Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/230

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the latter is a capable coach. The difficulty is to find a man who is a good enough bowler to bowl the exact balls required, and is at the same time fully versed in the theory of batting and able to impart it. Nevertheless, a man behind a net can see almost better than the bowler how a player is shaping. There is, too, a great waste of time if the bowler has to stop in order to talk and demonstrate. I believe strongly in net-practice, and I do not think a player can have too much of it, if practice is carried out carefully and studiously. Directly one gets fatigued and loses keenness, it is best to stop at once: it is a mistake to take too much of a good thing at a time. About half an hour with either one or two bowlers is sufficient for a person eighteen years old and upwards: for younger players, from fifteen to twenty minutes is enough. There is no need for me to re-examine the duties of a coach, but I should like to insist again that it is a mistake for him to try to change the natural tendencies of his pupils. The great thing is to develop the student's abilities to their best and fullest extent. It has been explained how cricket may be learned by imitation. Young players cannot do better than watch the different players for whom they have a fancy, and try to learn from them such strokes as are best adapted for their own build, temperament, and style. There are certain things which experience teaches better than anything else. One often finds out a new. stroke by a fluke. It is the same thing with billiards: new strokes are learnt by accident sometimes. In cricket an unintentional movement of the body or bat may suggest quite a new way of playing some ball. Such chance revelations should be made the most of. People tell me that the strongest part of my game is my manner of playing leg-strokes. I found out how to play to leg in the way I do from a chance stroke I once made in practice. Whether my method is good or bad is beside the question.

There are occasions when a player is asked to change his tactics. Sometimes a captain requests a side either to play with extreme caution or to force the game as much as they can. In practice, therefore, it is a good thing to adopt one method at one time and another at another time. A man who can play both games equally well is sure to be very useful to his side. When time is short and a considerable number of runs have to be made, a captain often asks his men to force the game. This means that batsmen will have not only to hit the balls as they would ordinarily, but try to force those which they would be inclined to treat defensively. Or, again,