CCM Academy Director and former first-class cricketer Gary Palmer has some thoughts on how cricketers can learn perfect batting technique.
Coaches spend time and money on courses to learn about technique.
Coaches know more than players, so they need to exercise knowledge on what they have learned so the players can benefit. Otherwise what are we doing?
Personally I feel that saying "work it out for yourself" is a very ineffective approach to rapidly developing young player's techniques. For me, this is more appropriate when working with players on their game plans. What an inexperienced player might work out in practice about their technique may not be the most effective way. It may differ from what the experienced coach knows the player needs to do to become a much better performer.
The experienced coach is there to impart their expert knowledge and to give the player a shortcut to the correct technique. This will rapidly and effectively develop the player's batting skill levels that will lead to more runs and jumping to the next level.
If a player thinks they have worked out the correct technique but has actually exercising a flawed technique and has got it wrong, they will be frustrated at the lack of runs. Great players, while they all go about batting in different ways, generally have good basic techniques. Very few great players, especially the stroke players, have average techniques. Average technique equates to average player and to average and inconsistent performance.
At what point does the coach step in to show them the best and most efficient way of doing it?
If you leave it too long it becomes harder to get them to change.
Ultimate batting coaching
I learned long ago something very powerful: As a coach you must use your experience and expertise to feed the correct basic technical information into a player. When you feel you have done enough of this and the player is starting to understand what they are trying to do technically, begin to back off and start to get the player to work it out themselves, under your guidance.
They will work out the correct basic techniques by cross-referencing your initial correct technical information. Only at this point the player can choose a solution from your experienced technical information. You constantanly challenge and question but letting them choose their own technical points. This way they will have a better understanding of their own development.
This relies on the correct technical information fed in by you the coach in the first place. Players just needs to find it again via your questioning and guidance. Anybody who says they don't believe in technique probably doesn't know much about it themselves and doesn't have the confidence to try to work on a player in this area.
The dangers of batting well
Batters can smash the ball indoors on machines and on flat pitches against average bowlers who are not moving the ball much and feel they are "batting well". This is a problem because players don't see any reason to change or improve technique. This is where the coach needs to step in and give you a better technique.
You find out about the quality of your technique when you play outside, in matches, under pressure, against quality bowling when the ball is moving around and the pitches are not so flat.
Technique needs to be prepared with this in mind, otherwise player's have to make changes later when it's more difficult.Imagine a batsman has had five low scores before she realises there is an error. At this point it's too late and your star pupil gets dropped.
Good coaches will not let it get to this point.
Watch during training phases and made sure your players have adopted the most effective technique. When you see it breaking down or getting lazy, step in and make changes.
A players game plan is the one area I feel that the player needs to work it out for themselves. The will learn what suits them through success and failure in the various matches. Because all players want to score runs they will work out very quickly what works and what doesn’t. Its their performance or their career that is at stake so they generally make the right choices sooner rather than later.
Coaches lead technical development
I believe as coaches we should lead a player's technical development and give players the correct basics as soon as possible.
The next step is to maintain it by keeping a watchful eye out for any imperfections. If we see any, we need to nip them in the bud straight away. Then we need to challenge these techniques to try to raise the level of effectiveness when under pressure. When players develop an effective batting technique they must go out in matches and use it as they wish.
Why waste valuable coaching time waiting for a player to work out the right basic technique for themselves when you as a coach know exactly what and how they should be doing it?
That's why we coach. A coach not coaching technique is like an artist with out a brush!
For more cricket coaching tips from Gary Palmer, including video skills and drills, click here.