Originally Posted by Goughy
Got to be honest with you, I dont think 5-4 is any type of field. It is a field for bad bowling and no plan. By trying to cover the entilre field you are not protecting anywhere.
I believe it starts with the bowlers. If the bowlers are too young then talk to the coach. Bowlers know where they are most likely to go for runs and where they are most likely to take wickets. They know their usual line of attack and where runs are typically scored and where wickets are taken and you should adjust your field to suit your bowler. Then adjust depending on what the batsman is trying to do.
For example, if asked what the one position would save me the most runs I would say deep backwards point or 3rd man. If I was to be asked what positions do captains try and set for me that are pretty useless then I would say fine leg or mid-on. I know for myself (and you, the bowler or your coach should know) where the ball is likely to go for each bowler.
Most bowlers (of a certain standard) should look to bowl to a 6-3 (and occasionally 7-2). A 5-4 field is a comprimised field.
I agree with pretty much all of that (although I reckon that bowling full and straight in one day cricket to a 5-4 has its merits, providing a bit of protection at mid-wicket etc.).
However, pretty sure here that Jakester's playing U/14s or so. There will always be a couple of ordinary bowlers in your team at that standard, and there is often still the need to "give everyone a go". So what Goughy says applies to the better bowlers in your side, but I'd be prepared to have more protection for your lesser bowlers.