You’re impatient. You want success and you want it fast.
But batting is frustrating. You lack opportunities to practice and play in ways that help you improve. Even when you do get your chance you get a great ball first up and have to wait a week for another bat.
So here are 6 ways you can make to most of the chances you have and get ahead of the crowd to become a top-quality batsman in as short a time as possible.
1. Keep it Simple
Batting styles differ wildly, but one thing remains simple and true for all good batsmen: Every classy batter is world-class in the basics.
- They have a setup that keeps their head still, eyes level and move to the ball in good alignment.
- They are ready and focused on the ball as it is released.
- They have confidence in their game-plan
So the first thing you need to look at is your setup, backswing and initial movement. Most people think they have it licked.
Spend time in the nets and be totally sure about it. Get someone to watch it or video yourself. Where is you backlift going? Are your eyes level? Is your trigger move keeping you aligned?
2. Use a Coach
There is no denying that a good coach is essential to a cricketer who is frustrated by form. Knowledge and experience of what works is reassuring to build confidence and hone technique.
There are many coaches doing great work face-to-face and if you can get hold of one you should grab the chance with both hands. Every minute is worthwhile.
But what if you can’t afford a coach, or have no access to one?
Then you can use online coaching. With PitchVision Academy you can get access to players and coaches you would never be able to talk to before. Kevin Pietersen is the perfect example with videos, an eBook and worksheets all in one place with unlimited lifetime access.
3. Play to Your Strengths
Every player has strengths and weaknesses. If you know yours you can take full advantage (while playing down the weaknesses).
This is a great shortcut because it stops you thinking you need every shot in the book to do well. As KP says, he really only drives and pulls seam bowling. With a couple of shots and plenty of hard work you will get a bucketful of runs without wasting time working on unnecessary shots.
Plus, while only using your best shots, you will stay in longer as you will make less technical errors.
4. Stick to a Plan
Once you have decided your shots, you need a game plan that is adaptable to any context you are batting.
Opening in a two day game is very different from the last 5 overs of a Twenty20 match, but your skills are not. So you must be adaptable.
This is where a prompt can help you. Ideally this will come from a coach or senior player, but you can easily do it yourself.
In every Chapter of Keep Calm and Smash It there is a worksheet that you can download and fill in. They are designed, over several pages, to help you think about your own game and come up with your own solutions. This is because no matter how good advice is, you can only ever succeed if you work out your own method:
If you are struggling to do that, you need to get into the worksheets on KPs course.
5. Learn by Watching
Back in the old days, coaches used to recommend going to professional cricket matches to watch the players from the sidelines. This method of learning by watching was highly effective.
Yet modern time demands mean there is less and less chance of seeing players in the flesh.
So fill in the gaps by watching them on TV, or even better, watching them on coaching videos where you can get breakdown and analysis of exactly what is happening all the time. It’s like having the most detailed ever analyst on the best players.
All the streaming videos are exactly like that - here is an example of what it looks like:
If you can’t learn something from Kevin Pietersen you are in the wrong game.
6. Make the Most of Downtime
We are all very busy, but we all also have moments where we are waiting or travelling that we can exploit.
For example; if you take the train or bus to school or work you have 20-30 minutes every day to kill.
You can listen to coaching advice on your iPod or read a coaching book. It’s no substitute for actually being in the nets with a real coach but it’s a million times better than staring out the window and wishing you were playing cricket.
No matter how many shortcuts you take, becoming a good player is still a hard and long road. But make it easier for yourself with some good coaching and self analysis.