, irrespective who he is and what he may do I'm going to do this..... So in a way I'm already within the game being really dismissive of the batsman. I realise that if then he starts to get the upper-hand alternative tactics may have to be deployed, but I'm hoping in those situations I'll then be able to revert back to the same state of mind where he again becomes a small part of the equation?
But a part of this whole dismissive approach might be to never look him in the eyes, I'm fairly certain he's going to want to make eye contact so he might play his own mind games, but I'd go for denying him that by totally focusing on the stumps or the blade of grass/daisy that I'm aiming to pitch the ball onto. My team mate "Super Dave" who mentioned my Warnesque pre-bowl idiosyncrasies might have touched on another element to the whole scenario. That in itself may give the impression that I know what I'm doing, the measured approach, the repetition of spinning the ball from hand to hand - taking my time I could even take it as far as placing a marker down from where the run up starts and at know time ever acknowledge the batsman - total focus, total concentration. Again I have to go back to the game two weeks ago now where it did seem as though the 2 batsmen were quaking in thier boots at the fact that they had to face a two pronged attack from the spin bowlers?
How good must it be when you're so knowledgeable and confident that you're able to move your fielders around with your captains say so - man that must be good!
So that's something to think about - a kind of "Ice man" approach to my bowling, no emotion no eye contact and the appearance of total focus and concentration.