The cricket season is almost upon us, with the Australian national cricket team scheduled to go up against Bangladesh on Sunday, 27 August. For fans and professional cricketers, alike, there’s plenty to be excited about in the lead-up to this season. But it’s not just the pros who are getting ready for this season’s matches. There are countless more leisure and amateur players who are also in training.
Meulemans has been Australia’s favourite cricket store since our founding in 1963. We’re based in Western Australia, but we supply cricket bats to players across the country. Needless to say, we’re just as excited about this upcoming cricket season as you. With that in mind, we thought we’d share a few indispensable cricket training tips for the pre-season.
It’s Time to Change Up Your Batting Game
Now that the official season is almost here, odds are good that you’re heading outdoors for your training. This is an important transition, but it also presents a few challenges. Indoor net practice is good for keeping you sharp and in shape, but it also comes up lacking in some ways. In fact, indoor practice can create problems that need to be corrected before the season starts.
As former English cricketer Paul Nixon told All Out Cricket, indoor practice develops tendencies to simply smash balls into the nets and to try hitting every ball for four. That’s an unrealistic goal to begin with. When you move outdoors, it’s better to let the ball come and only try to drive when it’s close to a half-volley.
Here are a few cricket batting drills Nixon recommends to help you get ready for the season:
- Hit the Deck – In this drill, you put some cones just back of a length and have someone else give you feeds. Try hitting the ball to the ground, forcing it to strike the ground before the cones and then bounce over them.
- Feet in Treacle – For this drill, you stand in batting position with your bat up, and someone feeds you the balls. Keep your feet planted when you hit the ball. This stance forces you to play it late, which will help you sharpen your game.
- Front Dog – This drill is designed to train you to get your head over your front fit when batting. This is necessary when making the transition to outdoors, as grass on the pitch creates more friction than indoor turf. Get someone to feed you balls, and practise going forward to hit it under your nose.
The above batting tips will help you make the transition from indoor practice to outdoor play. But while we’re at it, this is also a good time to look into buying new cricket bats. You’ll find a fantastic selection available through our online store. And now, let’s move on to the rest of our pre-season tips.
Start Your Pre-Season Training Regimen
There are several other ways to get started training for the new cricket season. Every coach and trainer has their own repertoire, but most will likely encourage you to begin by working on the following:
- Identify Your Goals
What do you hope to accomplish in the coming season? Rather than setting performance goals (such as trying to score a certain number of goals), try aiming for higher-concept achievements, such as playing more confidently or bowling with more accuracy.
- Implement a Plan to Accomplish Those Goals
Once you have clearly articulated the goals that you have for the upcoming season, create a plan for how to accomplish them. For example, if you’re hoping to improve your in-game concentration, then you’ll need to schedule drills that foster concentration. If your goal is to boost stamina, then you’ll need to start doing endurance training several days per week.
- Make Your Weekly Net More Match Specific
You can accomplish this by setting specific scenarios in your net. For example, you could have two different batters square off against an imagined field setting for their respective bowlers. If the batter gets an affirmative call, they should run the number of runs they think is appropriate. This teaches them to be accountable for the shots they select.
- Bowlers Should Properly Mark Their Run-up
When bowlers are training on indoor nets, this is the right time to establish their bowling rhythm in order to ensure that they’re bowling from the right position. See to this now will go a long way in reducing the number of no-balls bowled during the regular season.
- Get Started with Middle Practice
Middle practice is when the bowler bowls an over against two batters who are located in the middle. Other players should see to fielding at this time. This gives the batters an opportunity to practice picking up singles whilst running between the wickets. Meanwhile, the other players will get practice handling the field under pressure. Generally, each batting pair goes for four overs.
- Step Up Your Fitness Game
In the preseason, it’s time to get started with some cricket-related fitness drills that will help build your endurance for those long sessions at the crease. Focus on interval training, as this is really going to prepare your body for the challenges ahead. Try running a two, followed by a few seconds’ break – and then repeat this about six times. Take a slightly longer break to recoup, and then repeat the cycle.
- Practise Spot Bowling
Another good pre-season drill for bowlers, spot bowling involves setting up cones to mark the area where a well-bowled ball should land on the striker’s side. Then bowl several overs to see how many times you can get the ball to land in the demarcated area. This helps to build rhythm and establish consistency.
With the season approaching, this is a great time to browse our cricket store online to buy cricket bats and cricket gear. Have a look at our selection, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us should you have any questions.