WHY USE WEIGHTED CRICKET TRAINING GEAR?
Work Harder - Train Smarter - Achieve More
In plain straightforward terms the answer to this question is easy. - To improve your game - If you aspire to improve, the Force Train Better Range of Overweight - Underweight Training Products will help you to do so.
No question about it.
As as a batsman you need good bat control, balance, poise, power, timing and hand-eye coordination. As a bowler you need ball control, speed, body strength, hand strength, wrist strength, balance and poise. To bat and bowl well you also need to be able to concentrate for long periods of time; and, to do this you need, “endurance”.
The Force Train Better’s range of products are designed to help improve all these aspects of any players game; and some.
Up until a few years ago when I stepped away from playing for family reasons I was a very serious cricketer. I started playing when I was ten years old. I was an opening batsman and spent many minutes, hours, days and nights eating a breathing cricket. From ten years old until my late twenties cricket was the most important thing in my world. I trained and practiced all year round through summer and winter. In winter I was indoors twice a week; honing my skill set and developing my technique. I aspired to play at the highest level and although I did not achieve that I did manage to play First Grade on a regular basis for the Mount Lawley District Cricket Club in the WACA Premier League here in Western Australia.
So I know my game and I know cricket.
Although I gave up playing two years ago I still go the nets for a hit to keep my eye in. I have been using the weighted gear for over a year now and as good as I thought my game was, these products have taken it to a new level. I am stronger through my hands, arms, torso and legs and my feet are moving better than ever before. I have far greater bat control and I am able to play and control my shots better than I ever have before.
I was always a good driver of the ball but at times I missed out on scoring opportunities because I lacked the ability to place my shots through the field. Against the quicker bowlers my driving was a bit one dimensional. I would get the weight right and there was power but I did not have the bat control to be able to direct my shots wide of the field. Using the T-4 and T-6 weighted bats allowed me to develop more hand and shot direction control as my hands and arms became stronger and with the added weight I found that if my feet were not right I would lose balance and hence direction and power. Therefore I had to move my feet more and more importantly I had to move them into the right position. The heavier T-6 bats literally pulls you into position because “just swinging” does not work with it. You need to be balanced and well founded otherwise the weight of the bat will makes it fell like you need to tilt over toward the offside. The only remedy is to move your feet into the correct position.
I played a game last year as a stand in for one of the lower grade teams. That afternoon I found myself hitting balls wide of the fieldsmen instead of straight to them. I was placing my shots better than I ever had before. This saw me rack up a ton with a lot of front foot shots going to the boundary instead of straight to a fielder. On both the front and back foot I felt more in position and more able to adjust and adapt my shot play when it came to a delivery that swung or spun or decked off the wicket. My feet were moving and my hands reacting to adjust the bat position; something I struggled to do before I started using the Force Bats.
On the back foot my game has become a lot stronger. My bat speed is faster and I am able to play shots across the line with more power and consistency than I ever have before. My weight distribution has improved with my arms and torso pivoting rather that being pulled around by the swinging of the arms. This keeps my head still meaning I can watch the ball better and stay inside the line when hooking and pulling. With the cut shot I am moving my body and head less which allows me to direct and place shots better. It also allows me more control over ball flight as I have the time to role my wrists to force the ball down. I also felt physically fitter and stronger which allowed me to concentrate full on for just over four hours.
Using the T-2, T-4 and T-6 weighted bats in net sessions is not just about going in for a hit with an alternate bat. It is far more than that and I can assure you it is bloody hard work. I started out using the T-2 for the first 5 minutes of a session. 12 months on I now start with a normal bat then work up from the T-2 to the T-6 then back to the normal bat; which by this time feels like a tooth pick in my hands. These sessions are both challenging and rewarding. The heavier bats work your game hard and in using them I really feel like I am training hard and improving with every ball. I am not just go in the nets and going through the motions. There is more purpose to my training and the sessions are more enjoyable. These bats are ideal for working on technique while under stress and for keeping my mind and thought processes focused on batting.
Like a lot of players I would go to the gym and pull weights to develop strength and power. It was a key part of my training and development methodology. I have since learnt that no amount of weight training in any gym can developed the core muscle groups in my body like the weighted bats do. In the gym I can add body strength to support the muscle groups needed for batting but as muscle growth is reliant on resistance we need to apply resistance in motion; the actual motion of playing a cricket shot, to develop the core muscles. The T-2, T-4 and T-6 bats provide this resistance and in training with them I have achieved more in the first month of using them that I did in 15 years of working out at the gym.
It is the same with the balls. I bowl a useful seam ball and can turn a few with my fingers and wrists. By working to a regular and consistent program using the underweight overweight balls I found that I slowly developed more composure and power through the delivery stride, far greater ball control in terms of direction and length, a lot more revolutions with the spinning delivery and more turn and side spin off the wicket. One of the worlds best pace bowling coaches Steffan Jones uses overweight-underweight balls with all his bowlers and he is seeing some incredible improvement in the areas of pace, accuracy, flight and endurance. Pace bowling in particular imparts enormous stress on the body so strength building and micro conditioning of the core bowling muscle groups is vital to ensuring the body as a whole can withstand these stresses.
Endurance is vital to playing good cricket. Whether batting or bowling if your body is waning your mind wanes too. If your mind wanes you cannot concentrate. All Force Train Better Weighted Products work on conditioning your body and micro conditioning the key muscle groups so that you become “cricket fit” both “mentally and physically”. If you are not cricket fit you will not succeed for long periods. Your mental game will struggle and you will not be able to execute your game plan or ball by ball plan. Most players that have been playing the game for a few years will be relatively “cricket fit” but not necessarily to the level that they could be. Having talent is a wonderful thing but if you cannot concentrate for long periods you will not occupy the crease as a batsman or be able to maintain your, pace, line and length later in a days play if you are a bowler.
As silly as it may sound, simply walking around carrying a T-6 bat in your hand will improve your batting endurance and mental strength. For bowlers as little as an over of each ball per session; starting with the underweight and working up to the 217 gram ball, will slowly develop your endurance levels and your bowling in general.
Leading coaches world wide are now using the Force Train Better Training Aids as part of their coaching methodology. Julian Wood in England and Morne van Wyk in South Africa. Elite level squads such as the Sydney Thunder and the Dolphins in South Africa, the England Men’s and Woman’s National Squads have been training with them. Julian Wood is currently using them in Seminars across all cricket playing regions. Cricket Academies and Institutes in Australia, England, South Africa and India now use them in all training sessions.
No matter what level of cricketer you are the Force Train Better Range of Products will help you improve your game. If you are dedicated and use these products within a defined program you will improve and become a better player for it. You will get more out your training sessions and you will come away from a session feeling like you have done a lot more than just face a few balls or just bowled a few balls.
Time to think outside of the square.
Work Harder - Train Smarter - Achieve More
James Baverstock - Product Designer