Sunday, November 16, 2008

Decathlon trip

Decided that we'd go to Decathlon today as Ben needed one of the those 'Skins' tops to go under his football gear as he's got a match this week and will freeze his nads off if it's cold and wet. While we were there we looked at the price of the Decathlon branded cricket gear and what kind of fit it was and it turns out that it's ideal. The tops are going to be around 10 quid each and the trousers a similar price and what we might do is hold off buying them until Christmas and possibly have them as a Christmas present option?

Joe also got a bat and little ball for indoor practice, so now Joe's got a half decent bat - see the images - it's a Woodworm bat and it was only 10 quid! What I may do is get some more of the pads and gloves for Ben as his stuff is possibly getting too small for him and again another option for Christmas presents.

No practice today - I'm giving my shoulder a rest. I may do some Terra Band exercises later, but I'm not over fussed as I feel a bit rough so I may be coming down with a cold or something?
Later on I went over to the Valence Way field (Where we play cricket and I maintain a wicket in the summer) and did some football training with Ben. I had a wicket inspection and it looks dismal apart from the fact that the grass is greener where we look after it. At the moment it's a real mess - dents and scrapes and stud marks all over the shop - quite distressing. While I was over there it allowed me to have a look at where I'd be able to stash up the roller when I eventually get it over there. In the furthest corner of the field there's a big hole in the fence and it looks as though the roller will fit through the hole, so once I've done the rolling I'd be able to push it out of the field and badge it up in the woods and chain it to a tree. But all that's quite some time off for the moment.
Once back home I thought I'd give Joe's little practice ball a try outside up against a wall - it works well indoors but as we live in a little house there's not a lot of scope for batting indoors against a wall so outside's an obvious solution. I've been looking for a ball to use against a wall as a way of practicing my batting and as yet haven't come across one with the right amount of bounce. The other problem is the wall near my house is only about 4' high anyway and it's difficult to keep the ball from going over the top. This ball was okay but still needs a little more bounce. I then remembered that we had the insides of a G&M plastic kids ball and that this had some bounce so I tried that and it was pretty good. It bounces off the wall pretty fast with loads of variation in height and speed. It looks as though if you had a bigger wall and was able to stand further back it might work really well. As it was it seemed to be okay and it looked as though as a training technique e.g. keeping the ball down and focusing on getting the foot to the ball and my head over the ball it was almost ideal. You've got to realise I have virtually no opportunities to ever practice batting and if I'm lucky I get two sessions in the nets each year because of my job commitments as a lecturer. So today in just 20 minutes or so I probably did more batting than I've ever done! I reckon if I could find a half decent flat wall (and as I write I know exactly where I can do this in one location - the school where my kids go swimming) my batting might actually improve? So now I'm on the look out for a wall where I can do this. An ideal place would be in a sports hall, but that would then cost - but I might look into doing this as the blokes at work want to do nets and if it's not too expensive I might go for it. Also my Father in Law is a school care taker and his school might have somewhere I could do this as well - a wall somewhere?
Utilisation of redundant space
This is a theme I love - an unused football pitch laying redundant through the summer - what's my solution - get a lawnmower and a roller and cut and maintain a wicket! So today after my session with a ball against the wall as a batting exercise I got on windows live maps and looked all round my town for a parking lot or somewhere similar that had a wall to bat up against. I had a few ideas and ideally it would be somewhere that sports are already played just so that I don't look like the town freak, not that I'm that bothered what people think, but I can live without the Old Bill or some dumb security bloke telling me that I can do this or that on thier land etc. But anyway, I went and bought my train ticket for tomorrow and parked up in the town centre in a car park that's situated in the middle of a roundabout almost and walking back I went under the underpass that allows you to cross the road. These underpasses are rarely used and they're a bit dodgy and if your were faint hearted you'd probably walk across the road rather than use the underpass, but I thought it might have potential and sure enough it did. Both ends of the rather wide tunnel had smooth walls at right angles to the tunnel so ideal for the batting and a stop wall behind you if you miss the ball. Then thinking about it more there's another tunnel over at Glouscester Park which might be even more under-used and is lit better? So these tunnels are potentially good places to have a practice and they're dry, so I may have a look in a few days time and see how frequently they're used and if I can get away with having a practice in them at night. Other than that I've found some other places but they're not so enclosed and a lot more time would be spent retrieving balls that you'd missed.
If you're interested by this concept and theme have a look at these images by a Spanish Photographer Xavier Ribas. I love this blokes work