Monday, December 22, 2008

Joe - Throwing and Catching

Today was a fairly good cricket day. I've been outside bowling a la Murali - rotating my arm and wrist in the way that he does with some degree of success which has been fun. Ben videoed it for me but his camera technique is a bit ropey. But I have sussed that if I use the camera on a medium setting the results are probably of a size that'd be okay for youtube. I kind of fancy the idea of getting outside somewhere tomorrow with a tripod and shoot some footage of me bowling. The only thing is this is a 400 quid camera and I've smacked it with the stumps 2 times already today filming my bowling. If I'm going to go and bowl some really wayward 'Murali balls' I need to be able to protect the camera and as yet I've not figured out how to do this yet. Anyway that aside other things happened today -

Joe and me went out in the street and Joe off his own back spent 20 minutes bowling at the stumps and did okay. He still needs to work on the step through part of his action. Sometimes this comes naturally but more often than not he bowls and stops. Later in the day he was up for some catching practice and that went quite well, but the highlight of the day was in the evening.

Ben had his Karate session at the community centre and again I hired a bay for Joe and me and we had a bit of a knock about and did some of the drills he does at his training sessions and then at his suggestion he said 'Shall we do some catching practice'? So we spent a good 20 minutes or more catching and man did he come on leaps and bounds with it! Just over today the difference in his ability to catch has been massive. Whether now he'll stay at that level or not I don't know, but I reckon with more practice he'll know doubt get a lot more confident and with catching it is a case of having the confidence and believing that you are going to catch. Also his throwing improved as well, he was getting the ball back to me over a fair distance and generally very accurately and efficiently. I reckon he's got a real willing to learn in some situations and it's rare that he does this with me, but today he kind of did it on his own terms with me - dictating what it was that he wanted to do and it has been a good day.

One thing I do need to watch is how Joe interacts with other kids - in the past he's experienced other kids that give the impression that they are experts at what they do and they're very forward in coming forward to take key roles - primarily for their own purposes so that they have the first opportunity to take the glory and big themselves up. Team playing is not necessarily their forte it's more about themselves. I've seen this in the past in an instance where one kid that Joe played alongside fancied himself as a wicket keeper. Now - our understanding of wicket keeping in a situation where a ball is fielded is that - when the fielder returns the ball he aims at the stumps and the keeper positions himself up behind the stumps in the event of a miss, he gloves it and takes the bails off? This kid wanting the glory saw the ball coming in and got between the ball and the stumps, so that he could glove it - turn and take the bails thus claiming the wicket. Joe's ball wasn't intended for the wicket keeper so it came in low - needless to say the wicket keeper missed it and fumbled the ball and it never reached the stumps and the bat got home. Joe would have been a bit miffed at that but would have just been frustrated and left it at that, but not this wicket keeper - he then turned on Joe abusing him because he hadn't thrown the ball to his gloves.

Being my son I know that he has a similar temperament to me and this is exactly the kind of reaction I used to get off of kids when I was Joe's age when I used to play football in the playground with all the 'Super Human Crew' type kids that all thought they were George Best and were only interested in hogging the ball and scoring all the goals. On the odd occasion that I managed to wrangle the ball and would get up the oppositions end I could hear all the super human crew including one particular kid shouting 'Shoot you w******r Thompson - shoot'! Needless to say I'd shoot and unlike them it'd go wide or the straight at the goalie and I'd be subjected to verbal abuse fitting for missing an open goal from 10' in the world cup. Needless to say I kind of gave up on football not realising at that age with my stamina and understanding of the concept of the midfield game I could have been a half decent midfield player perhaps?

So what I don't want is for Joe (Ben as well) to be put off by kids that are quick to promote themselves as being far superior players who at this stage react to mistakes with a vehemence and disdain that really should be discouraged. Neither of them can bat and like me wouldn't be fussed at batting at No. 10 so it doesn't matter that they bat right down the order and all the other kids fancy themselves as budding Kevin Pieterson's - they're right in fighting for their places. But as I've alluded before Both Joe and Ben can bowl. They generally bowl good line and length and their technique considering they're new is fairly sound. There are other kids in their team that can bowl as you may have read in the earlier blog entry and I was really impressed with the two that bowled well this week at woodlands, but the rest of them have got some ground to make up before they can bowl like Joe and Ben. But when they play games they all rotate and everyone gets a go, but they all clamour to bowl yet very few of them can actually do it and Ben and Joe sit back and let all the others go first as though they're the worst of the bunch! Basically they're exactly the same as their Mum and me - we were exactly the same as kids. We try and encourage them to step forwards and put their hands up and to be honest they do in so many more situations than both my wife and me did as kids which is good. But bowling is one of the situations where I think they should be able to recognise that they are good at it and that in fact they should bowl 3rd and 4th!

On a more encouraging note though when they do step up to the stumps, some of the better kids that can play e.g. bat and field, I've heard them say things like 'get ready cos this kid can bowl'. I've just got to watch out that in case their are some nasty self obsessed types in the team that could easily put either or both of them off playing the game.