Sunday, February 15, 2009

How to learn fielding positions

My kids have just started playing cricket for a club and they were given a sheet with the 11 basic positions for a fast bowler (as far as I can make out) and told to learn 2 of the fielding positions. I was crap at remembering the positions and as far as I'm aware most of the blokes I play with - who've played for years haven't got a clue either. So once my kids got this sheet with the positions and told to learn 2 of them I set about helping them realising it'd be good for me too.

So I made 11 plastic tokens and wrote the names of the fielding positions on the tokens with the intention of learning 3 in the first week and then more the next if necessary. So what I did is mark out a wicket on the carpet floor and asked them what 3 positions they were going to learn (they're 7 and 11 years old) and got them to place the 3 tokens in the right place. We all learned the 1st few in a matter of seconds and then my 7 year old got cocky and started adding another. Any to cut a long story down a bit - it got to this stage using a tape on the kitchen floor in a matter of 2 days Wrist Spin Bowling: G&C Nets - The Videos scroll down and look at the photo. Within 2 days we all knew every position.

I then had another idea. If you've got MS Paint on your computer or photo-shop you can make a template cricket pitch with the wicket marked out and then duplicate it 11 times. On 11 of the image files place each of the different fielding positions and name the file by it's position. Then one by one add text to each image with the name of the position and then 'File save as' the same name but add a on the end. (As below) Once you've done this you can open the file up in MS picture viewer and run as a slide show. The slide show will go through the fielding positions 1 by 1, first with the position marked with no text giving you 5 seconds to guess it, then followed up by the 'A' post-fixed files that show the position with it's name - see my blog again Wrist Spin Bowling: How to learn fielding positions
Last week you may remember my kids were gutted that they weren't asked about the fielding positions so much so that the oldest asked the coach 'Oi Mr - are we going to be asked about the fielding positions'? and when the bloke said no he wasn't impressed! But this week they had a different coach and as part of his session he asked a few questions and both my boys were champing at the bit to answer and at last got to demonstrate their fielding positions knowledge, so were quite pleased. I think what's been good about this process is the older son Ben is academically very switched on and soaks up knowledge like a sponge, he reads books at an amazing rate, whereas the younger son Joe suffers a bit from the sense that he lives in his older brothers shadow. But with this exercise Joe has been exponentially better at learning the positions and is very happy in that he knows another 6 positions more than is bigger brother!
Todays Nets for Ben and Joe

Joe and Ben had their net sessions today and their coach worked on a range of different things.
He had them running after the ball retrieving it and throwing it back to the stumps, they didn't do too bad at that. Then he got them practicing front foot drives dropping the ball and getting them to hit it down the wicket on the second bounce. Joe appeared to have lost it a bit with this and did okay, but Ben looked really good - he appeared to be getting everything right and when I have him the thumbs up he nodded with a big smile. Then at last after weeks of waiting for a chance to bowl they eventually got their chance, but unfortunately it was with very light balls which they're not used too as we use the Kookaburra training balls. The reason we use the Kookaburra balls is that they are the nearest in size to a real cricket ball and they're also the heaviest, so to then be given an ultra lightweight ball it screws up all your length and ability to bowl so well, but they got on with it and didn't do too bad. Ben was bowling with loads of out-swing (to a RH bat) so the coach suggested that he went round the wicket instead, I'm not sure whether Ben is aware that he's got this ability and how potentially useful it is, I don't mention it that much when we practice I just focus on getting him to stay calm and get his line and length accurate aiming at the off - stump. Joe's bowling suffered from light ball syndrome and the fact that they don't bowl in spells, so by the time they've gone through the other boys and got back round to him, he never gets a rythymn going - it's just something he needs to get used to. So his bowling was okay, but not good. Ben was bowling when Joe was the wicket keeper and Ben forced a good edge ball that Joe almost caught, but Ben wasn't at all happy. Joe almost managed a bowled and caught when he was bowling.
Eventually as they were rotating Ben got to bat and looked to be batting exceptionally well, with a definite look of good shape and technique. Joe was a bit wayward. When they'd finished Ben was well chuffed as the coach had said 'Well done Ben, I've not seen a lad of your age bat that well in many a year', so I was very pleased at that.
When we got in both of them were still full of cricket enthusiasm so we all had a good half hour - 3/4 hour of catching practice, which they both really loved and got quite competitive with and after our tea Joe had another 15 - 20 minutes of front foot drive practice off the dropped balls technique. So all in all a very good Sunday. With the week off I may also in the week book a badminton bay and have an hour with then working on throwing, catching and some batting practice. So that's something to look forward to.