Is coaching the pull shot harming young cricketers? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Is coaching the pull shot harming young cricketers?

As any coach knows, coaching the pull shot is an easy win. Kids love it, they can do it easily and it gets them runs when they are starting out.

But it's also reducing their chances of batting success.

The pull is already the most natural of shots for anyone to play: step back and hit across the line through the leg side. Any novice player can do it.

The fact is that it's a staple of village tail-enders around the world.

That tells you something: It doesn't need to be coached.

Maybe selecting the right ball to play it to needs some work on some players, but generally if you can swing a bat you can hit a leg side long hop for runs.

But worse than that, if you coach it you are helping bad habits to be formed in other shots.

The dreaded bottom hand

We all know how important the bottom hand is in the pull shot, and also how hard every batsman works to avoid having too much of it in his or her drives.

'Too much bottom hand' can come from a number of technical reasons, but spending your time drilling the pull is only going to set you backwards on the path to playing straight.

Yet for young players, being able to drive with top hand control has far more effective results, they just take longer to show up because it's harder to learn.

A batsman who can drive well can score in a much wider area than one who can pull well.

The basic drives allow you to hit between mid on and mid off.

The cover drive widens out the off side scoring right the way up to extra cover.

The flick off the legs opens out the leg side through midwicket and the leg glance allows you to play the ball down towards fine leg.

So given the limited amount of time we all have to train, what would be a better use of time?

I would argue that the drives win hands down, and in fact the on drive is the most crucial of all shots. It teaches proper balance and the right body position for driving, flicking and glancing.

So if you are coaching the pull shot, ask yourself this: Is the short term gain of getting a few runs costing your players in the long run?

For tips, drills and demonstrations on how to play the perfect drive, check out the online coaching course by Gary Palmer.

image credit: diongillard

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is there an article on how to play flick and leg glances, especially drives through cover region. i would love to read something on it. please do let me know

You can see what you need in an online video here Harry

From a purely technical aspect I agree with you fully. However with youngsters it is vital to keep them interested and there is nothing like a solidly hit pull to get their attention back on the practise session and put a little light into their eyes. Start with the drive, end with a few pulls (or double steps!!).

The pull was Bradman's favourite shot, and he set up his stance and his backlift specifically so he was able to pull balls off a good length through midwicket for boundaries that todays drive-oriented players would be defending off the front foot. But what would he know?

I think we can safely say he was a one-off. Nobody before or after him came close. I would be reluctant to copy that method because I'm not a cricketing genius like he was. Unless you are suggesting we should all be like Bradman and hit across the line to good length balls?

Hi two things to ask

I have problems with the cover drive because the bat swivels in the hand just about when I am going to connect with the ball. it turns into a top edge witch goes straight up in the air and a easy catch

2nd problem

I have problems when a fast bowler pitches them full down the leg side and I have problems getting my frount foot out of the way of the bat to hit the ball

Any tips?


It's hard to say without seeing you but I suspect that you are falling away to the off side when going forward which would cause you th play around your front pad on leg side shots. Work on your on-drive to left arm over inswing bowling to fix it. For your cover drive problem I would bet your bottom hand is taking over too early in the sot. There are a number of causes of this including a low backlift or an incorrect grip. Get a coach to look at your setup or purchase this online coaching course.