How much practice is right for you? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How much practice is right for you?

At every level of cricket there are the practisers and the non-practisers. Both jealously guard their methods as right for them, but which way will get you more runs and wickets?

At club level it seems the practisers can never get enough: Always at nets, always looking for someone to help with a minor technical point, getting to the gym and constantly thinking about their game. Meanwhile the non-practisers are getting on with other things. If they train at all it's just to go through the motions. They are happy to rock up 5 minutes before the start of play, confident they will perform well.

Then there is the third type who we will come to shortly. First, let's look at the cases of practice vs. non-practice and find out what is best for you.

The case for practice

There is little doubt that improvements can only be made through practice. Even the strictest non-practiser would agree.

A natural extension of that is to practice as much as possible. As we often say, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill. The average club player may never reach that level. Nevertheless, each hour logged is an hour closer to becoming the best you can be in the time available.

The problems for practice start when you try and turn this theory into reality.

Many club practices are undirected. It's hard to make any real improvements as a bowler if you are bowling in a net with three others to a slogger giving it the long handle. It's impossible to work on your on drive when you are facing 2 medium pacers bowling off short runs and a spinner putting the ball anywhere but the leg stump half volley you need.

Wicketkeepers can find it almost impossible to get decent practice. Getting someone to hit quality balls to them can be a massive challenge when everyone is trying to focus on their own skill.

An hour of undirected practice is an hour wasted and contributes little to your improvements.

This is not the picture at every club and school though. A good coach or organised captain can direct decent practice and help players work on specific areas and make improvements. It doesn't take much to set up.

If you feel the need to improve, perhaps with ambitions to play at a high level, this way of practice is for you.

The case for natural play

For the non-practiser even the most brilliantly organised training session is a waste of time. The only thing that matters is playing games of cricket.

Cricket is where you score runs and take wickets, not practice. If you are in a slump of form practice will not get you out of it, but playing cricket will. Practice is where you focus internally too much and end up with 'paralysis by analysis', unable to remember the joy of hitting a ball or the stumps.

In my experience this player is comfortable with their game. They have found a method that works for them at the level they play. They probably have no ambitions to improve further. All this adds up to the idea that there is not much point in practicing.

The big advantage of this attitude is that it allows you to play with confidence. You have worked out a method that has been successful. Even when things are going badly you know it is a blip and you will be back as long as you stick with what you know. For the practiser this kind of easy confidence can be a lot harder to achieve.

However, if you have ambitions beyond where you are now this method is severely limited. You might perform well without practice (especially if you have a certain amount of natural talent). One thing is certain; you will never achieve your potential unless you practice with purpose.

The problem child

As we mentioned at the beginning there is a third attitude too.

As a coach I don't mind if a player prefers to practice or stay away as long as they do the job on the pitch. The problem arises when you have someone who refuses to practice when they clearly need to.

For example, fielding is a team activity. One good bit of fielding can lift a side while a poor performance can make everyone's heads drop. It takes practice performed with real intent: what the professionals call 'game head'. The player who turns up to practice without game head on or worse does not turn up at all is letting the rest of their team mates down when they make an avoidable error.

This can be avoided with the right team attitude. The coach and/or captain can insist on a certain approach. If you want to do well this may be as severe as 'no practice, no play'. If your side plays more for fun then the attitude may be that you are prepared to drop catches regularly. Or perhaps you can sit somewhere in the middle, giving players freedom to choose but letting them know the consequences of a mistake.

How do you and your team practice?

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Pretty much the undirected type of practice (it's at school).

Only thing is: I go to all practices I'm able to, and get given 2nd priority to those who don't turn up. What do you think I can do about it, if anything?

Sounds frustrating. Perhaps you (or a parent) could explain your feelings to the teacher or coach who takes you for cricket. They may not realise you are feeling hard done by.

Cool, thanks, this has given me an idea.

I wouldn't have minded the situation normally but our captain is away half the time at the gym, and our self-proclaimed 'vice-captain' doesn't even come to trainings, even though I'm, so to say, 'next in line'.

Let us know how you get on Daniel.

Hi david i dont know how much to practice i train about 3-4 times a week should i practice more or less.

It depends, what type of practice is it?

Net practice 3 times a week and 1 fitness session a week and I play 3 games a week

I do also like practicing and im a believer in practice. i hate to rock up on saturday havent not practiced

Well that sounds like an excellent start. How old are you and what type of net practice?

Oh and what are your goals?

im 13 i play under 14, under 16's and seniors cricket. Well my goals are to score a bit more attacking as last year i was scoring like 12 of 10overs and im trying to learn to hi the gaps and roate the strike a bit more also i having being trying to practice facing spin bowling as in mens cricket I seem to go out to them a bit. At the nets i try to simulate matches by menatlly placing fields and trying to hit into the gaps. I have my own bowling machine and I have one practice a week on that and the other 2 lessons I try to facenormal bowlers

That sounds like you have it under control then. Set yourself some practice-based targets and don't forget to do some 'free' type play out of the nets. You learn just as much from messing about with your mates as you do from formal coaching.

How much do you train in the pre season and in the summer?

Is there any way to practice my running between wickets and any ideas on how to score a bit faster. is there also any drills that I can do by my self for batting.

it kid of depends where you are technically. Most players will improve their strike rate with an improvement in technique. Plus at your age some boys are more developed and therefore stronger so they can hit the ball hard and score quickly. Time is on your side though, just work on technique and the strength will come.

