Often we concentrate on the boundaries and pay scant regard to singles and developing the art of running between the wickets.
One of the reasons for this is the reliance on standardised nets to develop batting technique rather than incorporating innovative practice and facilitating brilliant cricket discussions to build run scoring awareness.
Here are a few easy ways to spice things up and develop cricketers who can be "run makers" without being boundary dependant.
1. Use your balcony wisely
You know I love a balcony or viewing area that works well.
Make note of each fielders throwing hand, who are the slow ones, who has a good arm, which fielders hang deeper and take that awareness into the middle when you walk into bat.
Great off-field watchers often find themselves on double-figures before the fielders can bat an eyelid.
Sounds simple, yet do you actually talk about this stuff in your viewing area?
2. Automated single areas
As the incoming batter, I used to love it when the established batter said "if I hit it to mid-on on the front foot we are going. If we drop it into cover we will go and if it goes to points left hand there's always one".
Such clarity is music to any incoming batter's ears. It takes the grey out of decision making and automates our decisions as batters.
3. Take the bowler out
But you will be amazed how many spin bowlers are put off by the thought of diving through a non striking gladiator who is backing up.
Stephen Fleming used to encourage his New Zealand players to make themselves as big and awkward when the ball was struck towards them and "create a single" by blocking the bowler.
This works perfectly when mid on is back on the fence or hugging the edge of the circle.
Train your batters to hit the ball to the non strikers side of the stumps by placing a cone down to simulate the batter's backing up position.
Precise placement of the ball will soon come in practice and and in matches you will see your team's single-count go through the roof.
Ex-England All Rounder, Richard Ellison uses the term "G'dunk" whenever someone mistimes a boundary option and the ball dribbles only a few yards. He has a good giggle to himself about this!
We now use the "G'dunker" as an opportunity to pick up a "stolen single".
The lack of pace off of the bat coupled with the fielder stopping in his tracks when he sees big a backswing creates more than enough time to complete an easy single.
A combination of these 4 options can create up to 20 runs per game.
Can you afford not to invest time in developing your teams "stolen single" awareness?