CRICKET BAT ADVICE
Every bat must be either oiled and/or extrateced prior to using the bat against a ball.
Oiling – maintains moisture levels in bats & reduces the chances of splitting and cracking. Use a cloth to apply oil to the bat. Apply oil to the face, edges & blade avoiding the splice & labels. (Only exposed timber should be oiled). Generally, 3-4 initial coats should be sufficient and one coat every 3-4 weeks thereafter. Each coat should be allowed to dry into the blade in a horizontal position for around 24 hours.
Extratec – Extratec is a clear self-adhesive protective cover for your bat, covering the entire hitting area. It is by far the best form of protection & 90% of customers enjoy the benefits of extratecing their bats. It also keeps the moisture in the bat but it’s still a very good idea to oil the exposed timber once every 8 weeks or so with a very light coat.
*The ideal preparation is to apply 2 light coats of oil to the face and back of the bat only (not edges); do all knocking in with a mallet while natural face; then apply extratec sheet once the oil has dried and you are ready to start hitting balls*
The Knocking in Stage
Knocking in is the process by which the grains & fibres in the bat are compressed & strengthened to prepare it for use. This process is vital for all English willow bats and must be performed with patience & care. The best thing to use is either a bat mallet or ball mallet to prepare your new bat. To do this you will need to spend anywhere up to 16 hours 'knocking in' the bat. Pressing the bat will begin the knocking-in process and reduce the overall time needed with the mallet. There are 4 areas that need to be prepared on your bat: the face, the toe & each edge. Your main areas of focus should be the edges & the toe, but you will still need to spend some time (1 hour should be sufficient) on the face.
Starting off softly and building up, hit straight on the face of the bat close to the edge. After a couple of hours, glance the mallet off the edges at a slight angle, but not hitting into the edge, this will slowly make your edges rounder. The rounder the edges the stronger they are, so you want to aim to get them as round as possible! The same applies for the toe, but this should be hit on the bottom 10cm on the face of the bat. Remember it’s very important to be hitting the bat quite hard with the mallet towards the end of this process to prepare the bat for match use.
When you think you have done your time well enough with the mallet, take the bat to the nets with an old leather ball. Start with throw downs & work up from there. This way you should be hitting the ball gently at first and harder as you progress. Inspect the bat after every shot played, if you see any dents or seam marks in the bat then it is not ready for use yet & must be pulled away from ball use immediately. It means you still need to do more work with the mallet! (You should spend at least another half hour on each area if indentations occur). Repeat the above knocking in process until you think your bat is ready for another net session.
By the end of this process you should be hitting a ball as hard as you can, facing a fast bowler without the bat showing any denting or seam marks from the ball. If this is the case, your bats ready for match use! The overall process should take around 2 weeks & there is no limit on the amount of hours & effort you spend knocking in your bat.The more work the better! This means the bat will last longer and perform better.
SWEET SPOT POSITION
PRE-PREPARED & NATURAL