Various factors determine the fielding abilities of a player, one of them is the reach of the fielder. So let me help you check this box, as well, through some cricket tips to improve body reach while fielding. But what does body reach mean?
Let us put aside the situations where the ball goes straight to a fielder. Consider the situation where a fielder needs to stop or catch a ball which is a few feet away. The ability of a fielder to stop or catch the ball which is few feet away from him/ her is the body reach of the player.
Tips to improve body reach
Proper foot work in a fielder is the key aspect for body reach. That is to say, the fielder should have the reflex and allow the foot to move towards the direction of the ball. When the fielder moves/ opens the foot towards the direction of the ball, the player increases his/ her body reach. Thus the fielder is able to cover a lot more area on the field, to catch or stop the ball.
For example, assume the trajectory of the ball towards the right of the fielder. In this case, the fielder has to opens the right foot (toes pointing) towards the ball. Only then the fielder is able to have full extension of the body. When there is full extension of the body, the player can cover a lot more area towards his/ her right.
So, to brief it up, lack of foot work reduces the reach of the fielder.
Foot work of the fielder must be complemented by good body movement towards the ball. This is to say, along with the foot the body must also move towards the direction of the ball.
What do I mean when I say ‘body movement’ of the fielder? No worries, it’s a rhetorical question😁.
When I say body movement, fielder’s arms, shoulders, chest and even the head of the fielder should move towards the direction of the ball. This further increases the reach of the fielder.
Imagine that you are a fielder fielding in the slip corridor. Let’s consider a situation where the ball’s trajectory is one or two feet away from the body.
When the ball takes the edge of the bat, the fielder must be in a position to move or dive towards the direction of the ball. So, as mentioned earlier, foot movement of the fielder is necessary to move or dive and stop/ catch the ball.
Lack of foot movement towards the ball does not allow the fielder to reach the ball. This is because, when there is no foot movement, the fielder will lock his arms between his/ her knees. Since the arms of the fielder is unable to move freely, the fielder will not be able to reach the ball. As a result the body movement of the fielder will also be restricted.
- While moving your body, to catch or stop the ball, always keep your eyes on the ball. I know, some of the close in catches are purely reflex catches but try to keep the eyes on the ball until it reaches your hands.
- Let the weight of body be on your toes while fielding (this should be implemented even in your batting stance and bowling (run-up)). Not the entire weight of the body, but majority of the weight should be on your toes. Staying on your toes will help you reduce the reaction time to the ball. Just so you know, the opposite is staying on your heels.
- Initially, before the foot movement, the toes must be pointing forward and knees must be slightly bent. In the fielding stance, it is important for the fielder to ensure that his/ her toes are pointing forward. This allows the fielder to be in a neutral position to move is either direction. Crouching (keeping knees bent) is also important for a fielder improve the body reach. Keeping the knees slightly bent in the fielding stance helps the fielder to jump up to catch a ball over the head, at a height.
These are a few simple cricket tips in to improve body reach while fielding.