I was introduced to the Wack Bat in autumn 2017 having been aware of the concept for a few years while it has been developed. Over the last five months I’ve used it while coaching basic ball striking skills and some fundamental backswing drills to more advanced power hitting and playing spin. The biggest benefit has been the enthusiasm that all players of all abilities from club to county in Under 13 age groups to senior first team players have shown, at times it has been difficult to stop them using it, any pause in coaching invariably leads to my coaching bag being raided and players starting to play with the bats!
I believe the major benefits are:
• Coaching the importance of striking the ball under the eyes, getting the ‘thwack’ of the bat timed as the head is directly over point of shadow contact with straight bat shots (attacking or defensive);
• With power hitting helping the player have a tangible understanding of hand speed and power created by leg and hip drive as they seek to get as loud a thwack as possible;
• Its helped with the concept of loading and energy transfer to increase power, again the players can hear the louder noise which shows advancement;
• With drills on hitting through the ball and arm extension the noise has helped in timing and an understanding of when the bat is coming through;
• Advanced understanding of the importance of bat acceleration when playing attacking shots;
• Conversely when paying spin or defensively allowing the players to gauge how much the bat is decelerating into the point of contact, less noise the better.
Demonstrations and giving a picture of what the player should be trying to achieve works but this gives the player real understanding as they have a go and are challenged by trying to create the loudest (or quietest in defence) thwack as possible in the right place. Much easier for me to assess from the noise and give feedback rather than just thinking the hands look fast or soft. Invariably though the players know themselves, even better.
I can see good benefit while warming up immediately prior to an innings while playing shadow shots to wake the body up and get in the groove while also mentally preparing. There is also a side benefit in that it strengthens the wrists and forearms, this shouldn’t be underestimated.
I will continue to develop the way I coach with the Wack Back and the players will continue to experiment which will increase its value as a formal structured coaching tool and something players will want to have access to whether in the moments before going into bat or downtime at home. However, I believe that the major benefit as a coaching resource is that the players of all ages and abilities love it and don’t want to put it down!
ECB Club Coach.
Petersfield Cricket Club.