It’s the age old call of the coach; often used as a go-to phrase when something has gone wrong and they’re not entirely sure what.
Maintaining a body position that keeps the keepers head close to the height and line of the ball is important, so how can we help?
One area of wicket keeping that has improved is awareness of posture, encouraging a keeper to adopt the power position: knees bent close to 90 degrees, with similar flexion at the hips, keeping the chest a little more upright.
Assuming this position is one thing, but maintaining it whilst on the move is another. Pressing outside the off stump or shuffling down the leg side whilst maintaining that same flexion in the knees and hips requires significant strength in the quads,hamstrings, glutes, core and lower back.
Here are a couple of drills I use that work wonders in increasing a keeper’s mobility whilst maintaining their posture and body position.
The goblet squat shuffle
A goblet squat involves holding a dumbbell or anything else of weight in two hands with both forearms held vertically. Squatting down into a power position the keeper shuffles left and right, repeating the movements in each direction before resting.
Have a look at this video to see one of our Portsmouth Grammar School cricketers doing the goblet squat shuffle:
Keeping Ponting style
While not known for his wicketkeeping, if you picture Ricky catching you’ll immediately get drawn to his “fingers to the sky” method, almost regardless of how high or low the catch is. This requires a low squatted position where your head is drawn close to the height of the ball. Asking a keeper to catch everything using this method forces them to retain a lower position as they move.
While the catching method may not be one you’ll want your keepers to retain, the principle of how they move is one you will want to stick!
Check out this video and see just how it works.
Sam Lavery is Cricket Professional at Portsmouth Grammar School
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