Have you ever had trouble moving the confidence and technique of your net practice to the middle?
It's a seemingly unsolvable problem but the difference can be put down to one word: Pressure
In the net you can't get out. You can groove your technique as long as you like under no danger and no need to worry about score or what's happening at the other end. Traditional net practice is not specific enough. And we all know how important specificity is.
It doesn't teach you to deal with pressure so you either have to be naturally good at it or bridge the gap somehow.
How do you bridge this gap between practice and play?
The first way is to develop the mental side of your game. There are many tricks, but a great and simple place to start is my 'Getting the right attitude for cricket' series.
Secondly, you can get creative in the way you practice to add pressure to the situation. Here are some ideas, courtesy of Phil Relf (ECB Coach Development)
Practice sessions that pile on the pressure
- Open out the net. If you can get fielders into your line of vision it adds to the realism and pressure.
- Keep score. Give yourself points for getting things right (like a cover drive) and lose points for playing and missing.
- Bat in pairs. The coach calls the number of runs scored in the net and you actually have to run them. It's a great game for fitness too.
- Play small-sided games. Set a runs target and see if you can get it. You can customise the rules to apply more or less pressure.
Practicing in this way is not only more specific and so better for your game, it's more fun too.
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