KNOCKING IN YOUR BAT
THE KINGSGROVE SPORTS CENTRE WAY
You've spent your hard-earned money on your dream bat. One problem! It is only
made of wood and will have very hard cricket balls smashed against
it for most of its life. Most bats eventually conk out and break, and you can never predict when this will happen. It can happen on the very first ball you play or it may not break for ten years. You can
never put a life on a cricket bat. The only action you can take is to HELP prevent
and LESSEN the likelihood of your bat breaking, particularly early in its life, by
knocking in the bat properly. Of course it is essential you know the right
procedures and techniques in order to help this cause. Lets look at the process in point
1. You are purchasing your bat from a reputable Cricket / Sports store either in
person or online. Ensure you ask firstly whether they have the applicable machinery ie a Bat Roller & a manualed procedure as at Kingsgrove Sports. Your bat should go through this process before you commence your own manual knocking in. You also need to ask for advice on what manual knocking in is required once you have recieved your bat. If you are buying the bat in person, ask the staff member to demonstrate for you how this manual knocking in is supposed to be done. Online, this information should be available as part of their web site advice or should be e-mailed directly to you.
Why the need for the Cricket Bat Roller? This will compress the blade (face of the willow). A light roll
helps to toughen the bat for cricket ball use. The willow of your potential bat may still be very soft coming off the shelf. This helps prevent seam marks and 'dings' damaging or cracking your bat.
2. You are now the owner of your new bat and you are just dying to start playing
but wait . . . . there is more knocking in to be done before we start hammering 4's and 6's. Personally, I like to do this whilst watching TV, or outside away from the family because it is a little noisy. If we are using a good quality ball we need to ensure that it is not too new so we don't run the
risk of denting the bat. We grip the ball in our hands so there is a reasonable amount of the ball facing the bat in our other hand. We must also ensure that the seam is not in line, as this will also mark your bat. We want to hit the bat with the area of the ball were the brand logo is found. This is the middle of each of its sides. Once all is in position, we commence firmly tapping / knocking in the bat against the ball. As the hours progress, we can start applying more pressure to the point where it is light hammering. If it is beginning to hurt your hands you may be hitting too hard or it’s rest time. The same principles are used if we are using a bat mallet. Some bat mallets
are simply a stick with a ball on the end of it and others are all wooden with a round end to it, simulating a ball. Always use the round sections. You should initially knock in all sections of the bat's face. If your bat has gone through a bat roller and knocking in machine, not as much time is required on the face as the weaker areas of the bat such as the edges and the toe. The best area
to start is from the bottom of the manufacturer's sticker that covers the splice. Work your way down so you cover the whole blade. Once you have
spent some time on the blade it is time to start concentrating on those weaker
zones. To work on the edges, angle the bat in a little bit and hit the area of
the edge connected with the face of the bat. Do this as if you are getting very
thick edges in a match situation. This is an area that needs a lot of
strengthening. Another area that needs much attention is the toe. When a bat
cracks prematurely, it is generally in these two areas. Overall, you should
spend at least 6 to 8 hours manually knocking in your bat like this. Perhaps
half an hour a day for a couple of weeks.
3. You have completed manually knocking in the bat, but it is still not advisable
to start belting the ball around. Incorporate your bat into your practice
sessions. For example, use it to give short catches to your teammates and
practice your simple batting techniques against throw downs from a friend.
This will continue to further harden the bat and keep it away from inaccurate
play whilst the bat may not be fully prepared. This is one of the major reasons
for damage early in a bat's life.
4. Our bat is now ready for batting in the nets. Take it easy, no big swings and
hoiks. Play straight. One mis-timed slog on the toe or edge could spell
disaster for your bat. Be careful with yorkers as well.
5. Once you are satisfied that your bat is ready for the big business, it's time for
match play. The way to tell is by closely inspecting the face of the bat and
edges. If your bat is still slightly denting, showing seam marks or surface
cracking, it is highly likely that it is just naturally a soft piece of timber and
requires extra knocking in. Don't be disheartened, these usually end up being
the best bats. If you do encounter problems, always feel free to contact is for
further advise. We are here to help you. Now it's time to turn all your hard
work and effort into runs !!!
Good Luck !!!
Kingsgrove Sports Centre
KNOCKING IN YOUR BAT…more
KEY POINTS –
Being patient with the knocking in process. It must not be rushed.
Move in steps leading up to match use. eg :
• Rolling Machine (Done in store at KSC)
• Hand knocking In (Done for 1 week at KSC)
• Giving close catches
• Facing throw downs
• Light net sessions
• Match play
Different procedures for different bats and sizes.
Paying special attention to the weak areas of the blade such as the edges and
COMMON PROBLEMS –
Using incorrect techniques
Using a new ball or a cheap hard ball or an unrecognised style of bat mallet.
Not giving the bat enough knocking In.
Not enough work given to weak areas of the blade as already mentioned such as
the edges and toe.
Knocking In the wrong areas such as directly or flush on the edges and around
Knocking in the bat with the seam of the ball. This will mark and dent the bat.
CORRECTING THE PROBLEMS -
Always seek the proper advise from reputable cricket / sports store staff or
Always get the recommended equipment to knock in your bat from a reputable
cricket / store.
Borrow an old match ball from your coach, team or club.
Leave aside a certain amount of time each day for knocking in your bat. Seek
advice on how long you need to knock it in for before match use.
Buy your bat from a cricket store that can provide you with a reputable and
thorough knocking In service such as Kingsgrove Sports Centre in Sydney who
have a rolling machine.
Avoid hitting the bat with the seam. Use the open areas of the ball where the
brand information can be found i.e. the middle of each side of the ball.
CRICKET BAT CHECK LIST –
Toe – GN Protect Toe or Shoo Goo : To keep moisture away from bottom of bat.
Sleeve – House brand or GN Extratec : To help protect the face of the bat.
Fibreglass Tape – To help protect edges of the bat and to contain cracking.
Grips – To help provide better grip and make feel of handle thicker.
Bat / Lasso / Electrical Tape – To tape the grip to bottom of handle.
Cover – To help protect bat when not in use.
Bat Mallet – To help knocking in the bat.
Bat Oil – To help prepare and maintain healthy bat.