9 Tips for club wicketkeepers | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

9 Tips for club wicketkeepers

  1. Practice properly. It's amazing how little the skills of wicketkeeping are practised. You need to do more than field a few throws before play. During training you need to spend as much time as you can working on all aspects of your game. That means keeping in the nets, working on specific drills with a coach, taking part in catching drills without the gloves, footwork with ladders and cones and glovework standing up and back. A good tip before play is to get the opening bowlers to work with you on the edge of the square (after a full warm up). You get the gloves warm and they get to build some rhythm.
  2. Think about your crouch position. If you are like most club keepers you crouch by bending your knees fully. This usually leads to your heels lifting up through the poor flexibility caused by modern living. In fact, this method puts a lot of pressure on your knees. In a recent study it was found that a crouch position with your knees bent less and your feet flat on the floor has no performance difference and takes the stress off your knees. Consider taking this stance with your feet slightly wider as it will reduce your injury risk and extend your wicketkeeping career.
  3. Know when to stand up. Standing up to seam bowling is all the rage. For many keepers it has become an ego thing to stand up to every bowler but you need to know when to do it. If the ball is moving around then you want to be back to have a better chance of getting the edge. If the pitch is flat and the batsmen are getting aggressive then getting in their face and putting them under pressure is the way to go. Practice standing up to faster bowling as much as you can but use the tactic sparingly.
  4. Play for the edge. Whether you are standing up or back, aim to take the ball in a way that is ready for an edge. When standing back this means being ready to dive. Some keepers recommend taking the ball 'on the inside' meaning you catch with your body to the side of the ball rather than right in front of you. This can be counterproductive when the ball is swinging around a lot though. If you are standing up the trick is to try and catch the outside edge of the ball with a wide catching area, giving you a little bit more chance of taking the edge.
  5. Be the focus in the field. While the captain is the general in the field, the wicketkeeper is the sergeant major. It's your job to keep the troops going through anything with plenty of team and individual encouragement. You need to bring the players back into focus any way you can. Often this means shouting support in a general way to remind people they are in the game. You should certainly praise any good cricket you see be it bowling or fielding. Sometimes you need to put your arm around a player individually or take the mickey (in a non-offensive way). Anything that relaxes the team and keeps them working together is good to do. Some teams like to return all balls to the keeper in the field (Even if there is no run out chance) to develop this further.
  6. Talk to the captain. The keeper is in a unique position to see things others can't. Take time to speak to the captain about the ball swinging or seaming, batsman's technique and state of mind and the pace or spin on the ball. A lot of captain's won't ask for that information but welcome it when you offer it so don't be shy and get involved in the discussion wherever you can.
  7. Get fit. Wicketkeeping is the most physically demanding position in cricket. It's even truer that the fitter you are the better you are. You need good work capacity, power in your legs to jump and dive, lightning reactions and quick feet. Don't skimp on working these areas during your training.
  8. Take returns in front of the stumps. Tradition dictates that throws should be taken behind the stumps to make sure direct hits are effective. But direct hit's in the club game are very rare so consider getting in front of the stumps sideways on. This will allow you to get to throws that don't reach the stumps and carry your hands through in an arc to take out the stumps. To do this effectively you need to plant one leg by the stumps to act as a guide because you cant see them. It takes some practice to take off the bails blind, but if you can do it then it's faster than waiting for the throw to come in while you wait behind the stumps.
  9. Use one glove. If you take returns from the field with only one glove on it will allow you to throw the ball to the bowlers end more quickly. It also has the added advantage of improving your catching because it's harder to take the ball cleanly. This also extends to throwing a glove off if you are required to field a ball on the ground to stop a quick single. In fact, I would recommend practising throwing down the stumps with one glove on to get used to the idea of turning and throwing.


Want to know the secrets of how to change a game with a moment of wicket-keeping brilliance? Pick up a copy of "Wicketkeeping Drills, Tips and Training" by Level 4 Coach Adrian Shaw  and become a better keeper today.

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Item 8. Does any successful international wicketkeeper endorse this ? There is only one I know of and I cannot recall any instance where this tactic has been shown to be of much value.

