If you want to bat with power and timing, make sure you play your shots with both feet on the ground.
A good shot, be it a drive, cut, pull, power hit or sweep, comes from being balanced and stable. Batting on two feet lets you do this. When you take a foot off the ground for any reason, it reduces power and decreases balance.
I like to call it “loading the cannon”.
Of course, if you think hard enough you can come up with exceptions to this rule: Brian Lara’s pull shot or Kevin Pietersen’s flamingo shot. These are wonderful shots with legs in the air.
It’s true that you can play shots like this - and if it works for you then please continue - but it often causes problems and reduces power and timing to lift your foot. So why not work for the position that gives you the most chance of success.
Why load the cannon?
In the dark old days before cricket, when cannons were used in war, the first thing the army before firing did was to make sure the cannon was stabilised. If they tried to fire it from a canoe on the river, there would be no chance of it working. There’s no ground reaction force.
Your feet are those stabilisers for your batting cannon.
They let you use the force of the ground to put power into every shot and it surges through your body and into the bat. Even the most elegant drive from a touch player can generate more power simply by being stable.
And imagine what it can do for a pull or power hit.
What do two foot shots look like?
It’s easy to picture a drive. The body is aligned perfectly, you step to the ball and swing from back lift to follow through with a straight bat.
It’s unusual to see one of these shots with two feet, although there is a common flaw in the drive that can sneak through. More on that later.
However, the pull shot is often played on one foot. Yet if it’s power and timing you want, it looks more like this:
Can you see how this batsman has created a base of power? He is able to swing with his arms fully extended and hit the ball hard without compromising his body shape.
The same grounded position can be seen in a power hit, like a baseball line drive:
If you try playing this shot with your feet in the air, you lose a great deal of power, so it’s much better to stay on terra firma.
Learn from your feet
As we mentioned before, it’s not all bad to lift a foot but it can often be a sign of a problem with power or position.
If you are consistently driving the ball and your back foot comes off the ground, you might look like this when you drive:
This is a sign of being off balance. Your weight is going to the off side so your back leg goes out the other way to compensate. Your stable base is lost. As a result you could be inconsistent in your power and ability to use the middle of the bat.
What about the pull shot?
If you pull with a leg up, you could be doing it to act as a counter-balance in a good way; your arms twist across one way and the front leg goes the other way to keep your balance.
However, there is a significant compromise in power, meaning your timing has to be spot on or you end up tucking that long hop behind square for a single. It’s fine, but it’s not the best use of a bad ball.
So, learn from your feet.
It’s not a new piece of coaching to say “create a stable base”, but in this new world of dynamic batting with power, timing and movement, it’s more important than ever to make the most of your technique. that starts with your feet.
Images taken using the snapshot feature of PV/ONE from real net sessions.