Use your head and become a better cricketer (part 1) | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Use your head and become a better cricketer (part 1)

This article is part one of a series from Laurie Ward of The Complete Cricketer Academy.

This series of articles isn't about what you think.

Reading a title like this you will think of mental toughness, tactical awareness and the psychological side of the game.

But today we are going to talk about your head has a key role in the techniques of cricket.

Starting with bowling and fielding.
The bowling action

The head is a major factor in a bowler’s action. Loss of balance and positioning upon delivery create major issues with accuracy, pace and the action.

A bowler should aim to maintain a balanced head position from the start of his run-up, through delivery and then to drive his head and shoulders directly at the target in his follow through. Any sideways movement will reduce the power moving in the right direction and will lead to compensating changes in the action.

At the end of his run-up a bowlers should balance and target with his eyes the area on the pitch that he intends to land the ball.

With younger players, I tend to talk about “laser beams” from their eyes targeting the landing zone. The eyes (and therefore the head) should be maintained in a balanced and level a position as possible to focus on this point throughout the action.

If a bowler loses balance with his head tilting to one side, he will lose this focus and alignment and the delivery will tend to be speared down leg side or dragged wider outside off, according to the point of release.

Fielding with your head

Head positioning, balance and a steady base is essential in fielding and catching for the eyes to focus on and judge the trajectory and path of the ball.

As the bowler bowls, outfielders should be in their “set” position, poised to explode in any direction to attack or defend.

Slips and close fielders should be in a static “set” position to allow for agile and balanced movements when necessary. The head (and eyes) should be level and slightly forward over the toes.

When taking a high catch, the fielder should judge the trajectory and speed of the ball from his/her “set” position and then get to the estimated catching zone as quickly as possible, keeping the head and eyes balanced to allow full focus on the ball. In position to take the catch, the head should be stabilised and still, allowing the ball to come into the hands in line with the eyes.

Throwing also requires a balanced and central head position. If you tilt your head to one side, the balance and power is reduced and this will also affect accuracy.

In the next part we will look at batting, and show you a way to find out your dominant eye. Click here to get the free newsletter.

image credit: pj_in_oz

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