In cricket, the orthodox cup is the most basic catching method. It should be used for any chance that comes below chest height.
You’ll need to learn and practise the orthodox cup if you’re to develop a so-called ‘safe pair of hands’.
Relax. This is useful for a lot of skills in cricket, but particularly for catching. If you’re nervous and wound up as the ball flies towards you, catching it is going to be a lot harder.
Instead, keep calm and back yourself to take the catch. In particular, your hands should be relaxed rather than rigid. If they’re too firm, the ball could bounce right out.
Call for the catch. This is especially important if there are other fielders near you. If you think you’re in the best position to take the catch, make sure they know about it as early as possible by calling “Mine!”, or your name, loudly and surely. Two cricket fielders colliding as a catch goes down can provide great comedy for spectators, but it can also really hurt.
Sometimes, of course, you’ll be the only one in a position to take the catch. Still, even in those situations, it’s best to be on the safe side. Also, if you get into the habit of calling confidently, your teammates will trust you more in the field.
Set yourself properly. As you prepare to take the catch, your hands should be quite close to your body. If they’re too far out in front of you, there’s a risk of losing control.
A good way to get your hands in roughly the right place is to hold your hands out in front of you and tuck your elbows in against your hips. In this way you’re contributing some of your core strength to the act of taking the catch, which helps you maintain control and confidence in your hands to do their job.
Get your hands into orthodox cup position. Bring both hands together so that they touch gently along the inner (pinky) edges, palms up. Your fingers should be pointing upwards in the direction of the ball, while your thumbs should be facing left and right on each side.
You should now have a large ‘cup’ in which to catch the ball easily. Remember to keep your hands as relaxed as possible.
Keep your eyes on the ball. From the moment the ball hits the bat, your eyes should not leave it until it’s safely nestled in your palms (except in rare circumstances).
As such, as long as you’ve called (as in step two), you shouldn’t need to worry about what anyone else is doing. Stay focused on the ball and watch it all the way into your hands.
Bring your hands into your body as you catch. The ball’s likely to be travelling pretty fast when it reaches you, so it can be difficult to control.
As the ball hits your hands, pull them smoothly into your stomach while wrapping your fingers around the ball. Success!
Use soft hands. This is just another way of saying ‘relax your hands’ but you’ll hear it a lot from cricket coaches.
The idea is that with ‘hard’ or rigid hands, your palms act like a brick wall and it’s easy for the ball to bounce out upon impact. If they’re relaxed, or ‘soft’, the impact of the ball is absorbed and the ball will stay in your hands.
Catch with the base of your fingers. Your fingertips are weaker, while the heel of your palm is too firm, so the base of your fingers is the best part of your hands to catch with. It gives you the best chance of holding onto the ball.
Try practising with a tennis ball. Being much bouncier, a tennis ball is harder to catch than a cricket ball. Alternate between a cricket ball and a tennis ball for well-rounded catching practice.
What You Need
- A cricket or tennis ball