Do you worry that batting indoors will ruin your outdoor form? Have you got a game coming up on a different type of wicket from your home pitch?
This is the guide for you.
With a little careful preparation over a couple of sessions (and a warm up), you can get your feet, hands and bat ready for excellent timing from the off.
Here’s what you do.
In an ideal world, you will practice in the exact conditions you are going to face in your big game. This is not an ideal world.
Even if the wicket and weather are identical, you won’t face the same bowlers. You won’t have the same level of energy and you won’t feel the same amount of pressure. So what can you do?
Make it up as much as possible with some drills.
For example, preseason for my club is mostly constrained to indoor practice on fast, bouncy concrete. Yet, matches are played on soft, low wickets where the ball swings and seams laterally. It’s far from ideal and upsets timing.
We use the the following drills to balance things out:
Then, in normal nets we encourage bowlers to bowl fuller with outdoor lengths (tracked on PitchVision) and batsmen to try and get forward to everything.
This is helped by placing two mats in one indoor lane to slow the bounce.
However, it’s still easy for bowlers to bang it in short, so we use the instant feedback from PitchVision to show when this happens. This naturally pushing bowlers forward, knowing they will probably get driven but happy they are hitting the right length for outdoors.
And you know what that means?
More realistic practice for the batters!
If you do this kind of practice for a few weeks before the start of the season, you find you are better prepared for the change.
So you have done some practice. Maybe it’s not perfect but it’s something. Match day has arrived.
Before the game, make sure you do a few simple throwdown drills to get yourself in the right positions. For slow, low, wet pitches you can use the no feet and one leg drills above. But whatever the pitch, pick the drills that work for you to get yourself moving.
Then decide your tactical approach.
I usually advise a confident and watchful approach for a few balls. It will take you a while to feel well set, even if your preparation has been perfect. So, take your time. Look to play the lowest risk options at first.
In our example of moving from indoors to outdoors, you will be surprised how many bad balls you get. Bowlers also have early season cobwebs. They tend to bowl too short after a long winter indoors and you can take advantage:
- Back foot driving slow, low back of a length
- Front foot driving half volley length
- Pulling long hops.
With confidence and a touch of luck you can easily score at a decent lick by playing the way coaches have advised for decades.
The main difference is these days, coaches ask top order batters to thrive under these conditions rather than simply survive. You might ask if there is a difference. If you know how important mindset is to your game plan, then you know the difference is huge.
But let’s imagine your mindset is good. Nevertheless you find you are bogged down and not getting the ball away. It might be good bowling or that you are still not timing it well.
You can go up a gear with simple tricks like this. You are still playing safe, just looking to take control a little more. So, you slightly increase the risk in order to get your engine revving.
- It’s very difficult to prepare perfectly for different conditions.
- Start with simple drills to get your technique in line with conditions.
- Make sure you have a few practice sessions in conditions as close as possible.
- Adjust your game plan to give you the best chance of success.
- Go into the game with a confidence and positive mindset, born of good practice and a good game plan.