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HUMAN KINETICS

Excerpts

Learn the proper technique to perform the hook





Hook

In contrast to the pull, which is played to a short, leg-side ball that rises to about chest height from a medium pace bowler or spinner, the hook is a response to a short ball from a quicker bowler that has bounced up between chest and head height on the leg side. Attempt a hook only when well set because it can be risky if you try it before you have had time to adjust to the conditions and the bowler. You also need to know where the fielders are because, given variable bounce, it is not always possible to play this shot down. You are better advised to duck or sway out of the way unless you are confident that you can avoid any fielders positioned to catch an unwary hooker.

Misstep

You always hook the ball straight up in the air without any control.

Correction

You are probably trying to hook a ball that is too far to the off. Let it go.

Once you decide to hook, as soon as you see that short ball bouncing towards your head, move backwards and pivot on your back leg, bringing your head inside the line at the critical moment so that if you miss the ball it will pass harmlessly over your front shoulder. From your high backlift, bring the bat across your body in front of your eyes and help the ball towards the boundary between square leg and fine leg.

Misstep

You get hit every time you go to hook.

Correction

Make sure you get inside the line so that the ball passes over your front shoulder if you miss it.


Execution

1. Move back to get your head just inside line of ball

2. Pivot on back leg

3. Make contact as ball passes over front shoulder

4. Pivot completely around

5. Hit ball behind square on leg side

You sometimes hear of rolling your wrists when you hook, but there is usually insufficient time to complete this manoeuvre. You can try to hook down if the ball has not climbed too high, or you can deliberately attempt to hit it in the air for six. Balance is the key to controlling this stroke. It carries a high degree of risk, but it is also a means of taking the game to the bowler. It is up to you to assess the percentages and decide if they are in your favour at any particular stage of the game.

Misstep

Whenever you try to hook, you get caught at long leg.

Correction

Give up playing the stroke if the percentages of success are not in your favour.

Hook Drill 1. Imaginary Hook Shots

Play hook shots against an imaginary ball with either a coach or experienced partner watching or in front of a mirror. Shape to hook six balls.

Success Check

  • Ensure you have a good set-up with a high backlift.
  • Move your back foot backwards to get your body inside the line of the imaginary ball.
  • Pivot round as you play the shot as if you are helping the ball on its way.
  • For two imaginary balls, instead of going through the shape of the hook, get out of the way, either ducking down or swaying back.

Score Your Success

5 or 6 well-executed hooks or leaves = 5 points

3 or 4 well-executed hooks or leaves = 3 points

1 or 2 well-executed hooks or leaves = 1 point

Hook Drill 2. Hooking Tennis Balls

Have a feeder deliver tennis balls towards your head. Attempt to hook, duck underneath or sway out of their way. Take six balls.

To Increase Difficulty

  • Increase the speed of the service. In order to increase the speed considerably, the feeder can use a tennis racket to feed the ball.
  • Put fielders in position to take the catch.

To Decrease Difficulty

  • Decrease the speed of the service to give you more time to make a decision and execute the shot.

Success Check

  • Ensure you have a good set-up with a high backlift.
  • Move your back foot backwards to get your body inside the line of the ball.
  • Pivot around as you make contact with the ball so you are helping it on its way.
  • If you decide not to hook, duck underneath the ball, getting your hands and bat out of the way, or sway inside or outside the line.

Score Your Success

5 or 6 balls hooked or successfully avoided = 5 points

3 or 4 balls hooked or successfully avoided = 3 points

1 or 2 balls hooked or successfully avoided = 1 point

Hook Drill 3. Full Hook Shots

Put on full protection and have a bowler deliver six balls for you to hook. You can go through with the shot, or you can sway or duck out of the way. Play six balls.

To Increase Difficulty

  • Position fielders to take possible catches.
  • Increase the pace of the delivery.

To Decrease Difficulty

  • Have the bowler bowl very short but not too quickly, giving you time to play or leave.

Success Check

  • Ensure you have a good set-up with a high backlift.
  • Move your back foot backwards to get your body inside the line of the ball.
  • Pivot around as you make contact with the ball so you are helping it on its way.
  • If you decide not to hook, duck underneath the ball, getting your hands and bat out of the way, or sway inside or outside the line.

Score Your Success

5 or 6 balls successfully hooked or left = 5 points

3 or 4 balls successfully hooked or left = 3 points

1 or 2 balls successfully hooked or left = 1 point

This is an excerpt from Cricket: Steps to Success.




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