Finally, back again on the mark! It’s been a while since I shared the lastest with the freebowler. However, yeah, feels good to be back on the road again with written and freebowler innovation journey content creation and documenting the process. At freebowler, we’ve been lately thinking a lot about the end goal, the outcome, and what’s is it that we want to achieve. WHAT IS IT THAT WE WANT WITH FREEBOWLER? WHERE’S THE NORTH STAR? It’s great that we are solving or instead in pursuit of solving a need in the market place in cricket. There are plenty of problems in cricket, but we are addressing the training and infrastructure issues by providing a solution which could help fill a void and aid cricketers with their everyday cricket practice. We’ve always talked a lot about the features and benefits of the freebowler Superthrower non-electric and portable cricket ball thrower, compared it against the existing ball throwing aids, described the value addition it brings to the table amongst all the other various training options and effectiveness of the same, and more.
We’ve also shed light on the ‘impact’ it has on people’s lives who need accessible, affordable training aids and the vision of fulfilling the needs of the cricketers and their training experience. It feels good that we are offering a simple solution to a complex problem and are on the course of making it an integral part of the training system in cricket over some time. All this is great, but the picture still doesn’t look complete. It’s beginning to come to life and realization that the work will only be half done if and when we get to our goal of 50,000 units. However, we are now beginning to fear if we’ll ever have a real impact and influence on the cricket world, which by the way is still a long way in the process. To be honest with ourselves, we are only really offering ‘a part’ of the solution, not ‘THE SOLUTION.’ We believe that we need to redefine ‘impact’ and ‘value addition’ in our case to make it result-oriented, merit, and performance-based. Meaning ‘the scores’ should speak, especially at the youth cricket level. Because eventually, that’s what matters.
The point of discussion should be the transformation and the graduation of a player from point A to point B. We need to highlight and talk more about the performances of players and what is it that freebowler superthrower has done to cricketers’ game should be the bigger picture and vision that we need to chase. Helping cricketers practice in the absence of fellow cricketers is excellent, but it is really affecting their game on a day-to-day basis and is the change a productive one, are players scoring runs in their seasonal games after training with the freebowler superthrower and how are they technically shaping up before and after, much more of these points should be the future talking points, and that’s something we are moving towards and helping cricketers truly achieve greatness.
TRUE TECHNICAL VALUE ADDITIONS OF FREEBOWLER SUPERTHROWER TO THE BATSMAN
The non-electric, portable, affordable nature, use of real cricket balls with natural variations is great; it’s in fact, the functionality of the mechanical system itself. It’s essential to have these features which make up for a practical solution on the field for everyday practice; covering the basics. It’s just good enough and in a position where cricketers can benefit from the offering. However, the next part to that we also want to focus on is the technical value addition to the batting skills. There are several places that we can start with, be it footwork, timing, hand-eye coordination, trigger movement, body balance, stance, grip, running between the wickets and we can go to a lot of different places. However, in cricket, these things matter, playing with real cricket balls is ideal, but what does that mean? We definitely can’t provide solutions to technical issues like stance, grip, body balance, posture and things of that nature or necessarily things that need to be worked on before the batsman faces on the ball and what he does after meeting the ball. No, we can’t help him with the mental side of things too with the machine, but the battle of the bat and the ball, the hand-eye coordination, footwork, timing, the head position are the addressable ones. Playing various shots from defensive to aggressive, and the process of perfecting it is aided with the machine by playing hundreds of balls consistently.
We want cricketers to benefit from playing for long hours using real cricket balls to help them get better with their timing, stroke play, hand, and eye coordination, trigger movement, footwork essentially everything that goes into meeting the ball from the time ball is released.
Although still early days, and less scientific proof, but practically we’ve witnessed changes in the batting form of the batsman who’ve used this ball thrower for a considerable amount of time. It’s the overall form, function, and the built, the way the throwing arm throws the ball to the batter and speeds at which it gets to the batsman. It was designed to mimic a throwing arm and matching the release point for an average height of a cricketer, but in no way, it’s close to doing what a real bowler does. However, one thing it simulates is the release of the actual cricket ball seam up at a height that’s relatable with a slinging action, unlike the shooting of the ball through the hole in other electric bowling machines.
The slinging action triggers certain motions of the batter, which plays out to be beneficial in many ways with footwork, timing, trigger movement, hand, and eye coordination. Since the release speeds of the slinging action of the throwing arm are fast, the balls tends gets to the batter at certain speeds different from real bowler’s bowling speeds. It essentially forces the batsman to pick the length of the ball at same release points in the machine which is very counterintuitive to the way we play real cricket where the batsman picks the range of the ball at various release points of the bowler’s hand and wrist position. So the batsmen make adjustments to his current technique and adapt to the machine in such a way that he/she starts playing the ball “off the pitch,” but still getting to the ball he/she usually does others wise. Again, it takes at least a couple of sessions to get used to releasing points and to start coming in the line of the ball.
The technical aspect of the machine which adds to the batsman’s advantage here is the random variability of the device in terms of gripping the ball loaded into the throwing cup. The natural variation (off-the-pitch movement) coupled with random variability of the ball from the throwing cup is just enough to present a variety of deliveries to the batter in a session, which is what he/she gets in a real game. The random nature on one side and the release points, speed of the throwing arm all gives enough to the batsman each time to play the ball accordingly to the merit of the ball every time. Moreover, he has the only a fraction of a millisecond to make these involuntary and voluntary decisions in his mind before he plays a shot, which is very different when playing against a real bowler.
Fun fact: With freebowler superthrower, we are even training the batsman for bad balls thanks to the random variability of the machine.
A smooth run-up versus fast run-up with high jump loading allows the batsman to pick the cue already, and pre-determine the length of the ball. Match situation and field settings will further enable him to plan his shots accordingly. However, unfortunately, there’s been no system so far in the technological advancement of cricket with artificial intelligence which could simulate these situations and mentally train the batsman for the match situations. However, with freebowler Superthrower, we are at least 5% into the process of training the batsman to be prepared for a variety of balls with better trigger movements, reaction times, footwork and bat speeds. Because playing against the ball thrower consistently over time prepares the batsman’s mind to get into right batting positions without the cue. It allows him/her to make those adjustments much faster with higher reaction speeds to commit to a particular shot. Hence, better batting technique, higher conversion rate with runs because now the batsman is one up than the bowler.
Again, all these assumptions need to be technically proven to be true through various parameters. However, we’ve something which is making batsman runs one or the other way. Technically speaking, long way to go to have something sound through R&D. This value addition with the machine coupled with real cricket education in the form coaching /training is our ultimate goal to take cricketers game to the next level and ultimately help them get to where they want.
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