7 July 2007

Walking in - the answer

And you thought I'd forgotten to follow up on the walking in post didn't you? Fear not, just finding out what the deal was from a qualified coach. He says:

"Walking in has various advantages. Firstly it keeps everyone moving as if the fielders remain static and do not move around they are not as warm/loose and cannot move as easily. Secondly it creates atmosphere and purpose amongst the fielding side - fielders should be thought of as attacking weapons to get wickets. It is also easier for the fielders in the ring to stop the single if there is slight forward momentum.

Having said all this the idea of actually being in the process of walking at the precise moment that the ball is delivered is outdated and is not really coached anymore.

The most commonly taught method now is to walk in so that your momentum is moving forward slightly but as the ball is delivered you get into the "ready" or goalkeeper position with both feet on the floor shoulder width or slightly more apart on the balls of your feet. This position can be seen in numerous other sports such as goalkeepers in football before penalties and tennis players awaiting a serve. Moving forward helps to get into this sprung position.

A typical method of teaching this would be using a ladder which sprinters have traditionally used for the player to run through with fast feet. When they come out of the ladder they have to get into the ready position as fast as possible to receive a catch. The whole idea is to have fast feet throughout so you can adjust quickly and be in the best position to receive the ball. There are now courses in SAQ (Speed Agility Quickness) designed to improve movement in all sports which have a massive part to play in fielding.

Now that fielding has moved into the 21st century and embraced the ideas in other sports such as baseball there is a great deal of interest in the way in which fielders move. Hence the reason why Mike Young who has a baseball background is used as the Aussies' fielding coach."

You can read more about Mike Young's thoughts on fielding here.

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