In 2008 BOLA introduced a Gimballed Turntable which is used with a BOLA Hockey Machine for fielding and wicket-keeping drills. The Gimballed Turntable was used extensively during the 2008 tours of England by New Zealand and South Africa. The ECB’s Ex-National Fielding Coach Richard Halsall and England Coach Peter Moores were among the first to use the trainer.
The machine is mounted on a specially constructed, gimballed turntable and can fire balls in any direction and at any trajectory. Using fielding ramps manufactured by Katchet coaches can replicate any fielding situation accurately and repeatedly. Practicing a head-high Jacques Kallis square-cut requires different skills to taking a fine edge at second slip off Flintoff’s bowling.
England Head Coach Peter Moores has been a keen proponent of the Fielding machine. “The Bola Fielding Machine allows the Coach to replicate the correct trajectory of the ball at speeds realistic to match conditions. The ability to be able to monitor the speed and direction of the ball is a considerable advantage when it comes to measuring improvement over a period of time,” he said.
The test players have certainly enjoyed their new fielding drills. “I found it really exciting hearing them laughing and joking but treating it full-on. They loved it because the practice is true to real-life match situations. I couldn’t keep them away,” said Richard Halsall. “Using equipment like this enables us to take the variables out of the training and operate in a controlled environment. For example, if a player makes 40 out of 50 catches this week we can directly compare the results under virtually the same conditions the following week,” he added.
The BOLA is a versatile source of ball deliveries which can be used to practice a variety of fielding and wicket-keeping skills. The Hockey Machine has rubber wheels which are much kinder to the leather cricket balls which are preferred for fielding practice. It goes without saying that the Gimballed Turntable is also invaluable for training hockey goalkeepers.
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