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on 3 February 2009
"The most important book about cricket in 25 years": can it really be this good?
Yes, yes, yes.
What Woolmer has done is to take cricket and completely rethink it, using all sorts of fields: psychology (visualising techniques), physics (reverse swing), historical analysis (comparing Ian Botham's tips on batting in 1980 with the Reverend James Pycroft's in 1851), statistics (there's no advantage in winning the toss in a one day match!) and fusing them altogether with experience of being at the top of international sport.
He's got view on everything, from which ball of an over one should play a premeditated shot in a ODI (the 1st or the 6th), which guard you should take (leg stump ahead of middle or middle and leg), to how to bowl an over in a 'set' so as to trap the batsman at the end.
I would say every ten pages, he comes up with something utterly new and original, on all sorts of fields: from why Bradman averaged 40 runs more than anyone else, to why McGrath had Atherton's number, to how you should bowl at someone when they are completely set and don't look like getting out.
He's continually illuminating, continually original, and frequently goes against the grain of 'orthodox' cricket coaching (e.g. you shouldn't worry about taking the bat directly back in the backlift: top players tend to take it back towards 2nd slip...the bottom hand is more significant than the top hand in batting... don't put your foot to the pitch of the ball...)
Clearly, this is most a book for people who are seriously interested in cricket, but it's just a brilliant example of someone taking a subject and completely rethinking it. Almost every facet of the game is something he's considered, practised and now written up for everyone to read (presumably dictating to the authors).
It's an absolute classic, ideal for dipping into, as it's written in small chunks.
A perfect gift for a cricket lover, or a real treat if you actually play.
It may look imposing at 700 pages, but it's simply brilliant.
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on 31 March 2009
I would recommend this book to anyone that is thinking about playing cricket, plays cricket or coaches cricket. It is an absolute marvel. It contains everything from mental strength for playing the game and covers all techniques for batsmen, bowlers and fielders. Excellently layed out and explained, Bob Woolmer's cricketing mind is illustrated for all to see and benefit from. If you are a cricket nut this is the book for you.
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on 16 February 2009
This book is as close to a cricket coaching bible as you likely to get. Every coach, young and old, should have this on their shelf as it's the most comprehensive coaching book available.
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on 27 February 2009
There is so much wisdom in every page. I only wish I'd had a copy twenty-five years ago before my knees went and I could still see the ball. If you play cricket get this book now!
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on 26 December 2010
I had my eye on Bob Woolmers book for ages but I never brought myself to buying it - eventually I did as a sort of Birthday Present to me and I must say I was dead impressed.

What this book gives you is knowledge - it is an ongoing discussion like a knowledgeable tutor who has seen the world telling you all the great things they ever learnt and experienced. All of the content is extensively backed up with research, anecdotes, contributions of external parties and all sorts - none of it is theorized. What you get from every page is a real feel of what cricket is about and was about for many people which I think for a lot of people is beneficial - older generations hearing about players they remember and younger generations about players they don't!

Like any long book though it is tough going to get through and I found it easiest to work my way through picking up a chapter here and there whilst reading other (lighter!) volumes.

The most interesting parts of this book for me were definitely the sections on Mental Skills, Vision in Batting and Captaincy/fielding approaches. There is nowhere else I can imagine this being presented so accessibly and cleverly and there was not a grain of detail I was not fascinated by in these sections. Much of the rest of the book is concerned with this sort of "essential knowledge that nobody talks about" which alone makes it a very beneficial purchase.

I was a touch nonplussed by the lack of detail in the batting section (its more a reference of possible strokes) however I disagree with the remark about the photography - the pictures in my publication (whilst black and white) were none the less good quality and I could get all the detail and information I need from them.

Really I cannot find any reason to genuinely fault this book since it is written as just an immersion into all things cricket at all levels. I would however stipulate if you are looking for really in depth analysis of bowling actions and batting methods and all that sort of thing you would be best to buy a specalist book on those (I bought the Fast Bowlers Bible)
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on 4 November 2008
This book deals with aspects of the game not dealt with elsewhere -
This is a must-have book for any keen cricketer
Difficult techniques are very well explained with very good diagrams
No coach should be without it.
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on 30 July 2010
It doesn't matter how knowledgable or qualified you are as a coach - if you haven't read this you have something to learn from it.
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on 17 February 2013
It really is impossible to imagine a coaching manual that tries to cover every aspect of cricket being done better. Every aspect of the game is covered in great detail. The best bits cover the psychology of the game, but anyone picking this book up will learn much. I suppose that someone wanting to learn how to bowl, say, legspin, would be better off trying a book just about legspin, ditto batting and fielding. But in one cover here you have a good intro to everything, clearly written and very well illustrated.
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on 9 September 2011
While Bob Woolmer may no longer be with us, his Art & Science of Cricket leaves a lasting legacy. This is a book that will still be hauled out in 50 years to show how the game can and should be played. Technical guide, psychoanalysis, fitness tips, prepartion for all types of game, this book has it all. If you want to learn more about your game, teach others or just enjoy the insight of someone who reached the top in their chosen field this is THE book for you. A must have for all cricketers and coaches.
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on 3 October 2011
Almost a great book. The text is great. A superb study of the science of cricket.
Why the photographs supporting the instruction of techniques needed to be so few, so small, so unclear and in black and white I do not know. If you learn through text, then go for it. If you learn through visuals, then think twice.
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