This simple drill boosts running and fielding confidence.
One of the things that distinguishes better cricketers is their ability to pick up quick singles, but it is hard to train well. With this drill you can show batters exactly how many they can pick up, while helping fielders work on stopping those runs.
The only extra gear you need is a stopwatch.
The drill is in two parts.
Part 1: How quick single?
This is part fitness training, part cricket skill. Mark out 22 yards to run between. Warm up as this is sprint training and the chances of injury are higher. Have someone with a stopwatch ready then,
Run a three as fast as you can, record the results.
Rest for 2-3 minutes to allow a full recovery.
Run a single as fast you can, record the results.
If everyone on the team does this, you have a leader board of how fast a single and a three is taken. A side benefit is you will know how fast people are, but the main benefit is everyone knows how long it takes to get to the other end from a standing start.
Generally, if you are under three seconds, you are doing all right.
Now we can do something with this information.
Part 2: Can you make it?
Set up a fielding drill where the goal is to get a run out.
The fielding position can be anywhere in the ring. Point, square leg, mid on and mid off are good starting points. Here is an example drill where for point hitting the non striker's stumps:
The drill is simple because you will have your stopwatch again.
This time you time how long it takes to pick up the ball and get it over to the stumps. The ideal is to hit them, but we are mainly working on how fast you can get to the ball and get it away, so it's not crucial.
Spend some time trying a few different ways to cover the ground faster, get a clean pick up and throw the ball accurately. See what method gives you the fastest results.
Once you have had a few goes, compare times.
You will find that it is very difficult to execute a direct hit run out within the time it takes to get to the other end.
This should give your batsmen more confidence that they can pick up singles in the ring, even when the fielding is tight.
Part 3: Put it together
From here you can progress the drill to middle practice where batsmen are trying to pick up as many quick singles as possible in a set time. Based on their times, they should get plenty more than they thought possible.
Taking that into a real match is a bigger hump to get over, but the more you practice this, the better confidence you can have in "engaging autopilot" and rushing up the other end, knowing you will get in every time.
(And the fielders will get better at hitting the stumps with all that practice!)
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