Coach Paul Nixon recommends three batting drills that help overcome the problems caused by indoor net practice and actually get you ready for the season.
As a batsman there are key things that you should be doing at this time of year. People practise indoors through the winter and have been driving on the up.
Everyone just smashes balls in indoor nets and tries to hit every ball for four. Well, it’s unrealistic!
What they need when they get outside is to let the ball come and only drive when it’s closer to a half-volley. So these drills are crucial at this time of year.
DRILL 1: HIT THE DECK
This drill forces you to hit the ball into ground when you drive. Put some cones just back of a length and get someone to give you feeds, either with a tennis ball or a cricket ball. When you drive, make sure you hit the ball into the ground so that it bounces before the cones and goes over them. You can even try putting these cones down when you’re in the nets and just keep an eye on where the ball is bouncing after you play a drive.
DRILL 2 – FEET IN TREACLE
Stand in your batting position, sideways on with your bat up, ready. Get someone to feed cricket or tennis balls and play the ball without moving your feet. In order to hit the ball on the ground, you have no choice but to let the ball come to you and play it late. It’s all about letting it come close to you, rather than standing up and hitting blazing drives on the up when you practise indoor. Those shots are just going straight to cover or mid-off once you get outside.
DRILL 3 – FRONT DOG
When you first get outside you’re thinking 80 per cent forward, 20 per cent back, because it’s going to be slower, the ball’s going to stop in the pitch compared to what it does indoors, so you’ve got to make sure you get your head over your front foot when you’re going forward.
With that in mind I like to get someone to feed balls from the bowling machine and, even when they’re length balls or slightly short of a length, just get used to going forward again and hitting it under your nose, defending it into the ground going forward.