It used to be the case that video analysis was reserved for the world of professional cricketers who could afford such luxury.
But with the cost of video equipment declining, it's now true that grass-roots players can use video to review technique and instantly use the feedback to improve.
But it's not just a matter of setting up your camera and filming yourself biffing random bowlers in an 8 minute session. At least, not if you want to get a true benefit.
That's because the art of skill development in batting and bowling is not just practice for the sake of it, it's practice with purpose.
Here is how you avoid wasting tape.
How to set up a video session
The key to video is that it needs to be convenient and unobtrusive. You shouldn't need to change good net practice because a camera is set up.
So step zero in this process is to make sure you are already having good net sessions with a clear purpose.
- Goal of the session (tactical or technical)
- Conditions (bowler, match situation, pitch conditions)
Once your purpose and principles for the session are clear - it doesn't have to take a lot of time to decide, 2 minutes before you start can be plenty - you can set up the camera.
Mark Garaway's excellent guide here can help you get the best position.
Also, consider using more than one angle, as many technical points need multiple views to get the whole picture. The set up time is barely any longer and using software with PV/VIDEO or similar, you can pull the feeds together on a laptop.
Use instant feedback
Once you are set up and rolling, it's time to get practising with your goal in mind.
But video works best when you are using it for deliberate practice, not just practice. So, you need to start getting feedback instantly.
Say, for example, you are working on your back foot drive, but you are falling over into the shot. It's a common technical flaw. So you set up the bowling machine for back of a length and start hitting.
In a usual net you would keep plugging away, hoping you would find that secret position. Perhaps the coach would throw some feedback in to help (if there is one there).
With video you can play a shot, and review it right away.
- Was it the right ball for the shot (machines and feeds can go bad)?
- Did you look well aligned and balanced?
- Did you make contact under the line of your eyes?
If something isn't working you can try correcting your course. A bit like an aeroplane autopilot is constantly correcting based on the feedback loop of direction.
But without instant feedback - at least every few balls if not every ball - error correction is left to guesswork.
This is another advantage of PV/VIDEO. You could use any camera but you have to rewind and replay. PV/VIDEO logs each shot or ball bowled uniquely in your database so you can go back to it to see improvements.
Here is a great example of a young batter using video for instant feedback with his coach:
You can see before he reviewed he is clearly falling over because he is not well balanced. However after reviewing he looks way better:
That's an example of how video can help you make those quick course corrections.
Alongside the instant feedback, you can use video to reflect more deeply between sessions.
This is an important part too because reviewing wheat went well, and what you need to work on next will help you make step changes as a bowler and batsman.
So make sure you go over the videos, compare them to other sessions and see how your performance is changing.
That way you can nip bad habits in the bud as well as pick out good elements you need to maintain.
Overall, video is a great tool, but is only as useful as you make it. So take full advantage by setting up the cameras right, training with purpose, using instant feedback and reviewing everything afterwards to draw better conclusions.