Chris Watling has some advice for keeping the pre-game warm ups fun and functional.
How many times have you turned up to play, found your position in the changing room, and then dreaded the thought of another dull warm up?
Perhaps you are not like that, but you can be sure someone in your team is thinking along those lines. And they might well have a point. It is important to keep practice and warm ups varied. Variety is the spice of life. Varied warm ups add spice to your weekend cricket!
Here are some of my thoughts.
I think it's important in a warm up to include the whole team in a competitive match, whether it be fielding hockey, rugby, football, or a combination of all three. It could be young vs. old, or hats vs. no hats. As long as it gets the whole side together, it brings a sense of competitive edge to the day ahead. As well as getting the blood pumping.
Just be careful of the sliding tackles in football. It happens!
After that, the usual protocol for a team warm up is to do a bit of fielding, and then the batters and bowlers split off to do their relative skill work.
Something which I have found works quite well, is for the batters and bowlers to split up prior to the fielding drills instead. You can have a batting buddy, who give throwdowns each week. You can begin to know each other’s game and give some useful tips.
If seamers and spinners bowl in separate groups, this helps form a unit. You can find out which end suits individual bowlers best. You can also set up some sort of competition in the warm up. Something like how many times can you land it in target area.
The final part of the warm up is the various fielding drills. I find having a few stations available for groups to rotate around is beneficial. One could be ground fielding, another could be high catching, and one could be catching close to the bat. This will all include handling and throwing skills.
Once you have rotated around the stations, you could then complete a fielding drill as an entire group. But rather than just throwing at a stump and into the keeper, why not add a bit of spice to the drill?
For example if you are shying at a stump, with someone backing up, why not place a Katchet behind the stump. This will encourage the player to throw at the base of the stump, and if you just miss and hit the Katchet, then it gives the person backing up an opportunity for a catch.
The whole idea is to try and vary practice and warm ups as best as you can in order to keep players interested and to challenge their imagination!