Following on from the positive feedback on the standing back keeping drill using the multi-stumps I thought I would follow up with another keeping drill that was given to me recently by one of our International players here at Millfield School.
The aim is to simulate standing up to the stumps to both medium pacers and spinners, focussing on areas such as posture, hip and shoulder turn, catching area, and the ability to react to significant deflections from a realistic "nick-distance". In other words, to push back the boundaries of what is possible when standing up to the stumps.
Anyone who has seen First-Class Fielding, will be aware of my insistence on coaches continually developing their hitting and feeding drills to fast track the development of batters, fielders and keepers.
The hitter stands close to the Katchet board and aims to hit the ball from the bat onto the board at a relatively consistent pace.
Sounds easy eh?
Practice makes perfect, trust me on that!
My first focus in this practice is to hit the board with as many hits as I could. I actually failed on one occasion at the outset of the video yet because it was the only "miss", Tom perceived it to be part of the practice rather than feeling that I had made the drill breakdown. While it's important that the keeper can adapt to different challenges yet this cannot be every 3rd strike otherwise the flow of the practice will be impacted the keepers experience will be a negative one.
My second focus was to watch the take itself and to pick up on any technical areas that we could probe or question. I often keep a video running so Tom and I can review after a round of 20 balls to see what worked well and what could be sharpened up in the next round.
Standing up drill outcomes
We got some highly realistic deflections in the session off the Katchet and the stumps. The deflections are random and Tom coped well with all that was thrown at him.
The secret to Tom's success is his starting position and posture. He managed to maintain excellent posture throughout the session which provided him with foundation to power and speed to move his catching area to the ball. This posture has taken a lot of work over the past 2 years so it was good for Tom to see this stand up to stress-testing within this drill.
Tom has excellent hip and shoulder rotational ability. He can separate his hip and shoulder girdles very easily and this helps him to ride the smaller deflections inside the line of his body and to open up for a one handed take when the ball deflects significantly.
Tom stretched the realms of possibility with a couple of those wider, fast takes. We saw Sarah Taylor take a brilliant one handed catch up to the stumps in a recent Women’s Ashes series. If we practice under pressure like this with more keepers then can we make such catches more commonplace?
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