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Drills to Improve Wicket keeping skills
Wicket Keeping is hard
There is no worse place to be at in a cricket match than being standing behind the stumps. Since a wicket keeper is the only player with gloves on, he is expected to catch everything faultlessly. It is not the good catches down the leg side, nor the brilliant stumping of spin bowlers that is noticed but a simple dropped catch.
Even after a bad match, you are required to lift yourself and the team up for the next match without much rest or practice. Do you want to make the most of your time to enhance your glove-keeping skills? Worry not, for we have just the drill that will help you improve your catching and stumping.
Catching the Ball
Let's start with the most basic skill i.e. catching the ball. Whenever you are standing behind the stumps make sure that your left foot is aligned with the middle stumps. In this way, you are able to see the ball clearly as it is delivered by the bowler and passes by the batsman. When you are catching behind stumps, always try to get your eyes/ head above the trajectory of the ball and your entire body behind it. As soon as the ball is pitched, rise with the ball from the crouching position. Keep watching the ball as it reaches your gloves while keeping your fingers pointing downwards.
Training Drills and Tips
- Place a wicket on a training pitch. Ask a bowler or any other teammate to throw the ball past the stumps on the leg side, off side and mix it up. You should endeavour to catch the ball on either side of the stumps by standing up, standing back and by altering the pace of the ball appropriately.
- Improve on your skills further by adding a batsman as a distraction. Ask him to leave the ball as it is pitched in front of him. Get used to dealing with the blind spot as the ball moves across the batsmen on the leg side. You will have the lesser reaction time to adjust your stride and collect the ball from either side of the stumps.
- Next, ask the batsman to leave the ball on purpose after attempting to play a shot. The easiest way is to play the stroke earlier so that the ball misses the bat and the wicket keeper can practice to catch it. This is a good drill to develop catching skills when a batsman misses a shot.
- It is also important that you catch all the deliveries that are deflected off the bat. For this drill ask a teammate to wear wicket keeping gloves and stand in the place of a batsman. When the ball is delivered, he must try to deflect the ball with gloves. The wicket keeper can try to catch it. This will improve his reactions and catching skills while going for a leg side or offside nick.
It is always advisable to start up slow and then work on these drills more. These drills will help you develop sharp reflexes, improve your decision-making and bring out the best wicket keeper in you.
Diving is the most essential skill required for a wicket keeper
Ofcorse, we know that there is no a harder thing for the wicket keeper to achieve in an entire cricket game than a sleek successful dive. This is why we have decided to make you aware of a few guidelines you should take up as tips to being able to tell exactly when and how to dive with the least amount of risk.
Despite the high regard in which diving is held in, always bear in mind that you should only dive when a running or a standing catch is not possible. Let’s face is it, diving for a catch is a dangerous affair. There is always absolutely no way to adjust your angle when your head is not straight and you are speedily falling to the ground head first, with hands holding onto a ball. As a rule of the thumb, make sure that you only dive as your last resort. Never dive when you have another option to make a catch. That said, here is how to make a dive a success.
By watching any wicket keeper who is known for their good dives, you can tell that it is almost impossible to dive from a flat standing position. For this reason, always start moving feet first. Take at least two steps towards the direction the ball will come from since it is the direction you will dive to. This ensures that your impact angle is less steep, and this consequently lessens the force in which you hit the ground.
Your next step should be the concentration of your eyes to the ball just as with any other catch. Your ability to judge the trajectory of the ball goes a long way in helping you to be able to look dive at an angle that makes sure that your head and arms are at the same level with the ball when it finally reaches you.
When you finally decide to take off, you should ensure that the foot you use to take off is the one that is on the side you shall be diving to. For instance, let’s say that have identified that you will need to dive to the left. You are supposed to bring your right foot off from the ground first because of the simple reason that you will use your left foot to push to the longest distance and highest height. Also bring your arms up over your head as your feet leave the ground, keep them together in a way they won’t be touching.
Look at some of the best catches taken by wicket keepers
The final step but not the so easy one is the landing. The secret here is to ensure that all of your body weight has been spread uniformly across all of your body parts. This way, none of your body parts suffers a concentrated impact upon landing. The best way to a safe landing is to ensure that upon your grasping the ball, you rotate your body on your way to the ground until you achieve the position where your chest and the forearms hit the ground first. This allows all of your body weight to be spread across your torso.
Get a blower to deliver a ball to you over and over as you attempt the above steps towards your becoming a better diver.