Nets are not always the ideal for developing players. Nevertheless, they have a role in any program….if used appropriately!
Of course, players have to factor in some hard ball training. Nets afford players a chance to achieve this, and engage medium/large in sessions where space is tight. However, anybody who has run – or participated – in nets know the many pitfalls.
- Bowlers dropping intensity after first 40mins
- Careless shots – appear good to young batters, but ineffective or fatal in matches
- Difficult to coach batters, while keeping “flow” of session
- “Macho bowling” – low/medium pace bowlers believe they are 90mph!
- Lack of purpose for batters and bowlers, leading to silliness or “switching off”
How can we harness all the positives of nets, while ensuring your time is well spent? The answer: it’s difficult!! But there are ways of injecting purpose and intent, into sessions that are in danger of meandering…
This is one example of a “net game”, that motivates young players. I have found this game very effective with certain groups.
There is a competitive element, but also an opportunity to reflect and learn. It is also informative for you, as a coach. It will become clear what each player’s “comfort zone” is, and where they really struggle.
RANGE OF SCORING – can your players maneuver the cricket ball all around the field? Do they have the breadth of shots to cope with any kind of bowler/angle/attack?
- BATTING APPROACH – the game compels your batters to think. Are they a “one-trick pony”? Can they adapt their game?
- GAME INTELLIGENCE – batters and bowlers need to “out-think” each other. If a batter struggles to play certain balls, can they “hide” it? Can the bowler change accordingly, to put pressure on different batters?
How it works
- Each batter has a set time (15-20mins ideal)
- Each batter also has a worksheet (filled in by a teammate or the coach). Drawn on sheet is a clock, with numbers 1-12 marked out.
- “12 o’clock” on the diagram signifies a straight drive – or shot back past the bowler. “3 o’clock” is a shot directly to the right, “9 o’clock” directly to the left, and “6 o’clock” directly backwards.
- Batter must try to hit the ball to EVERY NUMBER on the clock face.
- The batter can leave as many balls as they like. The objective is to not only hit the ball to all areas, but wait for the right moment.
- The bowling team must quickly find out which areas the batter likes to hit the ball (strengths) and also where he/she doesn’t like to play the ball (weaknesses).
- If the bowlers takes a WICKET, then they can TAKE AWAY one of the batter’s numbers (you can’t take away “6 o’clock”).
- If the batter misses the ball 3 TIMES, the bowler can TAKE AWAY a number as well (you can’t take away “6 o’clock).
- If the bowlers bowl 3 wides (or 5 for less experienced groups), the batter can AWARD THEMSELVES ANY NUMBER (probably a spot they don’t like to hit the ball).
The batter wins if….
- They manage to achieve ALL 12 NUMBERS (therefore have hit the ball to every area of the field), by the end of the net.
- If they have achieved their goal early, their mission is to SURVIVE TILL THE END OF THE NET.
- This changes the game situation, from SCORING to SURVIVAL. The bowlers can be more attacking, and probe for a weakness.