Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pre-season practice/training

The wind, rain and cold weather has abated for the weekend meaning we could get out at last and have a knock about. Last week club nets was cancelled because the school were using the nets for exams and Joe's not scheduled to have his last South Essex District training till this coming Thursday. So we've been short on cricket. With the temperature at 11 degrees and the sun trying to shin through a thin veil of haze we made our way over to the Markham's Chase cage just in case it was empty. As per usual it wasn't, but to be fair we could have used it batting at the 'House' end hitting the ball towards the fields, but Joe's always reluctant to for some reason if there's people in there so we moved on to The Rec and practiced there instead.

Markham's Chase Cage, Basildon.

 Markham's Chase Cage, Basildon.
Joe trying to retrieve another lost ball from the impenetrable bushes that surround the tennis courts at the Rec.

Joe as per usual wasn't that up for it, but he came along and initially bowled, but had to do so off of a short run-up so bowled off-breaks (Finger spin). My batting seemed okay and we used a couple of balls - bouncy ones and rock-hard hockey balls which hardly bounce at all, did okay against both. I'm hitting the ball far cleaner this year, I just seem to see it these days and I noticed that I hit almost every full toss whereas full tosses previously I've struggled with. So again I have to say I'm quite optimistic about the idea of batting further up the order this season and beating my all time best score which is a paltry 16!

Then there was the bowling...

What happened - after the ropey performance at nets last week (previous post) and the comments about the run-up and movement through the crease feeling a bit odd, I committed to reinstating the run-up that I'd developed through November last year. 

Feelings - it felt promising and fairly rhythmical and as though given only a little bit of effort I felt that I'd got it pretty close to how it was going in November.

Good/Bad (Evaluation) -  Bad... There was some leg-side rubbish towards the end, where I was trying to bowl top-spinners. Good stuff, generally as mentioned before it came together fairly quickly and felt good and was obviously much faster than I was bowling last year. When the top-spinners did come out right they caused Joe some real problems with the extra bounce. 

Analysis - I definitely need to do a couple of things. During this session I wasn't consciously thinking about getting up on my toes, so I'm not sure how well I was doing that at BR (Ball release), the other aspect that may need to be looked at is the delivery stride? Other than it all felt really good and the ball was turning off the surface and was on a nice length, Joe was having to come down the crease to hit on the full and in doing so if it turned or he timed it wrong he'd have been stumped numerous times, so in a way a big improvement over the club net session where he was coming down the wicket and smashing it while it was still in the air. Legs feel (as I suspected) as if they need some work on them, upper body strength is good, press-ups and planks are seeing to that along with some other stuff I'm doing that I picked up from Cricket Strengths website. 

Conclusion - things look to be on track with Easter break coming up and two weeks off. I need to start working on leg strength and stamina, although stamina-wise I'm pretty good usually, but I definitely need to do aerobic work as my recovery rate at the minute is probably not that good. 

Action Plan - Try and have another session tomorrow, take a camera and record the bowling action and have a look at how it's coming together. Start  incorporating leg strengthening exercises and start doing some power-walking/running training for 20 minutes a day if the weather permits or every other day at the start to allow recovery. 

So, hopefully we'll have another fine early spring day tomorrow and with a bit of luck we might get out early and perhaps get in the cage at Markham's Chase for a session?