Bob Woolmer on BattingPaperback
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- Publisher: New Holland Publishers Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 128 pages
- Dimensions: 200mm x 246mm x 10mm | 322g
- Publication date: 25 March 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1847737498
- ISBN 13: 9781847737496
- Illustrations note: approx 85 photographs in b/w, approx 5 illustrations in b/w
- Sales rank: 390,608
This comprehensive manual is a lively, yet scientifically and technically thorough guide to the science of batting in cricket. Combining the knowledge of top cricket coach Bob Woolmer and an expert sports scientist, the book tackles the essential techniques involved in batting, including picking line and length, balance, shot selection and shot execution. Unlike many other manuals, "Bob Woolmer on Batting' focuses not only on the technical aspects of batting, but also on mental strength; covering the visual and neurological, physical and biomechanical, and psychological skills that make up the science of batting. Featuring clear, explanatory illustrations throughout, along with useful summaries and tips, this is the definitive guide to mastering the skills involved in batting.
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Considered the most forward-thinking coach in international cricket, BOB WOOLMER'S tragic and untimely death at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean dominated headlines around the globe for months. One small comfort is that he had just completed his magnum opus, a lifetime's wisdom garnered from playing and coaching cricket at the highest levels. PROFESSOR TIM NOAKES co-founded the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and is the Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town. He also directs the Medical Research Council/UCT Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Research Unit, which has produced nearly 400 scientific articles since its foundation 12 years ago. DR HELEN MOFFETT is a freelance writer and academic (she is a Senior Research Fellow at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town). She is passionate about cricket, and has lectured all over the world on the social, political and cultural dimensions of the game. She has also co-produced two documentary films on cricket, transformation and nation-building in South Africa.
By mat archer 21 Mar 2011
No matter how well you're doing things, there's always a way to get better.
For me, there are two major ways of doing this: one, practising the basics - fault detection, feeding, technical analysis - and two, nicking other people's ideas. If I look through the catalogue of drills, games, explanations and analogies that I use as a coach, I think there's the sum total of one that I've come up with myself - and that's probably because no one else is stupid enough to use "I'll sit here and you hit me on the foot" to groove straight drives. These two companion volumes, Woolmer on Batting and Woolmer on Bowling, updated works by Professor Tim Noakes and Dr Helen Moffett, subscribe heavily to box one.
From the start, both books expect the reader to come in on their terms: there is no dumbing down, no subtle, deprecating humour - no words wasted on colour where they could be concentrating on technique. Every detail is given due consideration, right down to the specifics of finger positions of the bottom hand grip or the implications of the front foot no-ball rule for fast bowlers' ankles, it's hard to believe you could turn to either volume with a technical question, only to see it go unanswered. Batting covers the grip, stance and setup before proceeding to build its innings through the straight bat shots, before expanding its horizons towards the cross-batted strokes and the Woolmer favourites, the family of sweeps.
This is one section in which a criticism of the book's approach can come to mind: there's, perhaps, too much weight given to the statement if it's prefixed with "Woolmer thought", as if this is an alternative for full explanation and argument. This also rears its head later in Bowling, when doosras are encouraged as a tremendous skill, skating over the fact that I've never had a conversation about a doosra without talking about its legality. It's a particular shame in this context, as the book begins with a revealing study of the biomechanics of bowling, discussing the "carrying angle" phenomenon - the imperfectly straightened arm that contributes to the illusion of throwing in the actions of Muttiah Muralitharan and Johan Botha.
Physics and mechanics also take centre stage in the latter half of Bowling, as the finer details of turbulent and laminar air currents, and the ways in which they react with the rough and shiny sides of the cricket ball to create both conventional and reverse swing, and explored in great scientific detail. The Magnus effect, discovered in the 19th century as the military tried to explain why nobody ever managed to hit the guys they were trying to shoot, is also explained within the context of spinners' dip and drift, exemplified by Shane Warne's "ball of the century". Science is again at the forefront as the authors take aim at the "saccade heresy" - the misconception that batsmen watch the ball in an unbroken line from the bowler's hand onto the bat, which extends into an analysis of reaction times in diminishing light.
Warne is far from the only member of cricket's hall of fame whose exploits feature in the books, as Woolmer's South African connection ensures that Jacques Kallis and Allan Donald can provide excellent technical models for the respective volumes, whilst every chapter is littered with names from cricketing past and present. This is no better illustrated than in the manner which Don Bradman's backswing - aimed as it was at second slip - is analysed in a deep and thought-provoking feature entitled the "rotary batting method". The Don's technique differed from his contemporaries, the argument goes - so why has no one tried to copy him? Why, for many years, was he simply explained away as "unorthodox", or "genius", rather than being looked at as a break in the mould? Once again - no matter how well you're doing, why can't you do even better?
These aren't books for the cricketing greenhorn. They're not the ideal Christmas present for a budding youngster, nor a likely aid for a new coach: the level of detail in the biomechanical sections would almost certainly go over the head of anyone without a good deal of cricket background, and the patience to match. Nonetheless, for a teenager with real aspirations of playing at the highest levels, or an experienced coach willing to challenge his ideas and his understanding, these books - particularly as reasonably-priced as they are - would be a valuable addition to their bookshelf.