Last week Gary Palmer gave us an article on how great batsman play. This week he looks at the common mistakes seen in lesser players.
Great batsmen are technically excellent.
The correct technique means that batting is made easier and the process of development is speeded up. In other words; you will maximize your potential and enjoy improved performances.
But you can't do that if you let technical flaws creep in. Good bowlers in helpful conditions will always find you out. That means you need an eye for perfection.
Video yourself batting and look for these flaws in your game. If you are serious about becoming a better batter (or coach of batters) you will iron them out fast.
1. Closing off in the stance
When setting up, a player can get too side on because the front shoulder is too far round. This causes him or her to tip to the off side and play around the front pad to straight balls. The obvious result is being LBW or bowled.
This also means it's difficult to play in the V. Players who are closed off tend to only be able to drive through mid off and extra cover, never through mid on or midwicket.
2. Picking the bat up over middle stump
A straight backlift means there is a tendency to play around the front pad with the risk over being LBW or bowled and again finding it difficult to play shots in the V.
3. Tucked in back elbow
Having the elbow of the bottom hand tucked in to the side means the bottom hand can become too dominant in shots. This restricts the 'hitting zone'; the swing of the bat in a straight line through the line of the ball towards the target area, making it more likely to hit across the line or in the air.
4. Head behind the front foot
When driving on the front foot, the head behind front foot encourages you to lean back and hit the ball in the air.
Hitting the ball under the eyes level with the front foot this makes you rush the shot with the feeling of being yorked. Trying to hit the ball into the ground is a technique that encourages the above fault and I would strongly advise against it.
5. Back foot heel down
You hear the term 'firm base' but I don’t think coaches and players understand it fully. Firm base doesn't mean keep your heel stuck to the floor so that your reach is restricted and you can't lean in to the shot as much as you could.
You can have a firm base with the back heel off the ground. The heel should be raised so the player is poised for the shot. That's more important.
6. Leaning with the shoulder
When driving, players often turn the shoulder directly towards the ball instead of leading with the head. This means the head leans to the off side leaving the player blocked off. This causes poor balance so players tip to the off side for all drives and defensive shots. This means play around their front pad to straight balls. Bowled and LBW are not far away.
7. Back foot too sideways
When driving straight or through the on side the back foot stays too sideways which causes the players to lean slightly towards the off side. This restricts a players reach reducing the the number of deliveries that can be driven, missing out especially on leg stump half vollies.
If the back foot is too sideways prior to the drive then it tends to finish up too turned in after the shot which causes the player to square up and the bat swings across the line.
Remember point the feet prior to hitting the ball, hold the shape and swing the bat in a straight line to the ball with good balance and alignment.
8. Too big a stride
When on driving, too big a stride makes it difficult to open up and hit with the swing or turn when the ball is moving in.
A big stride also means putting front foot wider than the line of leg stump. This opens the batsman up too much, playing across the ball aiming it too square on the leg side.
Planting the foot down leg stump allows you to swing the bat down the line of the ball for longer which is much more effective.
9. Dropping the leading elbow
Dropping the leading elbow to early after striking the ball will close face of the bat on contact. If the full face is not presented to the ball it is much harder to middle it and much easier to get bowled through the gate.
10. Swinging too hard
You hear the terms 'bat speed' and 'quick hands' a lot. These two comments are counter-productive for straight batted drives as the technique deteriorates and timing is lost. Quick hands are more for the hook, cut and pull where it is important to swing the bat quickly.
If you would like to know how to correct these errors, check out Gary Palmer's online coaching course How To Play the Perfect On, Off and Straight Drive on PitchVision Academy.
image credit: David Surtees