Sample Wicketkeeper Skills Practice Drills
Some of these drills can be very dangerous. Ensure you take the correct precautions to prevent injury.
Basic Technique Drills Even if your basic technique is good, you can benefit from basic drills to stop you getting into bad habits. Use a simple throw/take technique standing up or back to the wicket. Let the thrower comment on your technique and suggest improvements. For this you will need a coach or another wicketkeeper.
Eyes Closed Take See here for details of this take. This is a good gentle drill for improving your anticipation and muscle memory skills.
Distraction Take This drill is designed to help you cope with a batsman distracting you. In a net or on a wicket, stand up to the stumps and have a partner throw the ball as fast as you feel comfortable with for a normal take. Use another partner as a batsman who will do all he can to distract you: Make sure his backlift obscures your eyeline, play and miss at the ball, step across the stumps and anything else that can be reasonably thought of.
Leg Side Take The difficulty of leg side takes is that you are blinded to the ball as it passes the batsman. Practising this improves your judgement, footwork and timing. Ideally this drill is done with 2 partners one to throw and one to act as batsman. The ball is thrown down the leg side at spin or medium pace and you must move to take it quickly. The thrower could also comment on technical points. As a variation the batter can block some balls, or try and distract you (as in the Distraction Take drill). If you only have one partner you can use a kit bag (or several bags) to obscure your view.
Long Catches This drill improves your judgement and depth perception from throws in the deep. Simply get a partner to throw to you from as far as possible. You can combine this drill with team deep fielding practice.
Reaction Take Place a bat with the handle facing the stumps on a half volley length. Use a partner to throw the ball at the bat, attempting to bounce the ball of it. This will cause random bounces and deflections that you attempt to take while standing up. You can also use a reaction ball for this drill. Another variation would be to setup a slip cradle or a chair facing cover point in front of the stumps.
High Bounce Take Taking a leaf from Bob Woolmer again, you can use this drill to develop taking balls that bounce unusually high. Place something solid like concrete or marble on a good length and get a partner to throw the ball so it pitches and bounces high and quick. It would be sensible to wear a helmet for this drill.
Poor Throw/Half Volley Practice Practice cleaning up poor throws by getting a partner the deliberately throw the ball at you on the half volley. For all the practices, make sure you train on an even surface and wear a helmet for extra safety.
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