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					     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 continually have very hard cricket balls smashing against
it. Most bats eventually conk out and break, and you can never predict when. It
can happen 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 to HELP prevent
and LESSEN the chance of your bat breaking, particularly early in its life, is
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 it in point
form.

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 to knock in your bat such as a Bat Roller and / or a Knocking In
   Machine and / or a manual procedure like at KSC. 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. If you are
   buying the bat in person, ask the staff member to demonstrate for you how
   this is suppose to be done. Online, this information should be available as
   apart of their web site or should be E-mailed to you.


Why the need for the machines?
a) 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 your bat.
b) KNOCKING IN MACHINE - This simulates a hard ball hitting the blade squarely.
This in its own right plays the part of also preparing the willow. These machines
really focus on hardening the blade but more work will be required at home to
enhance the life of the bat and to make the bat truly effective.

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 !!!

Hamish Solomons
Director,
Kingsgrove Sports Centre




Rolling                 Knocking In             Excepted Cracking         Sleeve
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 :
    • Machine knocking In
    • Hand knocking In
    • 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
toe.

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
the splice.
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
cricket coaches.
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 knocking in and 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.

                    www.kingsgrovesports.com.au