The good people at Wisden have published two brand-new ‘How-to’ guides aimed at all cricket coaches, teachers and players looking for ways to improve performance in the forthcoming season (which is meant to be starting today – Sir Geoffrey Boycott has just said on TMS that the report from Headingley is snow and ice).
Both guides are produced by Mark Davis, who played for Somerset in the eighties alongside Beefy, Vivi and Big Bird, and Sam Collins, cricket journalist and former captain of Eton. Mark Davis’ pedigree is enhanced with 16 years coaching at Millfield School. The authors set out logical coaching advice in clear, easily understood language, with photographs and diagrams to add further explanation.
Each guide includes:
- The basics – Grip, stance, trigger movement for bats. Grip, run up and delivery stride for bowlers.
- The shots that every batsman needs, plus the shots better left only to the supremely talented or the most brainless of batsmen (yes, not only the reverse sweep, but the slog sweep, switch hit and Dilscoop are all included). That said, for all of the 21st century innovations, the authors still place the greatest importance on the ability to master the forward defensive.
- Detailed explanations of seam, swing and spin bowling.
- Practice drills – always sound like fun to me, but in twenty-plus years of village cricket my team have never once attempted anything approaching a ‘drill’.
- Analysis of potential problems and easy fixes for batsman and bowler.
- Technical and match advice, including mental preparation, that caters for players of beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Although less so for grizzled, dyed-in-the-wool village veterans.
- Clear pictures and illustrations demonstrating correct technique and how to put it into play.
Published at £14.99 each, both are currently discounted by 10% at the Wisden Bookshop.
The only obvious critique is that neither book comes with a guarantee of improved performance – I was pulling your leg with the headline. Like they say, there is no substitute for hard work and ‘Practice, Practice, Practice‘.
Good luck for the season to all cricketers everywhere (unless you’re playing my village team). Let the sun shine and play commence.