Have you ever wondered how to make yourself invaluable to the team?
Runs and wickets are vital of course, but a good fielder becomes a critical member of the team. If you can save 20-30 runs and take great catches your place in the side becomes vital.
This is especially true for younger club players who may find themselves pushed to the first team purely on their fielding skills. Once you have that chance you can keep yourself in the team.
Even Shane Warne, not the greatest of athletes, rates good fielding as important as good batting and bowling:
"Trust me - cricket is a game of three disciplines. So many of my wickets in Test matches have been taken in partnership with brilliant fielders. In fact, I was very lucky for a number of years to have the two Marks fielding around the bat for me. Honestly I can't think of too many slip fielders in my career that could compare to Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh."
Heres how you can improve your fielding skills:
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- Consider fielding as an equal skill - When you go to your club net practice, make sure you divide your time into equal parts, including fielding. Before the game, use your warm up as fielding practice. Have fielding high in your mind with all your preparations.
- Practice - To improve in any skill you need to repeat it 10,000 times correctly. That means you should never miss a chance to improve: From complex fielding drills with your team mates to throwing a tennis ball against a wall on your own.
- Get fit - Good overall fitness means faster reactions, stronger throws and faster sprinting.
- Improve your hand-eye coordination - Don Bradman used a stump and a golf ball. You could go the whole hog and get this book on improving your sport vision.
- Improve your concentration.