Why practice matches are better than nets | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Why practice matches are better than nets

Pakistan warmed up for the World Cup by having a practice match between themselves. It's quite a change from the normal nets, nets and more nets.

Why did they do this?

As David Gower says in his autobiography, there is a world of difference between having a net without any of the pressure of a game and actually being out in the middle.

Nets are a safe haven to groove your technique under supervision or get your eye in before a big match, but they are not good for tactical awareness or technique under pressure.

You can recreate this pressure by setting up a game situation in training instead of just netting. However, that doesn't mean just picking 2 teams and having a 10 over slog.

To get the best from a practice you can customise the game to meet your team or player goals. Greg Chappell calls this "context training":

  • Use a new ball with your opening bowlers and opening batsmen.
  • Start the game in the middle overs with the spinners on and middle order batsmen at the crease.
  • Have a target score to get in 5 overs for your lower order players.
  • Practice running between the wickets and stealing singles.
  • Have high pressure situations with lots of close fielders and sledging.

There are plenty more things you can do in a "game" situation than you can do in the nets. It also gives a structure to your valuable training time that is more like you get in the middle.

So at your next training session ditch the nets unless you are working on technique. A well set up training match will boost your tactical and dealing-with-pressure skills, which is a whole lot more useful.

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