Has it been a while since you got to nets? If so, this article for you.
Many club cricketers find it hard to train: Family and work commitments - and maybe even a lack of motivation - all add up to many weeks passing without a jot of practice.
You're not alone, so don't be ashamed.
Of course, it's not ideal, but you can pack a lot in to your available time if you do the right stuff.
Step zero is getting to nets.
We all have life away from cricket, but there are times you can get to practice. It's easy to come up with reasons not to go - it's wet, you don't like the drills the coach does, you're tired or something else - but it's always better for your chances in a game if you get tough with yourself and turn up.
For most of us, turning up is the hardest part.
Often it's down to your mindset. Guys who train more tend to have a growth mindset, so find a way to get along. Guys who train less are in a fixed mindset, fearful of looking bad because they are out of form and are looking for reason to not go.
So, use a growth mindset and get to practice as much as you can.
Focus on one thing
When you get to nets the temptation is to bowl a bit, bat a bit, take a few catches and go home.
Avoid this generalised training.
Instead, focus on something that can help you.
It really doesn't matter what it is. The point is there is always something you can use as your focus.
Here are 40 options for batsmen. Remember you only usually get 10 minutes or so in your live net, so you may as well get focused as there is only time for one thing.
You can come up with an equal number for bowlers.
When you focus on trying to improve, you get better. When you try and do a bit of everything you might just about stop getting worse. But you won't get better.
In a two hour team net session you will end up bowling for most of it.
If you have not played for a while this is a recipe for, at best, soreness. At worse, you pick up a strain from overdoing it with muscles that have not seen action for a while.
Why risk it?
Instead, make sure you warm up before you touch a cricket ball.
Then, manage how much you bowl.
If 30 minutes bowling is enough for you then don't do more. Get in other stuff; fitness work, drills, fielding work and so on.
If you feel guilty about not bowling all session then learn to use a sidearm and use it. You don't get sore from sidearm throwing, and it doesn't matter if you bowl half volleys!
Have some fun
Sessions don't have to be all serious all the time. Cricket is supposed to be fun!
You can do other stuff at nets other than run yourself into the ground. You can take five minutes to do a drill that makes you look silly if it serves a greater good by pushing your ability. And you can laugh at each other along the way.
You can take a session where there is greater focus on reflection and rest than on a lot of activity. Sometimes, thinking about things is as important as doing things.
Maybe even "standing about" is fun, if you do it right.
- Coming back to nets can be tough.
- The hardest part is turning up.
- When you can get alone, stay focused.
- Avoid overbowling, there is plenty more you can do.
- Most of all, enjoy yourself, whatever happens!