Using technology to improve your cricket isn’t always about spending a lot of money. Sometimes you can get excellent results without a large investment upfront.
But you have to be careful too. There are many products on the market making big claims. Not all of them are as good as they make out. So here are 5 of my top picks for technology that you can pick up cheaply and make a difference to your game.
There is little doubt that expensive sunglasses do a better job (even if you are paying a premium for the name as well). That said, any shades are good if they protect you from harmful UV rays and equally harmful cricket balls to the face.
So if you can’t afford a pair of Oakley M-Frames, look at brands like Gray-Nicholls, Kookaburra and Sunwise to work as a reasonable replacement.
Utilising a specially developed type of foam attached to a fielding bat, the Skyer makes hitting high catches easy. As everyone needs to practice their high catching, this bat is a crucial addition to any team or coach kitbag.
The great thing about this tool is how quickly you see it working. A few weeks of high catch practice with the Skyer and you can see a significant difference to your catching skills. Of course there is no magic in the Skyer itself because you still need to practice, it’s just this bat makes it much easier to get going and reduce the number of bad hits from the feeder.
Bowling machines are expensive and research has shown that throwdowns are better for batsmen anyway. The problem is that you are reliant on the power of the arm of your feeder.
Sidearm – admittedly with a bit of practice – makes it easy to replicate the pace and accuracy of a bowling machine with throwdowns. It also has the advantage that the batsman’s view is much closer to facing a real bowler, rather than a ball shooting out of a machine.
But again the real benefits show themselves quickly in your batting. A few practice sessions with a batting buddy and you feel your confidence growing, and your average rising.
The Katchet has killed the old-fashioned catching cradle. The portable orange ramp is just as good for slip and wicketkeeper practice as a cradle without being as heavy, expensive or bothersome as the original.
If you are a bowler who has seen nicks put down then you should be first to help your slippers at practice with this tool.
5. Compression Garments
There is some controversy around the effectiveness of compression garments like Base Layers and Skins. The claims - that many back – are that they reduce post-game soreness and help you recover from a hard match.
I have seen professional players swear by them and find them useless, so this is a personal choice. If you suffer from a lot of stiffness in the days after a match, make sure you have the basics in place first then consider compression garments as a further option for your recovery.
What do you think?
Those are my main innovations that I use myself and find effective. What are yours? Leave a comment and let me know.