What's Your Goal: A Four Step Plan to Rapidly Improve Your Cricket Skills | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

What's Your Goal: A Four Step Plan to Rapidly Improve Your Cricket Skills

Today I am going to put my money where my mouth is. But I need your help too. This is a cricket skills case study about me: I'm going to report back to you on a goal so you can see how these methods work and take the ideas into your game. I'd love you to come along for the journey too.

Read on to join in.

You see, unlike previous years - where I played as much as I coached - in the last 12 months I have backed away from playing and focused mainly on coaching. This has highlighted some areas where I need to improve; nicking practice and throwing with the Sidearm cricket ball thrower.

I'm aiming to improve my Sidearm skills significantly in the next six months.

You can choose the skill you are aiming to improve too and come with me.

It might be a coaching skill, or it may be a playing skill, but by following along we can improve together.

Here's the plan.

Improve accuracy with a Sidearm

The first step in any aim is to have a target that is specific and measurable.

So, my aim is to be accurate enough with a sidearm cricket ball thrower to be able to hit the area I want most of the time. I also want to reduce "wasteful" balls, for example when trying to throw straight half volley length I send down a short ball down the leg side.

I won't focus on it, but I would also be happy to improve my pace when "bowling seam" and my turn when "bowling spin".

To monitor this, I'll use PitchVision to track my throwing accuracy, pace and deviation. I can then throw balls and track my accuracy over the next six months and beyond.

Starting line

To give you some background, here are my recent PitchVision stats:

  • Sessions: 12
  • Balls delivered: 388
  • Targets hit: 35%
  • Wasteful balls: 34%

The other balls are all playable by a batsman, but also not the right line or length.

Average seam pace is 54mph (87 kph), topping out at 61 when coming off a run up. Average turn when bowling spin is 1.9° (anything between 2-4° is good for club level spin).

As you can see, there is work to do.

But this is a starting line. I can use these numbers to see how I improve over time.

I encourage you to set your own benchmarks before embarking on a challenge like this too. You have to know where you are before you begin so you can see if you plan is working or not.

Carving time, setting the right goal

The next step in the plan is working out what you are going to do to make a change.

For players, this is easy. You go to practice and you bowl and bat while tracking results. For a coaching based skill, you need to practice away from practice. No batsman likes to face a coach who only gives them one good ball in three. I owe it to my players to carve out practice time.

So, for the next few weeks I'm arriving early at nets with half an hour to just throw balls on PitchVision.

I have set a target of throwing 500 more balls.

I am using a target I can achieve with the time available, but you will note I have not set any target on accuracy, pace or deviation. That's because I figure that throwing balls and getting instant feedback will be enough for me to get better. In short, if I look after the volume, the accuracy looks after itself.

I'll keep you up to date as I go, but the take away for any player or coach wanting to improve is,

  1. Identify a specific area to improve
  2. Define how you will measure it
  3. Set a realistic target based on elements within your control.
  4. Do the work!

What's your goal?

I know that the run up to the end of the year is often a super quiet time for cricket. But if you can find time, what are you going to work on to start next year in a better position?

Leave a comment and let's work together to make things happen now, and into the future.

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here's an update for you: Last night I bowled 105 balls to a batsman. 60% were balls in the target zone and 30% were wasted. Interesting that having a batsman to help with focus didn't reduce the wasted balls by much, but it did improve the useful balls dramatically. I think I am putting this down to learning to control length better (previously I dropped a lot short, but this session I was able to bowl fuller more consistently). Average pace was 58. Another jump up! Things are going well. I did not bowl any spin.

Hit those nets again last night. Who is with me?

Hi David I'm a 12 year old opening batsmen and I always seem to get starts but never go on to make big scores.
Any tips?

Find something in practice to help you measure your progress. What do you think that could be?

I'm up to 307 balls in total now. It's going to be a while before I can manage another session though, so I may be stuck on this for a bit.

I snuck in another session, so now I'm sitting on exactly 400 balls with 29% wasted and 54% on target. That's three balls an over the batter can use, one in the wrong place but still OK, and two that are wasted (too wide, too short, or full toss). This is a good rise in accuracy but I'd still love to eliminate the wasted balls more effectively. I might need to make that target 1000!

Broke through 500 last night! time to post some results.