How to Practice Cricket Batting by Yourself
The popularity of cricket has shot up during recent years with the number of children and young people getting involved increasing dramatically. Yet with all this enthusiasm, it can be difficult getting friends together to play and harder still to successfully get into a team. This is unfortunate as the only way to develop your skill and increase the possibility of getting in a team is to practice. Cricket is not like basketball or football where it is relatively easy to practice on your own. This is due to the difficulty of cricket batting without anyone to bowl you the ball. Even practicing bowling is easier to do on your own. That's why oneHOWTO has developed these tips to learn how to practice cricket batting by yourself.
While hitting a cricket ball wide and out of the playing area without bouncing is a dream play, getting to the point where this is possible takes smaller steps. To be able to hit the ball well, you need to have your basics sorted. This is where practicing cricket on your own comes in. Practicing on your own allows you to get to grips with the small movements and drills which can transfer skills onto the cricket field. Even not moving is important when it comes to cricket batting as your batting stance can make all the difference. Finding ways to practice and hone these skills can be difficult on your own, but there are ways to do it.
Firstly, instead of using a cricket ball, try to keep a tennis ball in the air for as long as possible with the cricket bat. Doing this will do two things. Firstly, it will help you to know where the middle of the bat is and therefore the best place to strike the ball. Secondly, it will help build your intuition. When you go to strike the ball, your body can seem quicker than your mind (although technically it won't be). Your reflexes take over and you will be able to hit the ball correctly by making minute adjustments to your swing. Both of these aspects will help build your confidence in batting. It is similar to the wax on, wax off method of training incorporated by Mr Miagi in the Karate Kid movies. It may seem repetitive and boring, but the impact on your game can be invaluable.
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Using a tennis ball instead of a cricket ball is good for practicing cricket on your own because it will help you with dexterity. It is also easier to bounce, so you can play on your own without having to throw a harder cricket ball. It is also more easily adaptable to other surfaces, again making practicing batting on your own easier.
Once great way to practice accuracy in cricket batting is not to use the bat at all. Instead, use one of the wicket stumps. Stand about 3 meters away from an even surfaced wall and throw the ball against it. Do so by throwing it against the ground first and having it deflect against the wall back towards you. When the ball is on its trajectory back to you, you can try to hit it with the stump. The smaller stump takes more accuracy, so when it comes time to use the bat again, your technique should be improved. It will help you in making clean contact between your cricket bat and a moving ball.
While practicing batting will involve getting a good swing of the bat, follow through and finish, learning these first can lead to a case of putting the cart before the horse. Before you can hit the ball well, you will need to know how to stand and how to hold the cricket bat.
The best and most common way to hold the cricket bat is the "V" shaped grip. The easiest way to get to grips with your grip on a cricket bat is to lay it on the ground, flat side down. Place your most dominant hand on the handle just below the point where the handle connects with the bat. Make this hand into a "V" shape between your thumb and forefinger. Place your less dominant hand about an inch further down the handle from your dominant hand. Make the same "V" shape, except reversed because it is the opposite hand (i.e. the thumb is on the opposite side of the forefinger. The middle of the two "V" shapes should be inline with the spine of the cricket bat. This allows you to move the bat around a lot and hit in every direction. However, you need to practice, so without even hitting a ball, practice this movement to get a feel for the grip. Some professional cricketers use other ways of holding the cricket bat, but these tend to be natural variations particular to the individual.
The stance when batting at cricket is also very important. You need to have a comfortable stance and to get comfortable with something is to get used to it. This is where practicing on your own comes in. Your stance should be to keep even weight on both legs and for them to be about 16" (40 cm) apart. Your feet should be parallel to each other and in line with the bowler. The front shoulder needs to be directed straight down the wicket on the other side and knees slightly bent. Standing in this positing and practicing your grip is an important fundamental to learn while practicing cricket batting on your own.
Now you can put your cricket bat into action. Once you have your grip and stance correct, you can practice batting movement with a tennis ball. Again, you should use a tennis ball as it is easier to manipulate when on your own.
Start by getting in to your stance. This is ideally done with some sort of net set up to catch the ball. If you don't have one, try to do it somewhere where the ball will not get too far away from you. Put your dominant hand into position on the grip of the handle. With your less dominant hand, gently lob the ball up vertically so that it bounces just in front of you. When you get a little more advanced, you can try to put some spin in the ball so that it moves back towards you, even though you have thrown the ball in front. Let the ball bounce one to give you time to place your other hand on the handle of the cricket bat. Strike the ball on the second bounce. this technique itself takes a little practice, but the result will still be improved batting in your cricket game.
If you are struggling to hit the ball in this way because you fumble when putting your less dominant hand into grip, you can try another method. Go back into your stance, but this time hold the cricket bat with your normal grip. Place the ball in the crook of your neck, holding the ball with your chin against your chest. When you are ready, let the ball drop to the ground and again, hit on the second bounce. If you use a cricket ball, you won't get enough bounce.
While these techniques will help you strike the ball, you can also use them to change your stance. You will change your stance naturally in reaction to the bowl. However, you can learn how to anticipate different movements by changing your footing. This allows you to explore your cricket batting even on your own, but does require some forward thinking.
While these practice techniques for cricket batting on your own are helpful, they still involve throwing the ball to yourself. This will make cricket batting awkward, even if there are ways to help. Instead of throwing a tennis ball against the wall or letting it drop, you can arrange a practice ball in a different way. Using a ball attached to a string can let you hit the ball from rest. It will also stop the ball from going off into the distance and, if tightly enough secured, can let you give it a good whack. You can use a cricket ball for this to help get used to the weight and dynamic.
You can buy cricket balls especially designed to help you practice cricket batting on your own. These have a special design which means they have a string or wire attached to them. Hang one end of this from a hook on a ceiling or even wrap around a tree branch. Just be careful. Even though the cricket ball is attached to string, it can still move far enough to break objects in its way. Ideally don't do it in the room with the good China.
If you don't have a special cricket ball for this purpose, you can improvise one yourself. To do this, take an old ankle sock. You need an ankle sock so that you have something to tie. Put the cricket ball in the sock and firmly tie a length of string or twine to the ankle part, ensuring the mouth of the sock is completely closed and secure. This you can attach to a hook or a tree to practice your swing.
This way of practicing solo batting is known as sock cricket and is a great way to practice your backlift. Backlift is how the batter lifts their bat when about to hit the cricket ball. The main thing to get right in the backlift is the angle at which you hit the ball. You don't want it too straight or angled, but knowing which way to lift it takes practice. You can practice the backlift angle during solo batting by hitting the cricket ball on a wire and changing the angle to see where it goes. It is quite difficult to hit any ball straight down the line, but if you can do it with a cricket ball on a string during solo batting, it should help when facing a bowler during an actual cricket game. If your ball starts going around in circles then you are not doing it in the right way, i.e. the ball is not hit by the middle of the bat.
Apart from all these tips, you can also try asking a friend or family member to throw you some balls so you can practice. Moreover, if you haven't got a cricket club where you live or can't afford it, you can also gather friends and create your own cricket team. While practicing solo cricket batting on your own is a great way to develop fundamentals, these is the hard work required to make playing cricket on the field look natural. There is also nothing like the camaraderie and enjoyment of playing along with a team.
Once you have got these solo cricket batting techniques mastered, you can look forward to enjoying more aspects of the game. The next logical step after getting a team together is to see what sort of cricket equipment you'll need to buy.
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