I don't agree on a concession that direct hits are rare - they are, but there impact is imense. I coach a team of 14 year old average cricketers, but I have two or three kids who are capable of throwing the stumps down from the outer edge of the inner field. The couple of times this season they have made direct hits the batsmen has been run out and on the occassions where they have been close, the wicket keeper nas been in position to take the ball either side of the stumps.

The idea that the keeper can judge which returns (presumeably coming in fast and low) will hit the stumps and which ones won't from in front or at the side of the stups and then let them through demands a level of judgement that is even beyond the one international keeper doing this. The impact of a direct hit on the following batsmen can make free flowing run scoring hesitant and is very heartening for the fielding team. Even close calls can remind the batsmen that they may be pushing their luck. Conceeding direct hits takes away an important element of attacking fielding.

Also standing up needs to be considered carefully. In my opionion it is tactic with specific goals. It is primarily a one day tactic to counter batsmen "going down the wicket" to medium pacers or to prevent late innings "running at every thing". If the keeper is not quite up to it and the bowling a little off you can leak byes. They one time this tactic was used against us we won by exact number of byes conceded by the wicket keeper standing up.

Other wise love your work - all topics very helpful, a great resource for coaching.

It's interesting that of all the controversial things I have posted about, the one that gets you going is about wicketkeeping!

Great points though Rob, I'll put up a post today or tomorrow to give the alternative view, just for the sake of debate.

[...] every day, try subscribing for free to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!My recent comments that wicketkeepers should take returns in front of the stumps caused a stir with Rob Sanderson: “I cannot recall any instance where this tactic has been [...]

Hi Jim. Photos i received. Thanks

Who's Jim?

[...] do like about Prior in the field, and I feel all keepers can do with little fear, is his job as the Sargent Major of the fielding side. The keeper is the natural centre point in the field anyway but it’s easy to add in [...]

I need help, is there anyone who knows any footwork and hand speed drills?

wicketkeeping is my favourite position in cricket

Wicketkeeping is the vocal point in fielding you can RUNOUT STUMP AND TAKE catches it is a very good way to get into a international team because not many players like cricket the wicketkeeper must always remain on his toes as he has to expect every deliivery to come to him he does not only save runs he takes wickets too.If you are good in batting and keeping you can be easierto become a allrounder than other players The worlds top 3 wicketkeeper batsman are ADAM GILCHRIT-AUS KUMAR SANGAKKARA-SL AND MS DHONI-IND IT IS MY FAVOURITE POSITION AND SOFAR I HAVE got 15 stumpings and 2 catches in SSC and FICA matches this is vinukh kalansuriya reporting from no. 26 E.S. fernando mwt.col.6 I LOVE WICKETKEEPING.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

plz send keeping position photos

iam a young wicket keeper my rolemodel is adam gilchirst i want to be like him in my life

I like all this advice but #8. I'm sorry but this is bull****. This idea was attributed to Woolmer as SA coach; good man but wrong on this. No hand can move as fast as the thrown ball and no one in front of stumps can tell if the ball will hit or not. OF COURSE if the ball is landing short you come to meet it. Same principle in football for keeper. If the ball is in front of you, you can come to meet it; but come near post you can't know what's behind you.


Studies have clearly shown it to be quicker than waiting for the ball then moving the hands back to the stumps. However, the question is this; in non-televised games where line calls are much harder to judge, does it matter?

I disagree.

I'm 16 and keep for my clubs 5s, and, yes, we do get some direct hits. But the amount of times I get the ball not reaching me or coming to me at an awkward height on a bounce is ridiculous.

I've tried this in training and it helps a lot. It reduces the chance of you missing a chance as the ball has bounced straight through or out out of your gloves from a poor throw.

We don't play international standard where nearly every throw is straight over the stumps, and in an adult team where we don't do that much fielding practise it really helps to stand in front of the stumps

I agree with most of the comments above. But with everything it all comes down to what feels comfortable. For example keepin up to the stumps can reduce batsman walkin down the pitch but of a keeper isn't too confident then they can back away and take the ball moving back. In which case will result in higher chance of leaking byes and still no better chance of a stumping.

Also with the second point of keeping with your feet slightly more spread to keep your feet flat. I had tried this for a game and felt it just wasn't for me. Havin lower back problems I found that this technique put less strain on my knees but a lot more stain on my lower back. But as stated earlier it all comes down to personal preference

Overall great techniques for anyone looking to learn and/or refine their technique