Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pre-season practice and fitness at Mopsies and the Rec

Weather was fine today, a little cold at 10 degrees but dry and bright following a week of cold but generally dry weather. Not wanting to have a weekend with no cricket at all, Joe and I opted to go and have a look at Mopsies as an option for a practice, realising it probably was going to be dry enough. Normally we might have gone over to Gloucester Park, but since the 'Sporting Village' has taken it over they don't let anyone participate in sport unless you're ready to pay a premium for it and they want £70 for something that was free to all of the community a few years ago and had been for decades. Again, something I find incredulous, given that the levels obesity and the fall in sports participation in this country and the fact that the government pays lip service to the idea that it supports sports participation.

Anyway enough of a moan, at least we can drive right across town spewing hydro-carbons into the air and use Mopsies. It's a lot of aggro, but once there and setting all the stuff up it always goes quite well and ends up being worth it.
 Joe getting all the gear out of the car.
 All set up and ready to go. With no wicket keeper we put up a piece of scaffold net to prevent the majority of the balls from ending up on the boundary.
As we were packing up the sun came out, still looks nothing like spring - the trees still bare with no leaves.

We took 50 balls, Joe bowled two lots of 50 and I had one bag of 50 as Joe didn't want to bat the second time (Wanted to get home and watch Youtube or play Black Ops). He bowled really well for the most part, Joe targeted my leg-stump as he knows that's my weak zone. Looking at the video below, this is very different to facing a bowling machine and there's a few obvious things I reckon I need to do. In comparison to batting against the machine, there's very little in the way of forward movement? I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing?

I reckon more work in the nets over the Easter Break trying to get forwards, maybe speed the bowling machine up, we've been working with it at 68mph at the most, maybe we should look to use it at 70mph? Maybe if I'm able to get used to that and still hit the ball, it'll be easier when it's a real bowler? It does seem to be very much a confidence thing, I've been batting so much better in the nets, hitting full tosses and generally just hitting the ball cleaner and this must be a consequence of the work done in the nets over the winter?

Double click the image below for the video.

My bowling...

What happened - The camera was set up behind the batsman and to the side at the other end to record the approach to the crease, action and follow through. I managed to get some footage of both before the battery died in the cold. I bowled 50 balls coming off of a 14’ run-up. I then got home and played the footage back through software that enabled me to view the action in slow motion. In relation to the last action plan (see here) I’ve implemented very little because of the weather and a reluctance to spend money on hiring indoor venues to practice the action. Bowled in the nets on Tuesday night, too a good wicket.

Feelings – The actual bowling seemed to go quite well and I would have had Joe bowled around his legs, caught behind wicket keeper and stumped a number of times. So that seemed okay, but felt wrong. The video once played back and looked at… That made me a little depressed as there seems to have been a big backwards step. But whilst feeling down about the current action I do feel as though it is recoverable if I’m given the chance to correct it. I reckon a couple of tweaks and I’ll be back on track.

What was good/bad – Length was too full on Sunday, took some getting used to in order to pull it back, would have been hit for plenty and in a 40 over game might have been taken off after two overs? Once settled too plenty of wicket especially stumping off of Joe trying to charge me and hit the ball before it bounced. Joe was very successful at this in the nets on Tuesday night – batted really well, but would have fallen eventually. Bad – the action; the bound looks bad, BFC was angled so bowling action was very front on with little pivot. The stride was short and the front leg collapsed at FFC.

Analysis – As alluded to above, I think the whole thing can be recovered given some proper time to practice without the use of a ball, just focusing on the bowling action. Looking at the video footage there are some glaring deficiencies. As I go into the bound there seems to be a lack of setting up in order to facilitate the getting side on aspect. Which means as I land out of the bound BFC is angled and my body is too front on and lacks the side on attributes that I should be aiming for. The stride is then pretty weak e.g. short. The rest of the action looks fairly okay other than occasionally there’s a fade to the left through the follow-through like Mushatq Ahmed. The whole thing looks as though it lacks oomph and dynamism, but I reckon it wouldn’t take a lot of work to correct it. As mentioned previously, fitness is currently an issue, the weather hasn’t been that conducive with getting out and about. In addition the last two weeks I’ve felt as though I’m on the verge of coming down with a cold or something, if you believe in biorhythms I’d say that it may be something to do with that?

All that aside, it is Easter and I’ve got two weeks off now to work on all of these aspects and if the last 2 weeks was the down-side of the biorhythmic pattern, the coming days should see an improvement of all things physical? One note of caution I’ve got to do some digging and labouring in the next few days, so that’s going to kill me unless I’m fitter than think, but at 56 I reckon I’ll be a bit sore after a few days of lugging around paving stones and pebbles.

Conclusion – Fitness needs to be improved, more likely if the weather gets better and enable me to get out in it. Bowling action needs to be worked on – particularly and foremost - getting side-on coming out of the bound.

Action plan – Try and practice with Joe as much as possible over the coming two weeks especially at Mopsies. Set aside specific time to work on the bowling action without the use of the ball. Film the bowling action without the ball. Start to do cardio work and leg work to build up strength and stamina with lower body specificity. Get back on the upper body work too. Reflect on progress mid-week (30th March)?

Today 28th March after a crappy Easter weekend, the wind and rain stopped for long enough to get out and have a knock about in the street and then do some work on fitness. Joe and I took a 20 minute run/walk over to The Rec which took in the Rec hill which I negotiated with far more ease than I'd expected...
It's not all running especially at this point in the season, power-walking mixed with sprinting and running... getting the heart going and getting some strength back in my legs is the priority for me.
Short rest at the square at Langdon Hills Rec. 
Then up the hill and back home.

Our house to the Rec, up the hill and back... 20 minutes, as I get fitter I may have to go right around the field to make it a 20 minute exercise.

Nets Tuesday night.