How big are your players catching areas?
Super slow motion cameras are great for noting the size of catching areas in both keepers and fielders. Often, we see that catchers line the ball up with one open hand and more closed one, this is great if judgement is spot on or if the ball does not dip or deviate in the air.
Yet as we know, we are human and sometimes our judgement is not 100% precise.
This drill will help to increase player's catching area on flat catches, nicks to slip and edges to the keeper, giving the catcher a bigger margin for error.
And believe me, this is a good thing!
Opposite Side and Dip Drill
Put your right hand behind your back and ask your coach to feed underarm balls into that side of your body aiming between your hip and your shoulder initially.
The aim is to catch the ball with your left hand by dipping your left shoulder, turning your hips slightly and twisting so that your left hand faces the oncoming ball.
The more your dip, the more catching your hand will have to take the ball.
Catch 5 on the right side with your left hand and the 5 on your left with your right hand.
Repeat this 3 times and note both your catching ratio/% and the comfort level as your body starts to process the movement.
Increase the pace gradually as competence rises.
Introduce your other hand
This time, catch the ball with both hands, yet maintain the process of dipping and twisting the hips.
Note how big your catching area feels as both your outside hand (the one that you have been training) and the hand nearest the body are now pointing at the ball for longer as it travels towards you.
Get someone to video your catching before you start the process and then compare the outside hand 'shape' and catching area with the footage after you have trained it using this drill. The results are brilliant.
- Underarm throw or hit from a length off of the pitch to simulate a wicketkeeper standing up to spin or medium pace. You get in your stance as you would normally yet put one hand behind your back as outlined in the drill above. After a number of one handed, dipping drills bring the other hand into play and note the difference in catching area. Brilliant for catching the big nicks that often elude keepers.
- Throwdowns bouncing into length to the keeper.
- Spin bowlers bowling into length to the keeper.
These drills can also be used in a warm up as they are fun, it's good to get players doing something that they wouldn't normally do i.e. keeping wicket. Also it's improving technique in an implicit fashion.
For more general fielding and keeping worj you can use the following progression:
Get the player into into the ready position and hit a tennis ball randomly to either side (between hip and shoulder). The drill is to only use the opposite hand to catch the ball and only use this dipping motion. Then after 5 goes each side, bring in the other hand and notice your catching % rise.
It's great fun and massively productive. Now that's a good drill in my book!