All fielding activities should replicate the specific requirements of the game. They should also provide optimal levels of participation and keep players interested. The intensity of practice should overload the players while providing quality fielding work. Trevor Penney offered the following basic principles to guide the conduct of fielding drills:
Drill practice should focus on practicing skills rather than just completing the drill. Players should focus on correct technique throughout all fielding drills. See figure 5.3a for an example of a typical low-intensity catching practice.
All practice should be at match intensity.
Concentration and desire should be at an optimum. Often in club situations, fielding drills are conducted in a very casual manner with lots of unrelated chatter and ready positions that do not emphasise alertness of body and mind. See figure 5.3b for an example of a typical high-intensity catching practice.
Emphasis should be on the fielder reacting and moving to the ball quickly, allowing time to get into a balanced position. This ensures that the base is set before a throw, stop or catch is made.
It is wise to start with more technical drills and then progress to more competitive and specific drills.
Small groups, as shown in figure 5.4, allow for maximum opportunity to practice the skills.
In all forms of the game, there needs to be more attention placed on match-specific fielding during practice, as discussed previously.
Fielders in the inner ring should practice closing in on the batters.
The following practices were most recommended by the players interviewed for this book. Adopting these approaches to training and using repetitive, high-intensity drilling should ensure that fielders have automatic responses under pressure situations in matches.