On the day Chris Gayle rewrote the Twenty20 history books, I aptly worked with some talented young players on power hitting.
As with many young players, the guys I worked with today swung hard, hit a few for 4 and missed plenty of balls that sailed harmlessly through to the keeper.
So how does Gayle hit the ball so consistently hard?
What is he doing that is different to the players at my school?
What can we learn from the T20 record holder?
1. Keep it simple
Chris moves very little in terms of coming down the wicket or moving laterally around his crease.
One of my biggest bug-bears is when batters constantly shuffle around the crease; never giving themselves a chance of establishing a base, judging the location of the ball and transferring their momentum from the ground up through the kinetic chain and into the ball.
Excessive movement results in poor contacts, complete misses or a lack of power.
2. Hit through the line of the ball
This is where players such as Gayle and David Warner excel.
I was once taught in a golf putting lesson to imagine that I was making contact with 4 or 5 balls in a line and not just the ball that was between my feet. This meant that the club-face stayed square on the line of the ball for longer, thus improving my chance of making a precise contact. The same thing applies to power hitting in cricket.
Chris Gayle hits down the line of the ball brilliantly. You can see that bat-face going straight through the line of ball as it is struck in and over the area between mid off and square leg.
3. Legside Harry
I was once told by a very wise man,
"Only foolish players look to play through the offside when trying to hit the ball hard and far. That side is the weaker side."
If this is scientifically true or not I can't say, but he would always follow it up by saying "and in most overs of any game there are less fielders on that side".
Chris Gayle hits more balls to the side with less fielders and that is a fact.
Ask yourself why Matt Prior - world number 1 Test keeper/batter - is not in his Nations ODI or T20I team.
Simple; he isn't a "legside harry".
4. Dessie Haynes' best batting tip
I was lucky enough to be coached by the great Desmond Haynes and he started one session with what he described as his best batting tip.
"Make sure you have got a great stick Garas. It will get you out of trouble, make a catcher earn his catch and even your half hits will go for 6!"
When I watched Gayle's innings he didn't middle at least 2 of his first 5 maximums. He has lots of great bats!
So choose your bats wisely, take your time and pick them up before you buy. Please do not buy them straight from the internet as its a huge gamble.
Gayle is certainly a unique talent, but we can learn plenty from him to help the batters we coach improve their hitting skills.
So get out there and show them how to bat a little bit more like Chris Gayle!
image credit: royalchallengers.com