Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/26

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out of place here. All boys require coaching in cricket at a very early date. Hardly any cricketer has reached a very high standard who has not had some early coaching. A coach should first impress upon his pupil the rudimentary elements of the game—how to stand at the wickets, how to watch the ball coming from the bowler, and how to make particular strokes off particular balls. If a boy shows a tendency to play a stroke in an effective way but unlike others, he ought to be encouraged to do that stroke and not have his natural style cramped. Nothing is more detrimental than to check the natural strokes of a boy. Nor should a coach try to make a pupil too steady a bat if he shows an inclination to hit out. Let him make the best of his material, and not try to change the boy's natural style, attributes, or gifts by forcing them into a fixed groove. Far better results will thus be accomplished than if the coach impressed upon each boy a stereotyped style, however sound. This does not mean, however, that he will neglect to tell each student certain elementary things, such as to keep the ball down, not to move the right foot, and so on. One important part of his duty is to teach his pupil to gain confidence in himself: in doing this he will have to be careful that the pupil does not become afraid of the ball by batting to very fast bowling or joining full-grown men in their games. He should see also that the boys practise on good wickets—that is to say, on wickets that are neither fiery nor bumpy, nor such as are likely to injure their nerves or damage their bodies. Of course a boy's success will ultimately depend on his own natural abilities, his keenness and perseverance, and his temperament. Too much coaching is bad. Half an hour a-day once or twice a-week is quite sufficient, added to the practice which he gets at the nets by himself and in games. Some one should be on the look-out to see that he is not practising so long as to become fatigued and careless. Many bad habits may be traced to such overwork.

A coach should give his pupils a few pieces of general advice which apply to all. First, as to the batsman. After going to the wicket, he should watch the ball all the time, and not premeditate a stroke before the ball is delivered, a very common fault among boys. He should put himself into the right position to meet the various kinds of balls, either forward or back, as the case may be. Then as to the bowler. The coach must tell him to bowl straight, to vary his pace, to put on a spin, and try to find out the weak points of the batsman. Of course these gifts will only come one by one, but the great thing is to make him