Whether it’s once or twice a week, indoors or outdoors, on turf or synthetic, nets are the bedrock of every cricketer - from local club player to international superstar.
So if cricketers have to go to nets, why not make them work for you?
You can – and it’s as easy as ABC:
A is attitude
As a mate of mine (and a Cricket Australia Level 3 coach) says, you should turn up at nets with purpose, for a purpose. What’s the point in being there if there’s no point in being there?
Have a purpose for making the trip. If you have a purpose, you should have a plan and that way you’ll get more out of your net.
B is for batting and bowling
Batsmen can be their own worst enemies in the nets. Too often there’s a whinge about the deck, the light, the bowling. But how often do we play in perfect conditions?
Next time you march purposefully into the nets try:
- Setting goals – “I’m not hitting the ball into the nets on the full”, “I’m not going to be bowled today”.
- Play each delivery with the respect it deserves – Good balls are played defensively, bad balls dispatched
- Ask someone to watch you bat – What do they see: strengths and weaknesses?
And bowlers – why not try:
C is for captains and coaches
I think captains and coaches can be the most under-utilized personnel at a net session. Both are invaluable resources – if used correctly.
Captains, when next you go to nets, how about:
- Be the most enthusiastic participant there. Leading by example will set a great tone for your team and the club.
- Watch what’s happening in the nets. If you want to know who’ll bat or bowl as though their life depends on it, see how they train.
- Communicate with other captains, the coach and selectors. If you want the best team, it’s worth knowing what your colleagues are thinking.
And coaches? You are the hub around which everything else happens: not always shouting and clapping hands but maybe quiet and one-on-one but the coach is pivotal in how a net session runs.
- Establish the culture. Nets are a serious place for hard work and development. Socialising starts on the other side of the boundary.
- Have a plan. What skills do you want developed? What drills will focus on them? What are the Captains complaining about?
- Work with players to learn their game. By all means, impart the knowledge of skills that you have but out in the middle, the player has to know his own game to deal with what comes his way. Equip him with the tools to be independent and he can adapt to whatever the game throws his way.
It’s all as easy as ABC!