How to Improve Your Batting Shot Selection: Front Foot On Drive | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Improve Your Batting Shot Selection: Front Foot On Drive

This article is part of the “How to Improve Your Batting Shot Selection” series. To see the full list of shots click here.

The on drive is the best shot in the book.

The crowd-pleasing cover drive gets all the glamour and attention. Meanwhile really good batsmen know that the on drive is a far more useful shot.

When played well it’s safe suitable in any situation from opening in a 2 day game to the last over of a Twenty20 match. You can use it to work the ball into gaps or score boundaries.

Plus, on driving requires you to have perfect balance and alignment to the ball, meaning your technique in other straight bat and flick/glance shots improves.  

When do you use this slice of batting perfection?

Free runs: The traditional leg stump half volley

There are times when the coaching book is dead on, even in these days of switch hits and dilscoops. If you get a half volley on leg stump you hit it back towards mid on with the full face of the bat:

Against the ball moving in, you can play the shot to a ball on middle and leg or middle stump as the angle will take the ball down the leg side.

In all cases, your balance and body position need to be correct to allow you to swing the bat in a straight line. It’s here a lot of batsmen go wrong and end up hitting the ball across the line through square leg.

Avoid this by getting in the nets and facing left arm over bowlers (or right arm over if you are left handed) who can swing it in. This forces you to stay in the right position.

If you get this right it’s a wonderfully safe shot. You are unlikely to edge it and it’s difficult for an umpire to give an LBW decision with the ball on the leg side.

With the field up in longer games you can easily get a four by beating the fielder. If the man is back you can pick up an easy single to rotate the strike.

If you are hitting out you can adapt the shot slightly with the back and across movement. The idea here is that you move deep enough back into your crease to sit back and get underneath the half volley, hitting it over mid on.

Click here and here to see more details on how to do that.

Breaking the mould: Hitting a length ball

The on drive is also a safe way to bat innovatively.

You probably think of shots like the reverse sweep when you think of innovation. In the right circumstances the on drive is just as creative.

Use the on drive to try and hit a length ball in the following situations:

  • The ball is not moving in the air or off the pitch
  • The wicket is true with bounce that is not too high

Here you can trust the line and height of the ball and play the shot in the same way. The only difference is that you need to get your hands higher because the ball bounces more than a half volley.

The key is to not change the target area. Keep aiming for mid on. If you misjudge you can adapt by closing the face and hitting squarer with a flick or glance (more on that in another article). You are in the right position either way. The ideal is to hit with the full face.

You are not limited to playing the shot to a leg sump line either.

As the ball is not moving you can safely move across the crease to align yourself as if it is a leg stump line, then hit the ball past mid on.

The risk is higher because if you misjudge you are much more likely to get bowled or LBW. It’s not something you want to do when playing an orthodox innings. A good time to do this is when you are trying to rotate the strike against medium pace and spin bowlers and can’t score from traditional methods.

If you only work on one shot, make it the on drive. It’s safe, effective and makes you better at other shots automatically.

For video tips and drills on how to get a perfect on drive, click here.

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.


Great Work David!
I usually practice my on drive by keeping 2 big boxes and hitting between them

Good article. The only thing I have to add from personal experience is that the on drive (or straight drive) is a lot riskier shot to play against a bowler who is moving the ball away from you than it is against a bowler moving the ball towards you: both because it is easier to adjust the shot and angle the ball into the legside, and because if you get a inside edge the ball is less likely to go to hand than if its an outside edge.

Hence its a shot I always particularly enjoy playing against inswing bowlers and offspinners.

Dear David

Though Ondrive is an elegent shot but it is tough to coach among young stars.
as most of the players of < 13 yrs age group have problems of body balance(while opening shoulder for onside), stability and keeping the elbow point towards ball line (tends to play flicks/ glance more as dropping the elbow towards Sq Leg).

Another issue is that they are not quite comfortable to open the front foot towards leg side line of the ball, hence get locked for leg side ball. Even too much drill for ondrive leads to detorioration of shots for OFF drive as they fail to judge off stump line ball. while playing on drive even though they try to go back & across of the back foot, BUT keeping balance is another problem.

Your Suggestion & Drill welcome....

This is also a common problem. You solve it in the following ways:

1 Tell the player to cut out the cover drive and instead look to play very straight in the V between mid on and mid off.

2 Use bobble and drop feeds to train the correct foot and body positions for the on drive

3 If you have access to a bowling machine, set it up to bowl left arm over (to a right handed batsman) swinging in at slow speed (medium pace, not spin). Tell the batsman to hit the ball to mid on to teach correct alignment.

4 Finish each session with a few balls to off drive and cover drive to reset balance (right arm over, away swing, medium pace)

You can find other corrective drills here

Where are you in the world barmankr?

Hi david

I am from India settled in capital city, Delhi. will post many queries for technical development among young age group....

Try to post drills, correction methods over here instead of linking to a paid links or videos.


There are times in life, barmankr, that you have to pay for something to get what you want. You wouldn't go the the grocery and demand your food for free.

However, unlike the grocer who will give you nothing for free, we have over 1000 posts on cricket tips for free.

I suggest you search through using our search box and enjoy them. However, if you want the really good stuff you have to pay.

That's the way it is until we come up with a better method than capitalism.

Enjoy the site.

i am a good wicketkeeper batsman from orissa,india ..i have to go for under 16 selection after some days. my problem is that i cannot time the good length bowl correctly with proper shot selection. but i can hit shots of kieron pollard perfectly.. plz elp me

Hey David,
Thanks for the awesome tips . I am 16 and from Himachal, India. I can bat well but While bowling I cant keep my ball straight and it always goes in the wrong direction could you tell me about some tips and drills.

There are a ton of drills and tips from Andy Caddick here

Hey David...

Iam defensive in nature and palce the bowl good but the problem is when i try to hit sixes or fours i get failed or usually i got bowled... another problem is i got confuse playing yorker lengths or bowl in line of stumps... so tell me what to do how can i improve my mistakes.....

Hi David,

I was wondering how to hit gaps while batting, when I bat I have problems rotating the strike consistently because I keep finding the fielders, so please could you give me some tips that can help me place the ball more efficiently

Hi David,

i am facing problem with my bat swing once i identified the length of the ball. So tell me what to do how can i improve my mistakes.

hey dude,i need help in playing the streight smack i always time it badly and i end up chipping the ball and hence getting out.

hi David
I m from amritsar I play very well in nets bt while playing matches I m not able to play good length ball easily n go for boundry

Sir i am an youngster of 16year and i have played many domestic matches as bowler And now i have got a chance 2play as an opener kindly help me about short selection sir