How to Practice Cricket Without Nets | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Practice Cricket Without Nets

Maybe you don't have access to nets. Maybe your club nets are not very good. Maybe you are fed up of having the same old nets every time.


Whatever it is, it's time to get creative and start improving your cricket without nets.

Here's how.

Middle practice

A good old-fashioned game is often the answer.

If you have access to an old pitch, and a friendly groundsman, you can get the team together to play in the middle. There are lots of ways to do it, here's threee ideas:

However you choose to do it, rack up the pressure, get everyone to field their hardest and play out the scenario to learn some tactical skills.

Specific practice

If middle practice is about open-ended tactical skills, use specific practice to do more on certain things.

Using your old wicket you can work on specifics too. For example, if you want to improve sweeping, spinners can bowl, batsman can try to sweep and everyone else can field on the leg side to get the ball back.

You can do the same for any shot that is played to a good ball. Although, avoid working on "bad ball" shots like driving, cutting and pulling as bowlers won't be happy about being asked to bowl badly!

What you can do as a compromise is "specific side" practice: Batsmen can only score on either the off or leg side (perhaps even saying only in front of square if you're being strict). Fielders stick to one side and bowlers look to get their lines right for this kind of batting.

Technical practice

Working on technical skills is easy without nets because this area barely needs nets anyway.

Batsman can use throwdowns, drop feeds and underarm feeds to drill the right positions to hit the ball.

Bowlers can do the wide range of tent peg drills to get into better positions.

Fielder, yes fielders too, can work on catching and throwing technique. It's amazing how many cricketers disregard this part of the game, but makes such a huge difference when you work on it.

In my experience, club players are terrible at this part of their preparation. Most people just want to either bat or bowl and never even consider doing any technical work. This is foolish. Simple drills not only work to improve your game, they are also an excellent way to fill any down time at practice.

You don't even need space or lots equipment for this. Great players of the past have often been fine with a stump, wall and golf ball. Get creative and get into it!

Mental nets

Another less regarded part of the game is mental preparation. Yet, so much of the game is played in the head, getting your brain right is a huge contributor to your success as a cricketer.

Often this mental training is a simple chat with coach or team mates who have an understanding of the mental part of the game: dealing with nerves and pressure, staying focused during games, getting ready for games in the right way and so on.

Carve out some time to chat these things through with guys you trust in your team. It's amazing what you learn if you just ask for some advice.

There's also nothing stopping you from doing a bit of visualisation.

It's not as hard as you think, or reserved for pros. It does take time to get used to. You have to clear time and space to really do it. However, visualising for 20 minutes a couple of times a week is proven to be as effective as having a net (possibly more so, depending how well a net is run).

So, take some time to think about where your mental game could be improved (anything that is not directly tactical, technical or fitness is mental game). Then get some drills in that help you develop. Even if you think it's a waste of time, surely it's better than sacking off training altogether!

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