This is a guest article from Fish Hoek Cricket Club Head Coach, Jamie Rood
We’ve all heard it before: A wild selection of meaningless shots played during a net simply because there is no consequence, resulting in the coach shouting from 25 yards away,
"What’s your game plan?"
Constructing a mental map of how to approach an innings is crucial in your batting success. Combining this map into a visual picture on the wicket is a fantastic method of identifying our shot options on various different pitches, against different bowlers and during contrasting match situations.
We all understand that line and length dictates shot selections, but knowing how these zones change assists us to make the correct decisions.
Scoring zones help shot selection
Let's take an example.
You walk in at number five with the score at 20-3 on a green top and the ball still swinging. Usually this requires a careful rebuilding approach, and you decide to play this way.
In this situation, the bowler currently has a large "zone" in which they can bowl without the batsman looking to score. That means, the your scoring zone is extremely small (the red zone is danger area, the green zone is scoring area):
However, as you get more accustomed to the bowler and pitch is playing, they are able to increase the size of their zone with which they can play their shots. Suddenly, deliveries which were initially being left or defended are hit for a boundary. The scoring has become larger, and the bowler’s margin for error has decreased.
Eventually, you get so good you can hit almost everything to the boundary. You say you are "seeing it like a football". This is where the zone is so large that wherever the ball pitches, it is going the distance.Your zones now look like this:
Creating and adjusting this visual map - based on the situation - means you have a game plan across every scenario.
Jamie Rood is Head Coach at Fish Hoek Cricket Club in Cape Town, South Africa and a Senior Coach at All Rounder Cricket Academy. He has coached high level players across the world's three major cricketing nations in the last 4 years.