The OAT Method: How to End Frustrating Net Sessions | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The OAT Method: How to End Frustrating Net Sessions

The boy was about 17 years old. He loved playing cricket but knew he wasn't a natural with the bat.

But he had some grit. He wanted to improve.

Even better, there were plenty of people around willing to help with technical advice. So he walked down the net declaring,

"If you see me do anything wrong, let me know."

He did a lot wrong.

Like I said, he was keener than he was a natural ball striker. As instructed, the bowlers all gave their advice to him.

Pick up the bat straighter, Don't back away, use your top hand to control the shot, watch the ball.

On and on it went.

I could see him getting more and more frustrated as he tried and failed with each piece of advice. At one point he was bowled by the same bowler 4 times in 5 balls and each time the bowler helpfully pointed out his technical error.

And each time his jaw tightened in tension and the grip on the bat become more white knuckled. When his net session finished he tore off his helmet and I could see the pain of frustration behind his eyes.

Up until that point I hadn't uttered a word.

I could see he needed something but he has had plenty of technical tips, his head was already spinning.

So I told him about the OAT method.

One Awesome Thing

OAT stands for One Awesome Thing. I made up the name but I certainly didn't make up the method.

Simply, you pick one thing to work on for your net session. Then you concentrate on being awesome at that one thing. It becomes your sole focus.

It works because it unclutters your mind.

In a net session with live a bowlers there is a lot going on; different types of bowling at a rapid pace at all kinds of lines and lengths. It's easy to pick out a large handful of technical errors in a batsman because of all the different situations.

If you try and work on every one, like our hero did earlier, you end up working on none of them.

Instead, pick something and work on it.

Lets say for our guy it was the fact he moved his back foot away to the leg side: Classic "backing away". If the ball was outside off stump he has a fair chance of smashing it through the covers. If it was straight he had a fair chance of getting bowled.

At practice, that is the only thing he thinks about.

So before his net maybe he gets a batting buddy to do a simple footwork drill like this one.

When he walks into the net he checks his feet after every ball and keeps a quiet count of the times he keeps his back foot in the right place.

Perhaps the first session he find he does it 25% of the time. Over time he increases that slowly up to 100%.

Maybe that process takes a week, maybe it takes three months, but by using the OAT method you make clear technical improvements on your own, and that's a crucial aspect for most young players.

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Hey David

I wanted a small piece of advice. I have good backfoot footwork on all backfoot shots hence everyone considers me very strong off the backfoot. But I want to improve my front foot game as I play on matting pitches which play low. The problem is when playing front foot shots, I happen to step straight down the pitch(sometimes towards the pitch of the ball) rather than stepping right to the pitch of the ball every time. This causes me to miss a lot of balls on 4th-5th-6th stump line that I should be able to drive thru extra cover. I want to correct this problem but nothin I seem to do works for me. Any suggestions?


Any way you can throw up a video to youtube Ahmed?

The problem with coaching batting is that for the most part, instead of teaching people a simple method of getting the bat in a good starting position and then simply taking it to the ball that they can easily understand and internalise, we just bombard them with a) old-fashioned coachbook techniques that no-one has actually used since the 1950s, b) long lists of shots with very little understanding about how they are related to each other, and c) 101 technical faults to watch out for that may not even be relevant.

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Hey David

Yes I have videos on YouTube. Here are three videos I feel should give a state of my current batting (2mins my most recent net. A problem I get into sometimes is when I feel no threat from a bowler, my concentration goes. The bowler that got me out this session I feel can never get me out but he did because I tend to let me concentration go when the bowler is not bowling legit pace

Here are a few more attacking sessions , 3mins 3 mins

And finally here's a short clip of how I want to bat ball in ball out ( this is me against the machine at 76mph)


my name is jittu im a legspinner.when im bowling im bowling on off stump line and bowl turning to slip position. im not good in turning the ball from middle and leg. problem is once i bowles to a batsmen who can play the cut shot really well. evey time i bowls he ready to play the cut shot and he scores. my qustion is whats the line and length i should bowl to these kind of batsmen.i can bowl googly and topspin.

I believe this is one of the such a lot important information for me. And i'm glad studying your article.