Have you ever said to a batter "you have 6 balls left!", then they change their mode and just slog?
The damage that this does is immeasurable.
Any progress from the session is diluted or reduced. The batting shapes and thought processes evaporate.
Arguments ensue about whether it was 4, 6 or caught at deep mid on
The batter starts the next opportunity to bat with this poor experience running through their veins.
It's one of my biggest bug bears, and for years I have been trying to figure out a way around this.
A simple, effective way to improve strike effectiveness
I have been experimenting, and I think I have one option.
This has been built around the adage of "coach the intention; not the action" and ultimately has created a game within a game.
At a point towards the end of someone’s net session, inform the batter that they have a certain amount of balls left. For this example, we will make it a 12 ball game and our friend "Burners" is the batter.
The game is simulating the last 2 overs of an ODI or T20 match. The intention is to optimise the quality of striking under pressure.
The scoring system:
- Play and Miss = 0
- Edge = 1
- Good contact = 2
- Exceptional contact = 3
A perfect round is 36 points. At the end of the 12 balls, the player will have a score which can be used in a number of ways.
- Player to keep tabs of their score to set themselves challenges in repeat practice sessions
- Encourage Motivation and Focus at the end of net sessions
- Make it competitive within the group
- Selection criteria potential/Deployment within a game?
- Further Analysis
Now this is optional but you know I love a useful spreadsheet. It's formulas can help me to identify trends that develop and progress/regression over time. If we take Burners performance over 10 occasions where he took on the "12 Ball Challenge" then we can see that there are a number of trends that occurred:
- Whilst progression was not linear (it rarely is), we can see that Burners developed his striking quality over the journey from Test 1 to Test 10. This can be monitored on the line graph.
- The numbers in the spreadsheet also tell us a story of how Burners developed into a strong finisher (ball 11 & 12) in his final 3 Tests after a very poor/inconsistent finish on the same balls in his first 4 Tests.
- The bar chart shows that Burners averages 2 or more points on balls 1, 3, 8 and 9 which are his most effective deliveries.
- Can you map this against the players emotional state at those times?
- Can you map this against video footage that you take concurrently?
- Burners averages 1.775 per ball in these ten scenarios.
- Can he learn strategies/approaches that increase that his overall scoring effectiveness?
Have a go at the "12 ball challenge" and see if it makes any difference to the quality of your net sessions and starts to impact upon performance in the middle.
Then let us know how you go so we can discuss it here!