Can you remember your first ever net session?
It's quite likely that your first ever net was pretty similar to the net you had last week. The bowling may be faster and your pads a bit bigger, but essentially the humble net hasn't changed: batting for 20 minutes (if you are lucky) on a different surface to match-day; using old balls; having no fielders; bowlers alternating after every delivery; balls continuously fed; batsmen not running-between-the-wickets; and focusing on execution of correct technique over tactical decision making.
As the late Bob Woolmer observed in his book Art and Science of Cricket, the net is hardly specific to the demands of batting in a match.
Let's pause and think of the wider world of professional sport.
In his book "Luck: A Fresh Look At Fortune", Ed Smith summarises the development of training methods in sport:
"Think of the evolution of modern sport. There was enormous potential to gain a competitive advantage through practice. That is exactly what happened in the early history of professional sport. Training methods improved dramatically... Teams that embraced advanced training methods earlier... gained a massive advantage over their more old-fashioned and talent-dependent rivals." (Pg 132-33)
But what about the traditional cricket net?
How are young players expected to learn how to make big scores?
How does a player go on to train to meet the fitness and concentration demands of scoring a century?
A new way to net
It was out of these frustrations and his sport science expertise that Dr Laurence Houghton developed BATEX™.
BATEX™ is a training tool that transforms the net environment and simulates the fitness and concentration demands of a one-day hundred. It combines a fitness work out with a batting session and so tests technique when physically tired. It’s a bit like a 'bleep test for batsmen'.
BATEX™ formed the basis of Laurence’s PhD at The University of Western Australia and has since been used as the finishing school at ACE Cricket Academy.
So it's a tried by and tested, practical approach to transforming nets: players love it!
An updated version BATEX™ is now set to be made into a smart phone app.
But to be able to launch the app Laurence is running a crowd-funding campaign. Crowd-funding allows the public to make innovative projects a reality by pledging financial support in return for rewards. The BATEX™ crowd-funding campaign is looking to raise A00 and currently has over 90% of pledges.
If A00 in pledges is not reached by 17th June the BATEX™ app won’t be made.
So visit www.pozible.com/batex to find out more about the rewards.
For just a A pledge you will receive a copy of Laurence's e-article "The Top 20 Injury Prevention Exercises for Cricketers". So take your chance to transform the humble net!
PitchVision™ technology was integrated into Laurence’s PhD work and so we are proud to continue to partner with him to help transform net training using BATEX™.
We are pleased to announce that PitchVision™ will continue to play their part in using technology to transform cricket training and have become one of the official sponsors of BATEX™.