Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another session with the Basildon & Pitsea Cricket Club under 11 colts. Joe as you can see (He's the one in blue) came this week and even though he kind of looked a bit detatched from the proceedings, he was there and he did okay. But it was obvious that just missing one week had an impact on his progression.

We did try and get there a bit early as some of the other boys do get there early and have a bit of a knock about before the session starts and I reckon this will be good to get them integrated into the group as they play together on thier terms, so I'll have to make more of a concerted effort to get there early for the next session.

Unfortunately the next session isn't going to be for three weeks as the coming 2 weeks the club has got to give up the hall while exams take place and the next session will be Dec 6th.

I paid our dues and was pleased that they've charged us on the basis that you pay per family so it was five quid for the two of them - which was nice.

There was a better turn out this week with 15 kids, some of the kids that were absent last week were back again. Two blokes this week - Neil and some other bloke. First off as a warm up they got them to run round the perimeter of the hall and, doing things like turning and running backwards for short periods and the whilst running stooping down as if to pick up a ball whilst running alternating between hands.

The next exercise they did was stand either side of the hall and bowl to their partners. The instructors seemed to be looking at basic arm action and the grip for a seam up bowler so they got poor old Joe right out of his comfort zone bowling like a fast bowler, but he followed the instructions and was still bowling a good line and length. Ben similarly was doing ok, but the kid he was partnered with seemed to be easily distracted and took the instructions to the word. So where the bloke said bowl 10 back and forth this kid did and then as soon as the 10 was up he stopped and then turned round to a basket ball hoop and start throwing the ball into the hoop while Ben was at the other end doing nothing. Ben did eventually call out to the kid 'Throw it back' but the kid just ignored him. I did notice though that both Ben and Joe weren't following through using that step over action very much. I think Ben was slightly better and it may have been due to the fact that they were doing standing start bowling. But Joe's bowling action and line was very good - just needs that step over aspect looked at?

Next the instructors showed them how to catch low balls - fingers pointed downwards and bringing the hands into the body as you catch it to absorb the power of the ball. The initially did throwing back to each other across about 20' trying to put this into action. Then they extended the distance and did that. They had 2 sets of kids along either side of the hall and then got them to throw the ball to the person diagonally opposite to them and then introduced another ball further down the line and then another forcing them to be aware that another ball would need to either caught or thrown at any time as they worked along the line.

The next was a variation of last weeks chase and pick up exercise. The boys split into 2 groups . The instructor behind the stumps threw the ball up the hall and the boys 1 at a time chased after it and picked it up as per last week. They then had to throw it back to the instructor/wicket keeper without forcing him to move. If they didn't collect in the correct manner they didn't gain any points. In order to get points they need to gather and throw the ball back to the wicket keeper in the correct manner. Each team one a round each and then on the 3rd round the decider - the kids were so determined to win they were making sure they were turning inwards - the correct way and Ben's team after a ropey start - every kid in the team did and they won.

They then played kwik cricket which was fast and frenetic and a great leveller because even the good kids struggle to be any good at it. Then finally possibly because a load of the kids were moaning about playing Kwik they played a quick game of conventional cricket. Unfortunately I didn't get the call up, but there was another geezer there that did and he looked quite handy with the bat. They played 15 minutes each team.

Both Ben and Joe bowled okay. Ben's over was good he took a wicket one of the fielders caught a ball out at short mid wicket and he had a run out. I'm not sure if run outs are credited to the bowler - I've got a feeling they're not? But his over he only conceded 1 run. Joe on the other hand was quite economic and had one ball that looped up and should have been caught by the slips fielder or the wicket keeper but both of them were too deep. Joe batted well with his front foot drives and twice I heard the instructors commend him for good batting. I reckon that's in part down to the work I did with Joe a couple of weeks ago indoors and then the follow up with the drills at the colts session 2 weeks ago.

As they all packed up one of kids got an award for best performance of the season amongst the colts, but I'm not sure what exactly for? As we all packed up the other trainer came over and asked whether they had all the kit for nets, as they'll be in the nets on Dec 6th and he wants them all in pads and gloves with thier boxes, so that sounds good - sounds like they may be using either a real ball or perhaps a bowling machine?

In the afternoon prior to swimming we went to Sports Direct and bought some pads and gloves for Joe and got quite a bargain I felt, the only thing is the gear looks so much better than Ben's old Duncan Fearnley gear and now Ben wants some new gear. So in the short term they've both got the gear and a helmet to share. The bloke didn't say anything about needing helmets?

Practice session

Normally while the boys are swimming I usually go out into the schools playground and throw the ball around but this time I drove over to the Basket Ball court that I have my night practice in. Took the camera as you can see and photographed it (fig 1) and seeing it daylight I realised that it made more sense to bowl slightly diagonal using the line you can see here in front of the stumps. The reason is that once I'd set up my cone for the stumps at this end I realised that I could extend my run up by using the goal mouth see fig 3 (looking from the stump end). Standing at the bowling end I was
going to place a bag as a spot for bowling onto and then I noticed that along the yellow line I was bowling onto there was already some marks - see fig 02, I've placed the balls on them. The ball closest to the stumps is just about an arm and bats length if your standing on the point where the crease is. So I then aimed to bowl anywhere in between the 2 marks on the line. If I got it there I was happy.

So the bowling - As per my plans the objective was to bowl Leg breaks and straight from the outset it was the emphasis on the 3rd ring finger, with a big gap between that finger and the 2 up fingers. The first ball spun away to slips really well and again it was pretty much the same kind of story as the session last night. Ball after ball spinning in the right kind of manner. The line was sometimes a bit iffy with the ball drifting down the Leg Side. So again loads of reasons to be pleased, but I then started to muck about with what works and again like the last time it all went to pieces. I went back to the more

orthodox way and that worked again. I think the issue at the moment is that it just feels very different to to how I've been bowling for over a year and it's going to take some time for it to feel natural - it's that unlearning the googlie thing. Today I didn't go anywhere near a googlie and I just don't bowl them, but the Leg Break doesn't feel natural, it's that sense that the Leg Break is my main ball that I've got to attain and it still feels a long way off. But things look promising.

The thing is if I reflect on what I'm doing (and the new Canon G9 will be a real asset once I've got it, as I'll be able to position it in the position fig 4 which looks along the yellow line as seem clearly in fig 2 & 3) I am able to pitch the ball onto the line between the two balls seen on the line and get it to turn. When it turns the ball deviates and generally hits the Green post that you can see to the left of the stumps in Fig 4. So really - considering 2 months ago when I was trying to bowl Leg Breaks they were ending up in the equivalent position the otherside of the stumps. So I have come a long way and I've got to convince myself that what I'm currently doing is enough and that I should just focus on getting it

consistent and on a good line and length.

I also noticed that if there's a dry spell the grass behind the court in fig 2 is pretty flat and taking the stumps over there and bowling on grass might be an option as well using the plastic hockey balls - just to see how much spin I get on grass with a ball that has no seam? Besides I just like bowling on grass.

The balls I ordered from are pretty good. At the minute they're a bit smooth and I don't get a lot of grip on them, so I may just go and rough up a bit of the ball where that ring finger goes and see if that gives me better results?