You never see a good side with a bad wicketkeeper.
By definition a team that is taking wickets has to have a brave, alert and vocal gloveman who holds his catches and keeps fielding standards high. Despite this, wicketkeeping skills are often ignored at practice.
It takes some effort from the coach, captain or keeper to set wicketkeeping practice work up. Feeding balls is boring for someone who could be bowling or batting instead, so nobody volunteers and the keeper feels too guilty to say anything.
Yet keeping is so important to the health of a cricket team. If you want to get an advantage this summer it’s time to recognise how important your keeper is to success in the field and make sure he is getting the practice he needs.
So how much practice is right for a keeper?
No wicketkeeper can catch too many balls, but time is always limited. A simple rule applies despite the exact time varying from team to team:
The golden rule of wicketkeeping practice
A specialist keeper spends at least a third, if not a half, of his practice time working on wicketkeeping (glove work, footwork and reactions).
So if a typical club net session is 60 minutes, your keeper needs at least 20 minutes working with someone to throw him balls. Half an hour is even better.
How much are you doing at the moment?
Of course, to do this well you need to know the drills that give the biggest ‘bang for your buck’. Luckily these drills require no more specialist equipment than some cricket and tennis balls. If you are feeling extravagant you can use a Katchet, but it’s not vital.
You can get the drills from wicketkeeping coach and former first-class ‘keeper Adrian Shaw and his online coaching course and eBook: Wicketkeeping Drills, Tips and Training.
by David Hinchliffe, PitchVision Academy
© 2011 miSport Ltd