Better Batting Goes Beyond Technique | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Better Batting Goes Beyond Technique

Coach and Minor Counties Cricketer, Chris Watling, shares his experiences with another article on using your mind to get you out of bad form and back to run scoring.

When you're in a bit of bad form it's easy to be negative.

I'm sure you know the feeling of being stunted by in your mindset as you approach your next innings: You start to analyse how you’re getting out. You think about your technique. You want to correct those errors.

Stop the mistakes. Stop getting out.

This approach is hurting your game.

When it comes to facing each delivery (in practice and match) it helps mentally to think about what you want to do out there as oppose to what your trying not to do.

Think about it. If you keep saying to yourself "don't flash outside off", you are keeping that very thought in your mind. The chances are you will end up flashing, and nicking off. Perhaps worse; you will be so distracted by that area you then get done by one that comes in and gets you LBW.

Here's a batting tip that works a lot better.

Repeat in your mind what you want to do.

For example, when I find my mind drifting to negative thoughts I think, "Play straight, leave the good ball outside off, hit the half volley."

Playing spin bowling

This approach works brilliantly for all bowling, but against spin you can make a slight change and ramp up you game further.

When the spinner comes on, take a moment to think about all your options. I see so many players decide on one plan and get stuck. It's easy to think, for example, that your option against this spinner is the sweep and then get stifled looking for that option exclusively.

Give yourself more credit. Remember you have lots of options against a spinner and the ability to play the right one depending on what is bowled. Most spinners will give you balls which will feed one of the scoring shots whether it's a quick single, conventional sweep or cut.

Rather than premeditate, be sure in your mind about the three or four key shots that you have against spin; then adapt to the conditions.

Of course there will be times when a spinner is bowling well. Only then you do have to premeditate a bit to try get on top of spinner. Funny enough, it's easier to do this against a bowler who is consistent with line and length because you know where the ball is going to be and you can get funky if you need a scoring shot.

Of course, if he is like most spinners he will give you a bad ball anyway, so you can wait for it rather than make something happen.

Think about your batting

Positive thinking is not just reserved for when you are in the middle. You can start before the game to get a head start (literally).

On morning of game, remember your best innings, the things you did well, how you constructed it, and how it felt with the different shots you played.

This puts you in a strong, positive and confident frame of mind. You know you can it again because you have done it before and can remember vividly how it felt.

Of course, sometimes you do need to change your game plan or your shot, but remembering when you did well and how you went about it will give you strength.

I realise people have different ways of approaching batting which is fine but these are things that I have done when I have done well, and not done consistently enough when in bad form.

They say batting is mostly in the head.

I couldn't agree more.

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I've never really bought this idea that saying to yourself "don't flash outside off" or "don't bowl down the legside" is any better or worse than saying to yourself "leave it outside off" or "bowl outside off", simply because there is no "not" in the statement. It all means the same thing, your subconcious is not interested in linguistic subtleties.