ECB Batting tips: How to score more runs | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

ECB Batting tips: How to score more runs

pj.jpgOne of my top secret weapons to keeping as up to date as possible is getting the resources from the ECB Coaches Association. If you are an ECB coach you will know what I mean. The conference is cutting edge stuff, their free DVDs are always packed with great tips and the newsletter is a good read. Take the latest on batting: Hit the Gaps by John Abrahams (ECB Elite Player Development Manager) and Paul Johnson (Nottinghamshire Batting Coach, pictured). If you bat at any level think about the main points they make. Great advice all round:

  • Firstly, make sure your basic batting technique is sound.
  • Ensure you are in the mindset of scoring from 4 down to 1 making manoeuvring the ball a positive batting tactic. There are just as many gaps in the air as there are on the ground. Over the head of midwicket is just as much a gap as pushing the ball to deep mid on.
  • Don't look at the fielders, look at the gaps.
  • Keep the quick single in mind even when playing a defensive shot. There is often a gap close in.
  • Intend to score off every ball rather than just playing the ball on merit every time. The best ODI teams are great at accumulating 1s and 2s like this.
  • Make practices tactical to simulate match conditions and encourage experimentation.

What are your experiences in this area? Leave a comment.


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At county level and county league level, I would agree with the above advice. You know the bowlers aren't going to give you too much loose stuff so you will need to be positive and be proactive. Also the pitch will be good so you can trust the bounce and be able to work the ball.

However, at club level, most bowlers will give you plenty of bad balls, so why not just block the good ones? Also, on uncovered pitches, the bounce could be unreliable, sometimes keeping low, sometimes popping up etc.

So just wait for the bad ball. Of course, if the bowling is tight with a "saving one" field, there is a danger of getting tied down. That's when you will need to look at areas to hit over the top.

Good points Nick, although I see many club games where the score ambles along at 2 or 3 an over when much more is possible. I think the general idea of trying to score a boundary down to a single with a block as the last resort is a good frame of mind to be in at any level.

yeah i reckon you should always be on the look out for quick singles. its the easiest way to rotate the strike, keep the score board ticking over and putting pressure on the bowler and fielders. as an opener this is very important. although boundaries are always good as well

Boundaries are great too I agree. Glad I could assist James.

"There are just as many gaps in the air as there are on the ground."

Don Bradman hit 6 sixes in his entire test career. 39 of 70 dismissals came from catches. Would your advice to the young Don be to keep it down or hit in the air?
The batsman's first duty is to guard his wicket hitting the ball in the air may have its place but is generally risky. Compare the career of Viv Richards 8 sixes, and 106 ot of 170 dismissals from catches. Two great men, but why is Sir Viv's average of 50 barely half of that of the Don?

Sometimes the aerial route works spectacularly, sometimes the needs of the team demands it and it is a fine sight - but surely the best way to dominate bowlers is to grind them down and give as few chances as possible - ask a man named Jayawardene.

I agree Frank, it's a 'lower percentage' shot to go in the air. Although you don't have to hit it for 6 to hit a gap behind a fielder. It's a shot more suited to shorter formats or specific situations I suspect Bradman was not in very often.

My opinion is that there is no one best way to dominate bowling in all circumstances. It's all about context and the key is adaptability. Jayawardene hit a six on his first ball in one game the recent World Twenty20. Great players can adapt to any method.

My return question is this: Had the Don played modern ODI or Twenty20 cricket would he have hit more shots in the air? We shall never know, but it's nice to guess.

[...] see captain Bueller declaring on a score most people would consider too risky, or batsman Bueller hitting the ball over the top because there is a gap behind the [...]

[...] alternative is to place the ball into the gaps. Much of the success of good batsmen can be found in their mindset: Stay in control. Look for areas [...]

I think David's point is a good one, all Don Bradman ever knew was test cricket, I myself have never played a longer form of the came, but i'm sure that if I did I wouldn't take too many risks.

England batters these days find it hard to adapt from Twenty20/ODI's to Test format, their mindset is to agressive, hense why they get bowled out for 400 on a good wicket.

with a good basic technique to work off,
you COULD improve one shot so much that it WILL go for 4 or 6.
idealy its to a bad ball like one too wide on the off side or on your pads.these areas are often trampled on by bowlers.

mine is the cover drive
ricky ponting has the pull
strauss has the cut.

you get the idea. and i dont think thers anything wrong with this, cos it gives the bowler a margin of whci h to bowl in, and with a good basic technique u can still score.

