We duly set up a drill with a bowling machine to work on leg side takes.
The machine was previously set up for right arm over, pitching on off stump, so rather than adjust the machine we:
• Set the swing to 3 to send the ball down the leg side
• Set the speed on 55mph
• Moved the stumps forward in the net to allow space for the keeper
In a group of three; one person fed the ball into the machine as normal, one keeper acted as batsman and the third keeper was performing the drill standing up behind the stumps.
This should have been a great practice.
The problem was that even the best keeper was missing most balls down the leg side.
The basic drill was just too difficult and so it was hard to make improvements. The ball was swining even after it had pitched (a common trait of a bowling machine delivery) and was swinging away from the gloves.
This was de-motivating the players, but I wanted a reliable way to practice leg side takes using the machine so I spoke to Garas when I next saw him.
The solution was simple; drop the length back to shorter than you would normally get in a game. This makes it much easier to see the ball pitch and gives the keeper a better chance.
As he gets better, the length can be pushed up again to a more normal length for the bowler.
The success rate should be around 80-85% before increasing the difficulty. It’s also possible to drop the speed back for the same reason (although on artificial surface nets you may have to watch the excessive bounce, we find 50mph is about as low as you can go before the “tennis ball” effect kicks in).
The new drill seems to be much more effective with good reports coming from the games played following the leg side work of the keepers who did the drills.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
by David Hinchclife, PitchVision Academy
© 2013 miSport Ltd