How Much Does an Effective Batsman Understand Technique? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How Much Does an Effective Batsman Understand Technique?

Good batsmen have good technique (whatever that means). But how much do you need to understand technique to be a good batsman?

It's certainly not the same thing. There are plenty of players who do well without worrying about playing right forward, without a straight back lift, without even hitting straight. They play, they score runs, they get on with the rest of their day.

 Using best practice

Naturally, there are also players who think deeply about technique who also do well. Logically, it stands to reason that if you want to learn any new skill, the first step is to find out the the most effective method from those more experienced and successful. As a reader put it recently in comments,

"There is very little point saying that technique X is good without explaining how and why it is good. Most batting technique there is a perfectly logical explanation as to why certain things worth better than others, but saying,

'The pick up of the bat should be more rotary instead of straight over the stumps. This would ensure power when hitting the ball' tells me absolutely nothing useful whatsoever. How does it ensure power? You might as well tell me to kiss my lucky rabbit foot."

This gets to the point of a logical approach to batting. You see a technique, you hear how and why it works then you put it into you game based on the logical conclusion that it is likely to work for you.

This approach is how coaches tend to educate players. They will say to their padwan, for example, that the best way to drive is to lean forward with the head, then they will explain why; it allows the player to shift their weight forward, get in a stride that is aligned to the ball and give access for the bat to swing through straight. It gives you the best chance of staying in and hitting runs.

The player attempts this method, and it works. Good coaching.

The fog of reality

What if the player tries and fails?

The coach says the player needs to try harder, longer and better. It takes a long time to get technique perfect. Let's do some more drills.

What if it's not the player at fault at all? What if it's the logic at fault instead?

You see, evidence-based logical thinking is really good at explaining things that have happened before in general times. You can say playing straight works because it works for most people. The problem is that this strips away individuality. You are not most people. You are unique.

Sometimes even the most solid, logically argued technical point is not right for you. It doesn't really matter how or why it works for others, you just can't nail it. The clean world of logic becomes useless in the fog of reality.

Comfortably uncomfortable

Does this mean you should immediate put down that coaching manual, ignore the advice of your coach, and do what come naturally?


But it also means that you need to be aware of something; that even the most logical argument might be incorrect. And that means you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable about technique.

Some things that should never work will work for you. Most things that should work will work for you. The only way to find out is to listen to the logic, try out the method and see. If you put on a shirt that is your size but you find it looks terrible and is uncomfortable to wear, would you buy it?

Questions like "how" and "why" are still brilliant. They give you new ways of thinking that question dogma. They are interesting from an academic angle. They often give you the practical answers you seek. Yet, they can also make you think you are working towards a goal of perfect technique that only exists in logic and not in your version of reality.

So, how much do you need to understand technique? The answer is as much as you need to understand your technique so you can make your strengths superpowers and hide your weaknesses. Even if that's illogical.

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There's a kind of sliding scale, isn't there - at one end are the absolute fundamentals that every single successful batsman does, for example plays defensive shots with the bat angled down, not up.

And then at the other end are the really individual things, like how do you get that length ball away between third slip and gully? Do you play the ball slightly later? Open the face more? Roll the wrists or push through with firm wrists? Get more into line or back away? Play with a more horizontal or vertical bat?

There is some sensible advice a coach can give but there is no "right" answer, its up to each batsman to find what works for him. A good example of when to coach the intention and see how the batsman experiments?

I agree and I would say that even with the absolutes, the way different players do it will vary, and you will find outliers for almost all non-negotiables.