We've now been 3 times meaning we get about half and hour each with the bowling machine which I reckon is making a significant difference. I the 8 years I've played I've never been able to access bowling machine practice because it is reserved for the 'Special ones'. So the only chance I ever get to practice is pre-season nets and that always seems to me to be slightly odd as a learner as a means to practice as the bowling is so inconsistent - 5 blokes all bowling inconsistently in different styles. Strikes me that if you're trying to learn the basics it's of little help at all.
Yesterday's third session went really well for me. We started off with Joe bowling at me, normally I find Joe's bowling a right handful See here but right from the outset I got off to a really good start. The key thing seems to be I simply felt more confident because of the time spent facing the bowling machine, possibly less scare too? When we practice at this venue we video it and then we have a look at it and see if there's anything that we can see that is massively wrong. Needless to say there's loads wrong, but week by week I'm working on different things and trying to correct them or improve them.
What Happened - Went to the nets batted against Joe and the bowling machine, looked to be more confident and move my feet more.
Feelings - Generally because of the recent sessions I felt confident prior to batting and was hoping to correct some of the poor batting on leg-side balls.
Good & Bad (Evaluation) More time in the nets is always good, batted exceptionally well against my son who bowled both seam up and off-spin and the only bad bit was still falling over and useless against balls on the legs or around the leg-stump.
Analysis - I got off to a really good start batting against Joe at the start. He bowled both seam up pace and finger spin and I was hitting the ball clean and hard keeping it along the ground. We then moved on to the bowling machine and I did okay at that. I still haven't been able to come up with a solution for balls that are on my legs, so at some point we'll have to have a session where we work on that specifically. I'm still probably not moving enough towards the ball and there's a tendency to hit the ball too straight and towards the on-side, but generally I'm hitting the ball more with increasing confidence.
Conclusion - More practice is required and it's going to cost me a lot more money than I'd like to be paying, but it does seem to be making fairly significant improvements in my batting. So we'll try and get along to the nets every 2 or 3 weeks.
Action Plan - I've always been told that a really valuable exercise you can do is the mirror exercise to hone your batting skills, so I've been looking at the video below and I may give this a go. In this same series there's a useful video with tips for balls on the legs, so in the longer term I'll also be looking at that video and taking some of the advice from that and putting it in to action. Other than that general fitness exercises currently focusing on upper body strength because I am feeling it batting in the nets. I'm currently using the heaviest bat that I own a 2lb - 13oz Stac bat as opposed to the Slazenger bat with the idea that when it comes to the start of the season the lighter Slazenger bat will feel lighter and easier to use.