Sometimes you just have to practice alone.
There is no one around to train with but you are eager improve your skills. A bowler can go to a net with a box of balls and practice hitting a target. Batsmen are not as lucky because they need someone or something to feed a ball.
But all is not lost.
At least not according to PitchVision Academy coach Dr Ganesh Dutt Chugh. He has been researching the effects of solo training on the concentration skills of cricketers. His findings have shown that you can make a significant difference.
It’s a story that most players have known instinctively for years. The tale of Don Bradman hitting a golf ball with a stump is almost as famous as the batting genius himself.
Dr. Ganesh looked to formalise and test this process to see if it could be replicated in less talented cricketers than the Don.
This was done by testing 30 player’s dynamic concentration (the ability to focus attention on a moving target). Then the players went through a 3 week program of tapping a ball on a bat for 20 minutes a day. The players were retested at the end of the study.
Improved dynamic concentration
The test results showed that after 3 week the players had improved their concentration scores by a significant margin. Bradman’s method (slightly adapted) had been put into the lab and come out with a positive result.
The drill was a simple one:
- Week one: the ball was tapped anywhere on the bat for 10 minutes, twice a day.
- Week two: The target area was made smaller, focusing on the middle only.
- Week three: That target area was reduced to the sweet spot on the bat only.
Of course, when you bat there is more to it than just being able to focus on the ball. You need to be able to judge the line and length, get in position early, and play the shot with good timing and technique all under the pressure of a match situation.
So the question is, can doing a simple drill that improves dynamic concentration generally be transferred to the more complex world of batting?
That is something that the scope of the study didn’t examine and needs further research.
But one thing we can know for sure now is that your concentration improves when you practice tapping a ball on a bat alone.
Reference: Dutt Chugh, G. “Tapping the ball on bat, an effective mean for developing concentration in cricket – A field study” (unpublished)