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Coach's Corner: The Great Myth of Volume

6 months ago By David Hinchliffe

Coach is back with some thoughts on training. Even at Christmas.

There's a myth in cricket that makes you want the wrong thing. It's called "volume" and it takes many forms in its evil ways.

You may have heard the insidious word hidden in phrases like: "I just need to face some balls, I feel like I have not held a bat for ages", "If we take more catches in practice we take more in games", "there is too much standing around in this drill".

All these thoughts and feelings - and many others - can be boiled down one thing.

We assume doing more will get us more.

More practice, more catches, more throws, more hits it's the path to success! Isn't it?

Lets take catching as an example. You may have heard it said that if you take 100 catches a week in practice you will not drop many in games. Seems sensible. But delve deeper.

McCrea West of Scotland had 74 chances in 50 over cricket in 2017. eight of them were on the boundary. Now imagine the average training session where dozens of boundary catches are taken from relatively simple hits up. The ratio of high catches to low, flat and close catches is way out of line with reality. Volume is not helping you.

The other thing volume ignores is importance.

Take a lot of catches in practice and it doesn't matter much. It's just practice. You are working well within your comfort zone. A thousand catches like this will not help you much when the new ball is fired at you from the opposition's pro. The ball is just out of reach on a hard seeing ground and 10 people shout "catch!" before a strange expectant hush falls on the ground. It's totally different.

What's the answer to the volume myth?

Forget about "how many", and focus on why and how.

Train to push yourself. Hitting some half-volley buckets on the machine is not helping you. Taking easy catches a lot is not helping you. Pushing the limit of what you can do, failing a lot, learning and improving will help you. Find where you drop catches and recreate the situation, including all the match significance, as much as you can. Face good bowling on a tough surface and come through it. Make nets competitive.

Next season (and this coming preseason) forget about volume. Focus on quality that pushes you and allows you to learn and develop. You'll find better results that way.

Updated 13:21 - 12 Dec 2017 by David Hinchliffe

Where next?

Club AGM Another year, another AGM
McCrea West of Scotland Preseason Tour Announced West travel to the Wirral in April 2018.

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