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Author Topic: Don't watch the ball?  (Read 894 times)

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richthekeeper

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Don't watch the ball?
« on: July 13, 2018, 10:56:41 AM »

I quite enjoyed this video https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2018/jul/13/returning-a-pro-tennis-serve-just-dont-watch-the-ball-video from the Guardian explaining how watching the ball in tennis doesn't work. The same theory could in principle apply to cricket - the reaction time is similar, as is the trajectory of the ball and the existence of spin. So how does this explanation differ from the various articles posted recently explaining "how" and "when" to watch the ball as a batsman?

@Buzz ?
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Northern monkey

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2018, 11:33:40 AM »

I realised whilst batting the other day, that I dont honestly think Ive ever watched the ball from the bowlers hand!
Im convinced Ive just reacted to the sudden appearance of a ball, whilst looking and thinking about everything bar the ball
Ive only been winging it this way for over 40yrs, so still time to change I suppose
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stevat

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 11:42:38 AM »

There was an article on here the other week about how the top player's eyes naturally jump from and to release, pitch and contact - so effectively they aren't tracking the ball the whole 22.

I find that when I'm in form I'm doing something akin to that (at least I see the ball make contact with the bat), but when I'm out of form I don't watch the point of contact but rather look to where I'm attempting to play the ball - leading to mistimed shots and edges.  This season has been a nightmare trying to get myself out of that habit.

I think what I'm saying is that if you speak to top players, they will likely believe they track it the whole way, but ultimately that is unlikely.  You have to still try and track the ball, but your brain gives you half a chance by adjusting to the pace and reacting accordingly.  Eventually.
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brokenbat

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2018, 11:56:27 AM »

watching the ball, and tracking the ball are two different things. most experiments reveal that the best players do not TRACK the ball all the way, but they most certainly WATCH the ball out of the hand, with head/eyes relatively still. doing this well gives them the ability to anticipate the path of the ball without having to track it all the way.

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richthekeeper

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2018, 12:01:22 PM »

my own reflection on this goes back to facing a former Pakistan 1st class quick in a net a few years ago. this guy was coming back from an injury and joined our net session as part of his rehab. ran in from the boundary and bowled quicker than anyone else I've ever faced. I'm absolutely sure I didn't watch, or even see the ball at any point, but I did play an immaculate forward defensive shot which I middled back to him.

I'm also sure that I would have instinctively known that a bouncer was coming, although much less sure that I would have managed to duck it!
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treefeller

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 12:38:49 PM »

Matthew Syed wrote in Bounce about not being able to return tennis serves despite having something like twice the time he was used to in table tennis. He put it down to the sub-conscious cues 'experts' in their sport pick up on that give them advanced warning of where the ball will go.

Doesn't Bob Woolmer state it's impossible to watch the ball all the way? I think he says the eyes can't move quickly enough and puts batsman skill down to their ability to predict where the ball will pitch more quickly and accurately.

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stevat

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 12:46:53 PM »

Can't remember who, but one top Australian batsman of yesteryear said once that he watches the bowler running in for visual clues to his intention and that if he releases the ball early it'll be full, and if he releases the ball late it'll be short.  Sounds so simple when put like that.

Like I said, I always feel like I'm playing well when I'm watching the ball make contact with the bat - essentially means I'm holding my position more and not raising my head too early.  Just have to remember to run next.
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WalkingWicket37

Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2018, 12:54:23 PM »

I realised whilst batting the other day, that I dont honestly think Ive ever watched the ball from the bowlers hand!
Im convinced Ive just reacted to the sudden appearance of a ball, whilst looking and thinking about everything bar the ball
Ive only been winging it this way for over 40yrs, so still time to change I suppose

Imagine how hard you'd hit it if you did watch it all the way!  :o
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Buzz

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 01:59:17 PM »

Imagine playing a spinner and not watching the wrist/hand to pick which way it will spin.
Your results would be like England's yesterday.

The idea of not watching the release point of the ball is just daft.
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richthekeeper

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 02:26:28 PM »

Maybe it's the same point though Buzz - you're watching the wrist and how the ball is released, rather than the ball itself?
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edge

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 02:50:05 PM »

I am not sure the point of this video was that you shouldn't watch the ball... Maybe rearrange clickbaity headline to "don't just watch the ball"
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adb club cricketer

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 11:09:06 PM »

Maybe it's the same point though Buzz - you're watching the wrist and how the ball is released, rather than the ball itself?

This is a good point, you can either watch the hand/wrist or the ball, not sure both at full focus. I am still not clear which one we should focus on. Looking for the hand will give you information on which way he is spinning but we are always told to watch the ball and if we watch the ball, we might miss the subtle changes in hand position at release. So what is the correct way on this.
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six and out

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2018, 06:07:15 AM »

It does depend on the type of bowler but in general I go with 3 cue points -

1. Ball out of hand - as discussed best way to pick up any clues what is coming and also a good way to concentrate.
2. Where the ball pitches - to be able to judge length etc..
3. Ball onto bat - watch the ball right on to the bat.

It is physically impossible to track the ball the whole way if you are facing a quick bowler. The best batters have the best instincts after picking up line and lengths etc... quickest
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SLA

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2018, 11:58:16 AM »

Basically, you watch the bowler's head (approximately, but without real focus) as he is running in, and then fiercely watch the ball out of the hand once his bowling arm appears by his head.

Against pace, the ball is moving too quick to track the whole way.

If the ball disappears immediately out of your direct line of vision, then you know its short, so you step back and immediately look down to roughly where its going to land, and then try to pick it up again and track it briefly from after it bounces - this should give you just about enough information on the height and pace of the bounce to be able to play a back foot shot.

If the ball doesn't disappear but instead stays in your direct field of vision, then you know its full, so you step forward, whilst tracking it for as long as possible, picking up any shape through the air. At some point, normally about 6 foot in front of you, it will effectively disappear, but hopefully you've gathered enough information for your bat to come through in roughly the right place.

When batting against spin, you can pretty much track the ball the whole way. The key here is not to move until you've accurately judged exactly where the ball is going to land, and then move positively and decisively into position.

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SLA

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Re: Don't watch the ball?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2018, 12:04:05 PM »

Imagine playing a spinner and not watching the wrist/hand to pick which way it will spin.
Your results would be like England's yesterday.

The idea of not watching the release point of the ball is just daft.

On the subject of picking a spinner

- most spinners you can tell whether they're leggies or offies just from the shape of their action. I'm sure most of us can pick what type of spinner a guy is from the boundary, sometimes before he's even bowled a ball.

- IMO, more important than watching the wrist is watching the spin on the ball. Good spinners can learn to mislead a batsman who watches their wrist - two types of googly and all that - but no-one can disguise the spin on the ball once it is in the air. For me, the bowler could be bowling from behind a screen, but as long as I can see the ball in flight, I can pick the direction of spin
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