Recently I arrived early for a net session and a young left arm seamer was there alone bowling at the stumps.
I watched him for a few minutes and his length seemed to vary quite a bit. As I knew him quite well I wandered up and asked him where he was aiming to pitch the ball.
Surprisingly he wasn't quite sure.
He was just running up and wanging it down.
I had some flat marker discs in my bag so together we walked down to the striker's end and put down a couple of discs to mark out the area he was aiming for.
The front one was slightly fuller than a good length, the back one slightly back of a length.
He then had a crudely marked area to aim at.
And it immediately improved his accuracy.
OK, he wasn't suddenly putting every ball on the spot, but it was clear he was hitting the target area more regularly mainly because he had a target area to bowl at!
And that is the difference between practice and deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice vs. plain old practice
Practice doesn't help you get better; it just stops you from getting worse. But that's what most club and school players do all the time.
On the other hand, deliberate practice gets you to improve.
Deliberate practice is designed with a specific goal and you can get instant feedback on that goal allowing you to make adjustments until you get it right.
And for bowler's that means the dull repetition of running up and trying to hit a target again and again.
It's not fun, it's not easy but it works.
And most people won't bother doing it.
So imagine how much better at bowling your team would be if every bowler did more deliberate practice. Like for example what club leg spinner Dave is doing here to improve his leg spin accuracy. (Dave took up leg spin late in life but has taught himself to be a good leggie purely by deliberate practice).
One easy way to motivate players (or yourself) to do more is to show how the practice is working over time.
You could log every ball with a pen and paper, but that can be time consuming and inaccurate unless you do it in pairs. Or you could use PitchVision to track every ball automatically and send the results to a laptop or mobile phone (via Bluetooth). Over time, PitchVision builds up a picture of how fast and accurate you are bowling.
Instant feedback and long term results tracking.
In other words, the perfect tool for deliberate practice.
If you want to know more about PitchVision for your club, school, Academy or organisation, contact Neil Fairbairn to arrange a demo.
image credit: Alasdair Middleton