As for running, you need to do it in a team session. Ask your coach to set a few up. Or you could play in the park with some mates. Nothing like getting run out in one of those games to teach you stuff!

should i be doing some drills in the week plus with net sessions. Are drills good to do or are nets better.

There is no one best way. Each has an up and down side. It's very much down to personal choice and experimentation but generally nets with a bowler are good good for learning how to read a bowler, nets with a machine are good for grooving technique, basic drills are good for technique and middle practice is good for improving tactical and mental skills.

Thanks david i will try to do all three of them during the week

You don't have to do everything all the time. Find the right mix for you and stick with it until it stops working!

Also do you know any good crikcte batting drills that are good to do

Depends on your goal again Ryan.

Firstly thanks for the website, it is really useful.
Although I definitely fall into the first category when it comes to train due to work commitments I sometimes miss practice. However, being a nervous person, with Cricket no exception, I sometimes feel an almost obsessive need to practice. I basically worry that the difference between 0 and 100 are the 50 odd throw downs I might get on a Friday afternoon the day before a game. Do you recommend some last minute practice with only purpose really being getting bat on ball or is it better to forget about it and go into the game with a clear head?

Hello David
At my school it is clear to me that our "coaches" have never paid a visit to pitchvision academy at all. Sometimes I think that they want to coach us in the worst way possible Puzzled Our net sessions usually consist of about 10 fast bowlers with very long run ups, me and an off spinner and two batsman trying to whack every ball out of the net as far as they can. If I ask one of the "coaches" what I am doing right and wrong in my action, if they have any advice for me, etc. they just say that we'll talk about it tomorrow (as if we talked at all today) and its pretty obvious that they know nothing about spin bowling. The only "advice" I ever got from them was that I shouldn't float the ball that much because according to them I'm just floating the ball with no pace, but clearly they don't see the dip, amazing drift, vicious turn and metronomic accuracy. I did what they said to do and didn't give the ball as much flight and batsmen were suddenly able to drive me because my deliveries weren't as high above their eyes, my "coaches" didn't even notice because they were to busy just standing and doing nothing. In only one month I have learned more than I could possibly imagine from PitchVision Academy and Peter Philpott's book, and from one year of "coaching" with the "coaches" at my school I have learned less than nothing. This is very frustrating! Is there any way that I can get useful practice from a useless situation like those net practices? I am not able to educate my coaches on the pro's and con's of net practices its like having a debate with a rock.

Living in the USA, there is no such thing as organized cricket training. If it does exist it costs a fortune because there is no supply but enough demand. After a 6 months of not playing any cricket because I was in a different city, I decided to hit the nets for 3 days straight and take a day off before the actual game. It helped me to get some rhythm for the match but it did not prepare for the on the field adjustment I should have made. You see, the nets are indoors and when its windy and cold outside in the morning, the body reacts differently, the ball moves differently, and I felt that those three days of practice did not help me to be successful. However, playing that match, I realized what I need to work on and now I can apply that to my self training. I am 27 y/o club cricketer, medium fast bowler.

For example, Number one I am not in match shape or any shape at all. That needs to be resolved outside the nets.

#2 If the ball is swinging yards and I have no control because of the elements I must make an adjustment. Like bowling from closer to the stumps to actually changing the sides to create a completely different angle. Or forgoing the pace altogether. That can be done in the nets.

#3 Getting the body lose enough. Even after I had done usual cricket stretching, running to warm the body up, my muscles just weren't up for it on that day. Which means I may need to hit the nets more often for those muscles that are used frequently to be warm and ready throughout the week.

#4 The little niggles. My big toe hurts and I need a better pair of cricket shoes. Dove for the ball and scratched my knee quite bad, when I was bowling it was hard while I was striding. It wasn't that it was hurting, it was just uncomfortable.

I have no idea why I am posting this, I guess posting in on a forum like this helps me think about what I need to do.

@Hussain - If there's one lesson to learn from all of the advice and articles that are on PitchVision, my view would be that it is that you have to find ways of motivating yourself to actually go out and practice and repeat and do it in a mindful way.

I'm sure that David and his colleagues would agree that you are at least going in the right direction by having an idea of the things that you need to do and to "fix" in your list, which is always a start.

I would say that, as far as there not being enough "supply" of organized cricket training, this is something that you may need to take into your own hands if paying for coaching is unreasonable: what facilities do the team you play for have, and how can you get the best use of them? Do your teammates have similar concerns, and can they be convinced to come together to practice more regularly, even without a coach - you may need to organise practice times etc.? What can you learn from your teammates and colleagues and put into practice in nets first - you may only need one or two people to help you develop something or work on a particular issue? What can you learn from PitchVision about techniques and training and how can you cajole teammates or friends into joining you in developing your own training sessions?

Hopefully these sort of questions can help you think about how you might be able to build up your own training sessions without needing expensive equipment or coaches!

Hi david i am 16 years old and i want to become a good pace bowler but i haven't gone for any coaching before but i do practise at my nearby ground, can i become a professional cricketer

Hi i did not play before any team i want to be a good batsman as well as a leg spiner bowler

How can I play county cricket for england i am living in balochastan i am 16 years old and studing 10th class and also my father does not have money‏ ‏i move in england please suport me my name is imtiaz ali