Here is a simple game to play in the nets, to encourage batters to do more than “just have a hit”.
Each batter faces a round of bowling, one ball from each bowler.
First round — “have a look” — batter is challenged to leave as many deliveries as possible (1 run) or, if he plays the ball, to play it with soft hands so the ball does not hit the net (also 1 run).
Second round — acceleration — score 1 run for every ball that hits the net after bouncing.
Third round — “get on with it” — 4 runs for hitting the ball back out of the net.
Bowlers score 5 for every time they hit the stumps — if this unbalances the game too much in favour of bowlers, score 3 or 4 per wicket — the intention is to encourage bowlers to bowl as straight as possible, at all times, but the points are an added incentive to bowl properly.
If the batters are padded up, face all 3 rounds, then have remainder of batting time; compare scores at the end of the net session.
If using a soft ball and batters not padding up, rotate after each round and compare scores at the end of each phase.
Inspired by “Going through the gears” by @ImSporticus, and conversations with @DavidHinchliffe about net practice.