Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paddock and training kids (The Ozan Project)

A beautiful sunny spring day with the temperature up around the 16 degrees mark tempted me out to have a light bowl and do some groundsman work in the paddock. I wasn't at work because for the first time in my life I've been in a position where the workforce has come out on strike and being in the union I've involved in the strike. Younger son Joe was off too as his teachers were having a training day, so we had a bit of a knock about outside and then him and a mate of his from down the road went over the paddock to have a game of football.

I wandered over there a little later as I spotted a council worker in there wearing a high vis jacket and for a moment I thought that perhaps they were looking at the fence with a view to replacing it. In the end it was the street cleaner bloke that cleans our estate and I had a chat with him about litter and stuff and people that let their dogs crap everywhere, including inside the paddock where the kids play. It was kind of refreshing to find someone else that shared my opinion that a dog is an animal and not a pseudo human being with the same rights as us! I wont go into that though otherwise I'll have the bloody RSPCA coming round and questioning me and putting me in prison for not sharing their warped views. (I blame it all on Johnny Morris).

So, anyway whilst there looking at the grass I thought I'd take the opportunity to give it a going over whilst it was still fairly short and then once I'd done that, with the knowledge that we're currently on a bit of a long run of dry weather which may catch me off guard. I thought I'd give it a going over with the roller and the results can be seen below............

I've been contemplating having the stumps up this end this season (Above), but the fence directly behind me from where this was shot is knackered and can't be easily repaired. We stuck the stumps up and measured it and it works okay as the run up area at the other end is just short of the 'Good Length' zone if we then started to utlilise the other end later in the year which we would need to. But, the fence is such a big issue it doesn't look as though we will bat at this end.

This is the end we'd have the stumps and probably will again this year. As you can see I'd given it a roll and it's coming along nicely. I wont be able to see how flat it really is till we lower the blades on the Ransomes Ajax lawn mower. That will then expose the lumps and bumps and then we have to wait for a wet period and then go over it properly with the roller when it's wet. The main thing I did today was roll down the centre along the bowling line and a little wider on the on-side where I pitch my Leg Breaks.
Once it was done I had a little bowl using hockey balls, just to see how it was coming out of the hand and see how it would go if I bowled off a stand start or a 1 step delivery and it all went okay and sitting here now my knee doesn't feel too bad.

Teaching Wrist Spin (Ozan project)
I have another project on the go which may be interesting. One of the kids my older son hangs around with has an absent Dad who he sees very rarely and when he does see him I get the impression that they don't do much 'Bloke stuff' so this kids reached 12 and gone to secondary school without the influence of a Dad that has pushed him to do active stuff. For instance a few weeks after they started secondary school Ben told me a little story about this kid, the kid had said....
"Thank God I come round your house and your Dad gets me doing things, you know in the summer when we were all in your garage banging nails in wood and screwing screws in and using pliers and stuff, that was the first ever time I'd ever done that I'd never seen any of that stuff and I just copied you and Joe, I'd have looked a proper muppet at school this week because when we went in the lesson we had to do all that stuff and if I hadn't have done that at yours I'd have not known what they were talking about".
But, to the kids credit he tags along with us and makes up the numbers when we're playing cricket and he has a go. He can't bat, throw, catch or bowl but hangs in there and tries. At school he's having a tough time because they've been doing rugby which both my sons love, but then they've done sports since they were 1 kind of thing, so are pretty adept at most things.
At this kids school, cricket is next (After Easter) and he's thinking that he may have an edge over some of the weaker kids because of his involvement with us, so I suggested that he had a go at bowling and I showed him some stuff to try to improve his bowling which is atrocious. He was well up for it. In a matter of minutes I'd made dramatic improvements with him and help from Ben too (Kids teaching each other helps a lot) added. So, now I'm thinking, what I've got here is a potential wrist spinner starting out from ground zero.
If this kid is up for it and he becomes enthused its going to serve to explore a point I've raised on forums on the internet. I've suggested that in order to be a half decent spinner you need to have some grasp of being able to bowl in the first instance, whereas a lot of people maintain that you need to focus on the spinning first and all the fundamentals such as line and length and accuracy come later. The only flaw with this approach is that if you're a wrist spinner you're going to need to be in an exceptionally supportive club if you're going to be going for 10-16 runs an over because you're not threatening the stumps. Additionally even as wannabe wrist spinner you may be inclined to give up simply because you can't get the ball anywhere near the stumps on a regular basis.
So what I'm going to do is get his basic wrist spin bowling action right - rotation with the hips and shoulders, getting side on etc and see how this works out and then show him the 2 up 2 down grip with the cocked wrist and see if it comes natural for him and whether he's enthused by the fact that he can get the ball to turn off the pitch.