We love getting questions on miCricketCoach. It helps us be more specific about what you want. Recently friend of the site Dhruv emailed in this one:
"I would like to know exactly what makes up the 'perfect practice' part in the phrase 'perfect practice makes for perfection'?"
For me, the answer is specific to individual cricketers. If you can work out what you need you can work out how to practice perfectly. As an illustration, let's look at three example players all with different needs and approaches to perfect practice.
Example one: The talented school cricketer
This young player has a natural talent for the game but needs to build up a decent technique as a base. Training will focus on development of all skills to a high standard. If they bat, they will spend a lot of time shaping shots with tennis ball drills.
Ideally they will practice as much (if not more) than they play. Although there will be a heavy technical element, they will also find time to do middle practice and regular fitness training.
For many young players I see here, working on technique can be hard. It's often repetitive and dull. They also see less talented but bigger players smash the ball around with the bat and bowl fast without decent technique and wonder if it's all worth the effort. However working on technique hard at a young age pays off when you reach your late teens and early twenties. Then you will have both technique and strength.
Example two: The hardened club cricketer
The second example player has experienced a lot of cricket at club level and knows their own game well. As a result, the technical side takes lesser importance. Their technical work will focus mainly on specific weaknesses or ironing out flaws that have crept in. Often this can be completed as part of the warm up: short and sharp.
Practice will have a greater basis in fitness work. This does not just mean press ups and running around the outfield. Highly specific fielding, bowling and running drills can develop cricket fitness.
The player will also do plenty of middle practice working on specific match situations their team needs to develop. My own side has a weakness at the death of an innings when batting first. We have middle practice to work on scoring quickly with the minimum risk.
Example three: The unfulfilled potential
This player is experienced with a solid technique but has not had the success they expect. Usually you can put this down to their mental approach to the game: The classic 'net player' who gets everything right in practice but are terribly inconsistent in real games.
Improving their mental game is the priority here. This player will focus less on technique and even on netting than any other. They will take every opportunity to play 'friendly' matches to build confidence under less pressure. They will also be trying to make all practice more realistic with practice matches and open nets.
What about you?
You may recognize yourself in these three examples, or you may think you are totally different. Either way, you may have noticed that each players practice falls into three broad aims:
- Technique (skill drills)
- Physical (working on elements like speed, strength or mobility)
- Mental (practice games, tactical drills, psychological skills work)
Your job is to work out which elements needs higher priority and then plan your perfect practice around each one. All players will work on all three parts; it's just a matter of doing more or less of each one.
For example the school play may decide to split their training into 50% technical, 20% physical and 30% mental. The experienced club cricketer may be more a 10/40/50. Nothing is set in stone though. It's important to regularly review your needs based on your results in the middle.
Once you have your methods planned you just need to decide how to structure each session and you will have the perfect practice for your needs.
What are your experiences with planning your perfect practice?
Image credit: pj_in_oz