By David Hinchcliffe, Director of Coaching, PitchVision Academy
How easy is it to “just bat” in nets, and not be as engaged as you would in a game?
Here’s a drill that keeps you on your toes while you are in the nets, but is easy to set up and doesn’t disrupt the session. It’s good for bowlers too.
The team I coach did this drill last night and it got rave reviews from everyone. Here is how it works.
First, write down – on a white board or paper 6 or 12 skills that can be done in nets.
Here’s our layout:
As you can see, the batting options were to defend, drop and run, play the ball on its merits, power hit (or sweep), or hit a boundary. You can choose anything to make it more relevant to the skills you want.
The bowlers had their own skills to perform, depending on whether they are a spinner or seamer. Again, the choice for your team is up to you.
The snapback of fate
Before each bowler bowled, they rolled a die and called out the required outcome to the batsman. They then tried to bowl the type of ball listed.
We didn’t have a die to roll to find the number in the session, so I improvised and wrote numbers on a piece of paper, put them in a club snapback and made it our very own Harry Potter style sorting hat. The bowlers picked from the hat.
And that is the extent of the drill.
Simple and easy and provides a much better focus for both batter and bowler.
What was the feedback like?
- Bowlers found it useful to try more skills that just running in and mindlessly trying to hit the off stump.
- Batsmen enjoyed the mix of premeditating – like you would in a T20 – and playing more orthodox.
- One batter complained that he didn’t like the defensive option because you would never premeditate a defence (next time we may change that).
- Everyone enjoyed the session and was fully engaged with it right up to the end (which can be a challenge).
Next time you hit the nets, mix things up and give it a go. It works like a charm.