All is well the Ausi way of thinking is all about scoring runs. The game has now moved on and the crowd expect runs. Even at test match level. I totally agree the rule of working downwards from 6 4 3 2 1. If you can hit a ball for six why settle for any thing lower. Yes you will not be able to hit ever ball for six. Its all about the mind set. I also agree about looking at Gaps and not fielders. cricket not always about hitting the ball hard. If the kids are taught the simple Technic of guiding the ball in to a gap, then they will have better timing. you can place a ball for six if your timing is good. As now a days players are using bigger bats.

this is a good dissuasion. I have enjoyed all the comments.

hi i am a tail-ender who is ick of letting his team down wen we play uneven overs a side. have u got any tips 2 improve techinque and help my ability to stay in longer? thanks

I think you should learn to bat for the game conditions. I am a reasonable club cricketer (averaging 37 this year, few 100's to my name) and I have played league cricket for over 20 years, and so often I have seen young batsmen give their wicket away needlessly and a collapse ensues. If playing in a longer form of the game (50 overs) I think if batting first it is vital to build a platform. The openers job is to see of the first 10, regardless of the score - sure if the bowling is loose, then take it, but I have opened against good bowlers where for the first 10 the rate has been less than 2, but we have been able to accelerate to end up 200+ and win the game. Far more often I have seen players trying to force the score, getting out cheaply, it is far harder to build a score from 80-5-20, than say 45-0-20.
Play the ball on it's merits, and recognise the pitch conditions - often at club level the bounce is variable or the pitch slow and play accordingly - keep the bat straight!!
Obviously in 20/20 you do need to force the rate, and I try and adjust accordingly (average 47 in 20/20 this year), and my over 40's team have posted several scores of 140+ this year, for me I find the best technique for 20/20 is to work the ball around in the 3rd man/backward point area, combined with straight drives or through cover area - that works for me, against mostly accurate slow/spin bowling in our league and on slowish pitches

I agree that many players look to run before they can walk. There is nothing wrong with playing with a straight bat and waiting for the bad ball, especially on poor pitches or off the ball is hooping about.

However you can rotate the strike safely with better awareness. Imagine how stronger your 50 over side would be if you play with the same mindset but score at 3 an over for the first few!

Overall very sensible and common sense advice Boonie. Not sure how our Indian, South African or Aussie readers feel about the "English" approach though!

I bat at number 4 and i always get around 30or 40 lowest round 20, I have never really got any big centuries or 50's any help?

You sound like the perfect candidate for BATEX - click here.

ive been sturggling this year so far ive only had one big innings, 4, 56, 33, 22, 35, 0, 2, 0, 137, 44, 8 any tips ?

I don't wish to sound like a broken record but BATEX sounds good for you too.

Denis Compton:- "Don Bradman had a marvellous gift of getting into position quicker than any batsman I have ever seen, played the ball very late and was never off balance or stretching out of control."

Wilfred Rhodes ( A record 4187 first class wickets ):- "No matter how you bowl at him he seems to be able to place the ball just where he likes."

Neville Cardus:- "Apparently he is free to play off any foot."

Greg Chappell:- Bradman was a bit like a boxer who carries his hands low like Mohammed Ali. He was on the balls of his feet light as a feather. He never took the bat outside the perimeter of his feet. If you try to lift the bat straight back, all of a sudden you're using a lot of muscles in your hands, forearms, upper arms, chest and once you engage those muscles it requires effort from your legs to keep you balanced. The reason Bradman was the best player ever is that he was the best balanced player ever."

I think you should not think about how many runs you scored. Just forget it and keep playing the game. Keep the game under your control, rotate the strike regularly and hit the gaps. Just dont look at the score board. Give full concentration on the game and also keep an eye at the overs. Dont be too sloggy. Trust me, this really works. Even if you are batting at 99 not out you wont feel nervous. After you get out you'll see you already have a great score. Best me luck:-)

I think that if you're playing cricket, then you should run off and play football!

Hey..... im not scoring runs frm a long time im a batsman with great tell me some key points to stay focused and calm in next match