You only have to look at a great fast bowler like Brett Lee to see how important coordination is to cricket skill.
When Lee bowls, his muscles fire in a perfectly synchronised order to propel the ball towards the batsman at 90mph (145kph) or more. He is balanced and in rhythm.
A terrifying sight.
It’s no different for batting and bowling either. The skills of coordination underpin everything we do on the pitch.
But how do we improve coordination?
It’s about more than just practicing cricket skills.
Because well coordinated players are not just coordinated in cricket, they have skills that can be applied to any sport or physical activity:
- Good balance.
- Well timed and synchronised movements.
- Body awareness while moving.
And all these skills are trainable and will improve with practice, especially (but not exclusively) in younger players; 12 years old and below.
This doesn’t mean adding a load of extra drills that require a lot of starting, stopping, changing direction and fancy footwork.
Who has the time anyway?
But what you can do is take some time in training warm ups or before your gym sessions to work on areas that underlie cricket skills:
- Running technique drills
- Sprint starts from different positions (standing, lying, backwards)
- Simple jumping/landing drills
- Single leg exercises with bodyweight to improve balance (1 leg squat, 1 leg straight leg deadlift)
- Basic body awareness movements like crawling, rolling and jumping
It’s easy to make these things fun as part of a warm up with a group of players. Everyone will see the funny side if you are getting a cricket team to sprint to a cone, do a forward roll then jump over a mini-hurdle.
Just don’t let it get in the way of skills training.
Players like Lee don’t need this training because they are already so well coordinated. But if you are not in the same league (or you coach players who are not) then a bit of coordination work is a crucial part of making a better cricketer.
image credit: Gone-Walkabout