How do I know if I should wear a helmet? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How do I know if I should wear a helmet?

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Cricket inspires passion.

We’ll do anything to look the part on a cricket field, to belong and to feel part of the ‘tribe’ of cricketers.

And nowhere is this more a point of pain than the cricket helmet.

“Viv Richards didn’t need one.”
“It only restricts you.”
“Its health and safety gone mad.”

“They are only for matches, why wear one in the nets?”

These are some of the reasons I hear club cricketers tell me why they are not wearing a lid when facing a bowler or a machine.

Often I’ll arrive at a net session with under-14 or -16 players and the super keen boys are already netting without a helmet on (or sometimes without gloves and pads). I insist on proper equipment. They huff and puff and eventually put the gear on.

Many will say this is ‘nannying’ gone too far.

They stress nobody needs to wear a helmet until they are playing at a high enough level. To insist a 13 year old facing a medium paced 12 year old should wear one is crazy. He’s not going to bowl a bouncer is he?

But why risk it?

Anyone can top edge a ball into their face. It happened to a senior player in my team last season.

A fractured cheekbone, a Saturday afternoon at the hospital and 4 weeks off playing soon saw him invest in a helmet.

Plus, a helmet helps you feel secure as a batsman. You can go through with your shots with confidence.

Yes, part of the beauty of cricket is the toughness you need to face the fear of that little hard ball.

But how can you appreciate that beauty your career is over?

Whenever you feel like pulling a stunt off, just ask yourself that is the excitement of playing without helmet worth it?

When it can keep you away from playing the game you love it’s always better safe than injured.

image credit: scaglifr

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Surely it depends on the player? It takes a long time to get used to playing with a helmet. I never wore one until I was 18 when I was forced to wear one for a year through stupid government regulations. That year I constantly got hit by every bouncer that came my way because I lost the ball in the grille every time it was banged in short. I had bruises all over my chest and shoulders, broke my thumb and was constantly smacked in the head. My feet stopped moving and my confidence and form fell away. My average that year was 23, the only year since I was 13 that it has been under 40 - all because of the helmet.

I've never worn a helmet in the 10 years since then and have never been hit once. I'm happy to hook and pull against the quickest bowlers safe in the knowledge that my technique is such the man on the deep square leg boundary is in more danger of getting hit in the face then I am.

That's a great story to tell the other side of it AB. I'd still disagree but you are right when it comes to adults it's personal choice. Hopefully won't get sconed.

I suppose the reason for the article is to get player's to think WHY they are wearing a helmet (or not).

I have another story this senior player never wore and helmet either. Could play all the shots and never flinched once until the ball it something on the pitch and sent the ball to crack is left eye socket and leaving him partially blind in that eye. He now where and helmet every time still plays every shot without flinching and if he can find the ball through the grill, I think everybody else can with a little practice.

Personally, I've never been hit from a bowler, its got to happen soon enough, all it takes is the ball to slip out of someone's hand in a net. Being under 18 I have to wear a helmet, but its what I'm used to and I wouldn't have it any other way - I would only be tempted to take it off while batting on low wickets, or with spin at both ends.

Something to consider is being hit by a throw while batting - that has happened to me. For the people who claim not to need a helmet - do you have control over poor throws? If you're running a quick single, you don't care where the ball is, you want to get to the other end. Where the ball is is the last thing on your mind.

As the helmet rule has been in place for around 10 years now I doubt there are many juniors that give it a second thought. As you say it's not uncommon to turn up and see kids playing with one (likewise pads etc) but that is more down to eagerness and youth and the fact that they may only have 5 minutes to mess around in before the session starts and no time to get kitted up.

Adults have a personal decision to make - wear one or not. Personally, it depends on the situation and the standard I'm playing at. Indoors, where the bounce is higher I'll probably wear one. Playing in a pre season game where the bowling is average and the pitch damp I'll probably not bother.

I guess it boils down to what you are used to as a player. It does take time to get used to wearing a lid if you've not done so before and I can understand why players with 20+ years experience tend not to.

people who claim helmets are limiting clearly havnt heard of "adjusting the grill"

You shouldn't really be looking 'through' the grill, you should be looking through the gap in the grill, and even then, that's just for the .2 seconds it takes you to make a decision about what shot to play. Obviously people have trouble anyway but that's how I see it.

Gap between the *helmet* and grill, I should say.

Even in damp conditions against slow medium bowlers it's worth wearing one just to avoid the top edge into expensive dental work.

I currently never wear a helmet. But I want to! At the moment I feel I play better without a helmet. However I see the benefits of wearing one. Thats why when I train (and when I remember) I will wear a helmet to get me accustomed to wearing one whilst batting. I just now need to transfer that into a game.

I take your point about top edging one but I think it's a risk you take. I've been playing for a long time and can't really remember too many incidents of that nature. Then again, I support players wearing a helmet especially as juniors.

In the end, for adults, it boils down to personal choice. But you don't need many incidents, you only need one. I know it sounds like I'm trying to convince you to throw on a lid, and maybe I am a bit, but I do know in the end it's futile unless you personally want to wear one. What I'm really saying is, ask your self WHY you don't. If you have a good enough answer in your own mind then I'm happy (even if I disagree).

For me, on the occasions when I don't bother with a helmet it boils down to:

- habit
- laziness
- perceived lack of threat
- previous experience

That said, more often than not I'll wear one, however, I can appreciate why many don't. It is a generational thing and give it another 10 years and you'll see the majority of players wearing a lid, regardless of the standard/conditions.

I played in a game last season, we ask that all visiting team batsmen wear helemts, as such i said to the opening batsman if he can put one on. He said "there isnt anyone bowling today quick enough to trouble me" i was and after pitching a few up and him driving me i put one in short of a length he lost sight of it ducked and it hit him clean on the side of the head. he spent the next 4 hours having stiches and scans in hospital........ stupid thing was that he had a helemt in his bag !

I dont bat with out one, it only takes i pre season to get used to using one

Sounds like his own fault, you should always sway out of the way of bouncers when you're batting without a helmet, and avoid ducking as much as possible.

To be honest I think the difference for me is that I'm used to facing baseball pitchers without any protective gear on apart from those grill-less helmets. There are very few amateur bowlers in this country who don't seem ponderously slow once you get used to facing 80mph fastballs aimed straight at your head.

From a young age I learnt to wear a helmet; I'm a confident puller and cutter as well doesn't really bother me in the nets if I don't wear a helmet though, like if one's not available or if I don't bring mine. In games I just always have. just become second nature now to get it on.

when I'm playing juniors cricket I'm forced to wear a helmet, and rightfully so. However, when it comes to playing men's cricket, there's no regulation and occasionally I've been tempted to take the lid off. Over here in Australia, another issue becomes the heat. Last weekend we were pushing 35 degrees with 70% humidity at least, the conditions were terrible and the helmet made things feel twice as hot. In the end I got a bad lbw that made the thought pointless.

I ended up wicketkeeping later that day up to the stumps to the spinners without a helmet.

I also learnt to wear a helmet when I was younger because I copped one of a relatively full length up in my right eyebrow had a lot of stitches, so now I don't even think about whether I will or won't even if its a 38 degree day with 90% humidity and I'm taking the lid off to wipe the sweat off after every bowl.