This is a guest article from batting coach, Gary Palmer.
What is the purpose of the pre-match batting practice?
The aim is to build confidence by consistently hitting the ball out of the middle of the bat while exaggerating perfect technique. To feel good in the middle you can use throw downs to capture the feel of the correct shapes of your shots.
The better your preparation the more confident you will feel. This leads to being more relaxed at the crease when you finally go out to bat. You will have confidence in you technique and ability to execute shots successfully because you have prepared well and have a feel for the correct shapes.
The core structure of batting is hitting straight: Drives off the front and back foot. As a top order batsman, you hit 80% of your shots in a match "in the V", so it make sense to prioritise and practice straight bat shots.
So, when it's time to warm up with the bat, hit some front foot drives straight then some back foot. Use the full face of the bat going through the line of the ball for as long as possible.
You can start with using the top hand only for control, then progress to two hands on the bat.
When you have done this get the feeder to mix up the lengths so you get your feet going. Finish your drives with high hands and leading elbow to really enhance your technique.
Make sure you get a feel of letting the ball come to you rather than rushing your shots with tense muscles. The latter will lead to your shapes being depleted. Rushing the shots leads to too much bottom hand and limits your full range of movement.
Think of it like a "batting stretch" where you hit the ball with a full range of movement.
Common batting warm up mistakes
- Avoid the full toss. Practice hitting throw downs where the ball bounces rather than on the full as that's what will happen in a game and is therefore the most relevant thing to do.
- Take your time. Don't rush your shots,try to hit them with relaxed flowing enhanced technique.
- Keep cuts and pulls to a minimum. If you need to cut and pull then do so, but don't spend the bulk of your time doing this. It's risky.
- Avoid irrelevant practice.Avoid blindly copying others as it may not be the right way to prepare: Be single minded and specific to your needs.
Remember to set you own standards of batting skill preparation, and set them high. Make your preparation relevant to you and the game you are going to play.
Every time you are about to warm up, ask yourself if your pre-match batting practice is specific to your needs and relevant to the game you are about to play.
Are you doing what you need to do or are you just copying others or trends with no relevance to what you need?
For more technical coaching drills and techniques, get How To Play the Perfect On, Off and Straight Drive online coaching course on PitchVision Academy.