When fielding in the outfield, sometimes the ball gets hit to our non-throwing side at pace, or we get to the ball with it being slightly behind us.
The pick-up that we looked at last week would not give us the balance to execute a accurate throw into the stumps.
So in this article we look at using the increased pace and angle of the ball to help us create balance by using it to help initiate a spin which leaves us well aligned to our target at point of release.
1. Speed to the ball
Early decision making helps the fielder to move out of their ready position and towards the ball. Players who anticipate well often watch the batter intently to pick up cues about:
- the direction of the shot
- weight of shot (often indicated by the swing of the bat)
- the intention to take off for a quick single
Instead of a 1 handed pick up, we collect the ball with two inverted hands (fingers pointing down) this helps to initiate the spin that will rotate us into a strong a balanced position.
3. The spin
With the ball in the hands - and the inverted pick up starting the spin - we rotate with the aim to be to have a strong throwing side leg. This is so we can push back into the stumps and align the feet, hips and shoulders with our target prior to release.
Start looking at the point of impact area on the stumps.
It is proven that when moving, the intended line of vision and the line of the incoming ball meet just ahead of contact with the stumps (or keeper/bowler). So it’s crucial that we get an early look at the target ahead of perfect alignment to increase our chances of direct hitting.
Shoulders, hips and feet all line up for that split second; the throwing arm is cocked and ready and it’s time to let it go!
Ensure that the throwing arm completes its range before following through, and the ball is on its way to sending another batter back to the pavilion.
One thing that can go wrong when you are coaching this is over-rotation, or lack of balance.
If this is happening, slow the feed of the ball down in practice so that the fielder is picking it up just past herself.
You can even take it back further and place a stationary ball, asking the fielder to approach the ball at an acute angle to simulate the position of pick up for this type of throw.
Build up pace from stationary to ½ speed into full speed then over-speed. This is important because you want to build your player's skills up so that your training intensity is eventually higher than your match intensity.
As Peter Moores says "Train hard; play easy!"