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Successful Pre-Season Training

Pre-season cricket training

Indoor facilities provide ideal environment for pre-season training

How will you know you had a successful pre-season cricket training?
The most important advice I can give to any cricketer is to set some goals for yourself at the start of your pre-season cricket training.
It does not matter if you are a school, club, provincial or international cricketer – it applies to all levels. The players who come out on top generally have a planned pre-season, with a set of goals they simply follow through on over the course of the season.
The best way to set these goals is to keep it simple – do not try and overcomplicate the goals and. Most, importantly, set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals.
Make the goal specific
When a goal is specific, it becomes easy to measure whether it has been achieved.
• Example: As a bowler, you would like to take 10 wickets for the season or have a specific strike rate. As a batsman, you want to score 200-plus runs during the season.
Make the goal attainable
There is a big difference between setting low and attainable goals. Be careful not to set a low goal that is easily reached. Rather set a goal that is not too far from reach – and is based on your previous season’s statistics.
The goal also needs to be based on what you feel you can deliver. Set a goal that will keep you motivated until the end of the season.
Make the goal realistic
Many people struggle with this, as they simply make a wish list.
Yes, you wish you could take five wickets and score a century every game. But, mate, be realistic – it’s almost never going to happen.
Look at your role in the team and speak to your captain and coach to discuss this during pre-season practice. Then consult your previous season’s statistics – this will give you a fair idea of what is realistic.
If you are an all-rounder, set realistic goals for bowling and batting. If your primary role is as a batsman, simply set realistic batting goals as your core focus.
Make the goal time-bound
During the winter in Cape Town, you won’t be able to get much done outdoors. Practicing in the indoor nets, then, is the best option. These training facilities work on a booking system – design a time and date schedule and make bookings in advance to ensure you can stick to your programme. Set markers within the season to reach parts of the goal.
• Example: You want 120 runs after your first five innings.
This way, you can measure and track your goals on an ongoing basis.
It’s September now – and cricketers are dusting off their kit and starting to plan their new season. Before you rush off to the nets, take some time to set your goals. Put your plan down in writing and always remember failing to plan is planning to fail.

Also read: When you’re in a spin and can’t win

When you in a Spin and can’t Win

batting advice getting out of slumoWhat do the greatest batsmen of all time do when they in a slump? They are just not timing the ball or feel out of sorts or when they find ways to get themselves out and they just simply in a spin.

Well the best advice is to return to the basics of batting, that means “packing” away the fancy crowd pleasing strokes, like the reverse sweep….if I see another high risk sweep going for one run I am going to scream….. no wicket is worth one run. Of course T20 cricket has not helped and we are seeing less and less batsmen who are capable of batting for sustained periods of time and actually wearing down a bowling attack. They all simple want to come in score at 200% strike rate. This trend has now found its way into test cricket and as a direct result we having test matches which do not even last 3 days never mind 5.  Run rates of a “pure” test match seldom uses to surpass 2 runs per over and batsmen would value their wickets, batting a full session was the order of the day.

So this article is to remind batsmen of what they need to do to ensure they can constantly be in a positon to score runs at a reasonable rate with a sound average which would add value to a team. Whether you are playing for the local friendly side or whether you are striding out to represent your county.

Let’s start at the nets, most batsmen have no game plan when striding into the nets, they simple go in and focus on hitting as much balls as possible and for me this is the incorrect approach. First decide what area you will be working on during the session, get into the nest and assess the wicket (just as you should in a game situation), so this would mean leaving a few deliveries and defending a few. The focus of the net session should centre around being dismissed as few times as possible.

The second important approach to a net practice is to take time to get your eye in. This used to be a popular saying on the coaching circuit, nowadays you don’t hear it. It’s get in a score from ball one, that may be ok when you playing T20s but not when striding out to bat in tough sub-continent conditions on day 3 or 4 of a test match.

The third important aspect of batting in the nets is to have a solid defence! A batsman cannot score runs if they are out, so when you play a defensive stroke play it with positive intent. This will help later in the innings when you start pushing the ball around and accumulate runs but more importantly it prevents you from settling into a negative mind-set.  A defensive stroke can result in an opportunity to take a single.

The last aspect of batting in the nets is to be looking to rotate the strike. No bowler enjoys it when two batsmen are rotating the strike well. This leads to the batsmen wearing down the bowlers and this is when you can capitalize on the bad balls that follows.

Remember even the great batsmen go through a bad patch… sometimes they feel that they are not sure where that next run is going to come from. They return to the nets and follow the basics and when the form returns all the wonderful entertaining strokes that we all enjoy returns. 

COACH STUART BOTHA