What are your "Ten Percents"?
Improving your cricket can be daunting sometimes.
If you look at your game as a whole, there are so many different elements that it's often hard to work out where to begin.
This is where the "Ten Percent" rule comes in handy and, while we're all at home, there is an opportunity to practice some elements of our game to make us better.
If you break your cricket down into chunks and focus on improving each by 10%, the sum of the parts will see a noticeable development of your game and it's more manageable.
As a coach, if I can get all 11 of my players improving their cricket by 10%, that can translate into big improvements for the team as a whole.
Let's look at batting. Say our top 5 all average 15 and then each improve by 10%, that's 7.5 runs to the team. Add in the same improvement for the other 6 players further down the batting order, perhaps with lower averages, and that's going to be an additional 10+ runs to the team score each game.
If we do the same with bowling - looking to improve economy rates by 10% - we can potentially reduce average opposition scores by 10 or more runs.
So we're now 20 runs ahead of last season by improving our batting and bowling by just 10%!
Don't forget fielding too. If we improve our catching, throwing, stopping the ball by 10%, we are going to save additional runs in the field. A 10% improvement can easily see another 10 runs saved each game. Now we're 30 runs better off, every game and that's probably the difference between winning and losing in many games.
So that's the theory, but what does it mean in practice and what can you do at home?
Here's an initial idea for batting. We will revisit other skills over the next few days........
BATTING 10% Plan 1 - Reduce your dot ball percentage by 10%. If you generally play and miss 2 balls out of 6, and improve that by 10%, that's a reduction to 1.8 balls missed out of every 6 balls received, or more clearly, missing 18 balls every 60 received instead of 20. If you can get bat on ball more often, there is more chance you can score a run.
Every 60 balls you receive, you will have hit on average 2 additional balls where you can potentially have scored some runs which could increase your average by 1 or 2 runs, or maybe even 8-12 if you hit those balls to the boundary! How can you work on that at home?
I find playing and missing is usually down to one or more key elements: -
1. Not getting in line with the ball - head and/or feet in the wrong position
2. Not watching the ball, lifting your head just before expected impact
3. Trying to hit the ball too hard
You can work on this just with a tennis ball, bat and a wall (or a feeder if you can rope in a parent/sibling who is self-isolating with you, or a Crazy Catch if you have one).
Aim for each ball to be just outside off stump as that's probably the area where you are playing and missing most often.
Focus on getting your head in line with the ball. This may mean moving your back foot across a little too, even if you are playing forward.
Watch the ball onto your bat all the way until you hit it. Hold the pose for a second to emphasize that you have watched the ball.
Don't try to smash it. Being in your driveway/back garden/garage to do this, you probably won't have heaps of room without losing the ball or smashing a window, so this is an opportunity to let your bat do the work. Aim to get in line with the ball, watch it closely, and then just push gently towards the ball or "punch" it, don't smash it.