Wednesday 5 March 2014 

Could These Changes Transform Your Pre-Season Nets?

Alastair Cook
Can you transform your pre-season nets?
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

This year is going to be different. You are not going to waste your valuable net time by "having a hit" and "rolling your arm over". You are intent on practising with purpose because even at club level, the better you practice, the better you play.

And here are some simple ways to change nets for the better.

Improve Warm Ups

Warming up is a black art that is easy to overdo, as well as underdo (I'm looking at you "arm circles and a quick hammy stretch" guy. Yet, it doesn't have to be boring or lacking context.

Do all the good stuff: get your heart rate up, train the core and mobilise your joints, but also use it to:

  • Set an atmosphere for work: socialise afterwards. Treat every drop, bad ball or shot the same way you would in a crucial league match.
  • Start as a group and finish the group section with fielding drills. Catching practice in the winter is directly related to catches taken in the summer.
  • All batsmen get a few warm up minutes of technical work from gentle throw downs getting progressively harder. This grooves technique before entering the net.
  • All bowlers warm up with bowling in an empty net, starting with walking through, then jogging but still trying to hit their target line and length.

Improve Nets

Once you get into the meat of the session, decide on your goal as a player. Are you looking to improve your death bowling? Are you an opening batsmen? Pick a scenario that you can play out individually.

Then, split the nets into different scenarios, such as batting a long innings or hitting out at the death. You can also split the nets into pace and spin. Either way, bowlers bowl in pairs, 6 balls at a time. This keeps balls coming at the batsmen but allows bowlers to work as a pair and get the feel for bowling in overs. The batsmen can also bat in pairs and run. BATEX is a great option to guide your running.

As every net session has a camera now (as in mobile phones) you can use it to analyse your approach to the scenarios. How did you play the spinner?  How did you bowl to the slogger? Ideally, you will review the footage and adjust your plan accordingly. A coach is a big help here.

Forget the Net

Just because you have nets, you are not obliged to use them.

Don't be afraid to ignore the nets altogether and play games. Indoor cricket teaches you a lot if you set it up right. Plus it’s great fun.

Fielding is also often ignored and you can do plenty of indoor drills with the nets rolled back. You can use them to do more than improve your catching too. Running technique can be improved with some technical sessions.

Ultimately, even the best run nets and indoor sessions are restrictive. But you can always get something from them, whether you are a coach or captain trying to build a training culture or a frustrated player in a team that don't practice right.

With some or all of these tips put into place, your game is bound to improve.

© 2014 miSport Ltd

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