The Daddy of High Catching Drills: Monster Machine Gun | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The Daddy of High Catching Drills: Monster Machine Gun

Can your team catch regularly and confidently?

Then it's time for the daddy of all high catching drills.

This is grim if the fielder doesn't cling onto the first few high balls. It trains concentration and desperation which all the best fielders have in abundance.

Fatigue mounts quickly as lactate acid fills the legs and the lungs start to scream, the 'inner chimp' is telling you to stop and give in. Yet somehow you find a way to keep going.

Confidence under the high ball goes through the ceiling.

This is the ultimate 'Train hard; Play easy' drill.

Monster machine gun fielding drill

The coach has a load of balls at his feet and hits a high catch to a fielder, ideally making the player travel a distance before making the catch attempt.

The player catches the ball then they quickly roll it underarm in the general direction of the coach.

The players waiting for their go then collect the balls and underarm back to you when the next catch is in the air.

The coach keeps pumping balls up in the air like a machine gun: Restricting recovery time and fatiguing the player.

With junior players or inexperienced players it is wise to end the drill at 5 successful catches.

With England, we had the players working to 10 successful catches before the drill ended. Coach at the time Duncan Fletcher and myself became good at judging travelling distance to stretch the likes of Collingwood, Pietersen and Anderson. This is a skill that develops over time.

Drill progressions

  • Start with hard tennis balls and incrediballs in order to test people under fatigue without maximising risk of hand injuries or hot spots.
  • Then when the player or group of players are ready you can move onto old and softer fixing balls before moving into match simulation balls.
  • Many of the players at school have a first 'Monster Machine Gun' round with their fielding gloves on to allow an increase in highly challenged volume. They then take their gloves off for their final round.

Measurements and rewards

How many attempts does it take to catch 5 balls? Create a league table for each session and monitor individual progress.

I also like to have a 'Spectacular catch of the day' award.

Here is last weeks winner at Millfield School taken by 14 year old Tom Bevan:

It's drills such as the Monster Machine Gun that build players capable of this.


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