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Equipment

Your Essential guide when buying cricket equipment for your pre-schooler

I have been coaching ages 3 – 8 for almost a decade and a half now and wanted to share this essential guide with all parents that have talented budding little cricket players at home (whether they are good at it or not). How our pre-schooler is introduced to the sport makes a very big difference in them growing a strong positive association with it. So lets get into it?

My frame work before making a purchase can be summarized as follows…

Is it SAFE and does it OPTIMISE GROWTH?

{You can read on or watch me break this down in 4 minutes in the video above}


The bat:


Always prioritize plastic over wood at this age, even if your youngster insists on it. The plastic is safer, lighter, more durable and optimises developmental skill sets in their cricket technical enhancement. The plastic used must be blow molding, the bat needs to be light. CricketHERO is our extra mural based cricket program, and we use bats that weigh between 188g – 248g. the lighter bats are slightly longer and the shorter bats are slightly heavier to balance the variables out.

However, if in doubt go for a shorter bat. Longer bats for this age group encourage a golf or hockey swing effect, but a shorter bat forces they player to get lower and closer to the ball before hitting it. Longer bats also need an adjustment in pick up. It’s more difficult for this age group.

Make sure your bat has a great colour making it look fun.


The Ball:


The ball is the real tricky bit. Tennis balls, slaz balls, balls that are found in a ball ring at a chilren’s gym etc are really not great for development. The bounce is unfavourable depending what surface you are on, they are restrictive in terms of where you can play, pain is involved if a player gets hit (maybe less likely with a tennis ball, but definitely with a slaz ball.)

The types of balls we use at CricketHERO are imported in because we cant source it over here, (FYI if you know anyone that could manufacture these balls locally, please let me know, I would owe you big time.) Anyway, we use balls that have a PVC outer layer with a poly-fibre inner layer.

They are soft, spongy and safe…

Reason being is that these balls sound great when you hit it but dont go anywhere, which means no broken windows. The sound of a ball being smashed builds confidence for the junior and the more confident they become the more likely they are to enjoy the sport and get better. building a positive association is vital to encourage the right things.


Wickets:


Ok, this may shock you, but trust me, I have coaching this age group for a very long time… Say NO to Wickets. Wickets are not helpful. When batting, no one wants to the miss the ball – it sucks, so when a junior misses the ball and the ball hits the wickets and therefore gets given out – we effectively working backwards in wanting to achieve our goal.

The player needs to be focused on hitting the ball, not worried about getting out, this creates a negative work space and you will see this in cricketers that defend for dear life instead of looking to score runs. It adds pressure and unnecessary consequence to your pre-schooler.


{Refer to the CricketHERO Development Chart for when you can incorporate wickets. See home page to download}


If we take the example further and apply it to bowling, a pre-schooler needs to get his or her arm straight at release. That is the only thing they need to achieve at this level and possibly gather power, they dont need to worry about the pressure of hitting or missing a target.

When I see wickets being sold for this age group, I see cricket brands that have not invested into research or understanding, they just dont care enough.

Please dont buy stumps! if you need a target, use a wall of the house… make the target so big that they cannot possible miss it. Because that may be fun for them but hitting or missing shouldn’t be the objective, Creating an environment where your child will “win” while focusing on a technical element or development milestone – that is the focus, that is the point.


Conclusion:


There you have it, Now you know what to look for when buying cricket equipment for your pre-schooler.

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