Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/25

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few weeks before the season begins that people neglect. It is then that careful and regular practice is so important, for one of the fundamental requirements for good cricket is, that the movements and actions used in the game should by assiduous practice have become habits.

Most matches imply a certain amount of travel. It may be well, therefore, to say a few words as to its influence on play. A fatiguing and wearisome journey exercises a certain strain on the eye, which to some extent injures one's play. Hence, in case of a match away from the home ground, go, if possible, to the spot the night previous, or in good time before the game begins, and get a couple of hours' rest. Another advantage to be derived from this rest is, that it will enable you to arrive on the ground in good time and have a few minutes' practice at the nets. Your eyes will thus become familiar with the light, and your judgment with the pace of the ground. The neglect of this few minutes' practice often leads to disaster. Different grounds have different paces and different kinds of light, and without practice you cannot be at home on the new venue for the first few minutes.

Then as to eating on the ground. Cricket-lunches at school are, as a rule, plain and wholesome; but I have known places where a regular feast has been put on the table. Nothing is so apt to deaden activity and create sluggishness in the middle of the day. With regard to drinks, boys generally drink ginger-beer, lemonade, and, where they are allowed it, beer. I assert, although I fear there will be a great preponderance of opinion against my theory, that water is far and away the best: failing that, I advise non-alcoholic drinks. Many players make a habit of taking a drink in the middle of a long innings. I do not advise them to take anything more than a little water, just to wet the throat and rinse the mouth. This is all that is necessary; it will quench the thirst effectively.

Train yourself never to deal carelessly with any ball or bowler. Bad balls, particularly when straight, ought not to be treated with contempt. So also in the case of a bowler when a change is put on; he should be played carefully, and no liberties taken until his action, pace, and other peculiarities have become familiar. One thing that has often proved fatal to a batsman, through lack of this caution, is the inability to resist the temptation of hitting a boundary after two or three have already been hit in the same over.

A few hints to "coaches" on the training of boys may not be