Pitchvision Academy


If I have one gripe about cricket coaches it's that we tend to focus too much on the technical side of the game at the expense of psychology, fitness and other things. So with that in mind I have done a long post examining a technical aspect of batting: Planting the front foot.

I broke my own rule because it's probably the question I get asked the most about batting. Hopefully the article below answers it for you if you are struggling.

Also, to redress the balance I have a brand new fielding drill and some posts on different mental aspects of the game, including lessons from professional cricket and a great article from Ryan Maron.

Hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

2 Reasons you are planting your front foot you may not have thought of

Take a look at the picture of Sachin above. It's another drive from the Little Master executed with precision, balance and timing.

He is certainly a world away from the common technical error of planting the front leg: The practice of landing your front foot to play a shot too early locking you into position, risking getting out and restricting the range of shots you can play.

What causes this and how do you stop it?

From a technical point of view, a good coach will examine every aspect of the batsman to find the error. Sometimes it can turn up in a place you might not expect at first glance.

1. Stance

In the first photo below you can see me in my normal stance. The second my head is too far to the off side.

Right: the eyes are level and the heaviest part of the body, the head is over the front foot.

Wrong: the head is too far to the off side causing the batter to overbalance when executing a shot.

You can see how this error can cause you to put your foot in the wrong position as putting it in the right place will mean you overbalance, planting your foot. The important point to remember is to keep your eyes level and head over your front foot in your stance.

2. Backswing and step

This is the point where you begin your shot. The bat is lifted and you take a positive movement onto your front or your back foot at the same time. If the timing of this is correct you will be hard pressed to play a poor shot.

As you can see from the pictures below I am playing a front foot drive as an example. The first pictures show me leading with my head and shoulder, in the second the front foot leads causing it to be planted in the wrong place.

Right: the head and shoulder are leaning towards the ball, weight is over the front foot when the shot is played.

Wrong: the foot is forward of bodyweight, locking the upper body into position.

A simple way to avoid doing this is to drill the shot thinking about leading with the head and shoulder. The foot will automatically then move into the right position.

A more controversial area is the nature of the backswing itself. There is some debate as to how wide the backswing should be. Most coaches settle on a backswing or backlift somewhere towards the slips, then rotating at the top of the backswing before coming down straight:

The key here is not so much how the bat comes up as where it is coming down. A backlift is a very individual thing and you see players have great success with angles that are just not supposed to work. However,  a backswing that is too much over leg stump or too much towards gulley can cause the bat to come down at an angle.

As you will then be playing 'around' your pad to get to the ball, it may seem as if you are planting your foot. In fact, the error is all in the downswing.

Here is a wider backlift with an angled downswing. You can see the shoulders too open as the bat comes down:

Here is a narrower backlift with an angled downswing. You can see the bat behind the pad as the shoulders are too closed off:

I have shown you examples with front foot shots, but the same can still apply to the back foot.

Over to you...

Sometimes the simplest things can be overlooked in the quest to find faults with technique. If you go back to the basics of setup, backswing and first step to the ball you may find your problem is not as complex as you think.

Now it's over to you.

Have you had problems with planting the front foot (or coached someone with problems. How did you get around it?

Discuss this article with other subscribers

5 Golden Rules of Success from Professional Cricket

This archive article was published in 2008. Republished today with an edit to bring it up to date.

Whether you aspire to play at professional level or not, there are many things you can learn from first class players.

Professional players rely on their form for a living. Without it they would be out of a job. More often than not that means they are doing everything they can to stay on top of their game. You can apply some of this determination to improve your results.

What does this look like?

1. Do something every day

Professional cricket has the luxury of being able to focus on cricket every day. Whether this is playing, training or hitting the gym. You may not have as much time.

But you can still do something every day to improve your game.  Visualisation takes less than 20 minutes, a trip to the gym is an hour.

Training is a little longer but with creativity and application you can do the same as the pros in spirit at least.

Ask yourself every week: Am I doing something every day in the coming week to improve my game?

3. Know what works for you

Top players range hugely in personality and habits. Most successful cricketers know what works for them and what doesn't. England's Alec Stewart was famous for eating grilled chicken breasts and having early nights. Other players might prefer a couple of drinks to relax of an evening.

As long as your routine is allowing you to score runs or take wickets there is no sense in changing things.

This also applies to what happens during the game.

According to his autobiography, ex-England captain Nasser Hussain was very nervous waiting to bat, but it allowed him to get his mind ready for the task and he often scored runs at crucial times. His team mate Michael Atherton, also very successful, used to read the paper and take his mind off the game totally to relax.

The point is, find out what works for you and stick with it.

4. Look like a professional

No matter how dishevelled and untidy a professional is off the field, when they train and play they look the part.

They are fortunate to have fresh kit supplied on demand, where you probably have to pay for your own whites and washing bill. That should not stop you looking your best on the pitch. Laundered and ironed whites and clean equipment put you in a professional frame of mind.

If you have ever experienced the difference in feeling between slipping on a fresh shirt and one that has been left unloved in a kitbag for a week you know what I mean.

Take the time to look good on the field and you will feel a little more like a professional cricketer.

5. Cope with failure

Failure is inevitable in cricket. Even Bradman got out for a duck in his last innings. Professionals learn to cope with this quickly.

Good players remind themselves that mistakes happen and don't let it get to them. They know that a mistake does not mean you will lose the game. You or someone else can still perform exceptionally to make up for the error.

Good pros are also quick to help players who have made mistakes.

A few positive words at the right moment can make all the difference to a player who is dwelling on their error. There is certainly no rule that says you can't do the same.

6. Use social support

As part of a team, the professional has access to good social support. Other players know what he or she is going through and can help each other.

Granted, this help might often just come in light hearted relief such as practical jokes or shared ribbing of someone else. However, strong bonds are also formed in the dressing room waiting to bat or for it to stop raining.

On the other hand, you may only see an occasional team mate once a year. You need to make up the difference. That's where online support comes in handy. PitchVision Academy's exclusive course forums exist in part to give support to you. In fact, the slightly more anonymous feeling of online help can get you to open up more than 'in real life'.

But whatever support you go for, make sure you have some way of venting your frustrations and making your goals more public with like-minded souls (it's been proven to improve your chances of reaching them).

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Do you have the skills to apply for cricket captaincy?

Today's article is a mock 'job description' for a cricket captain. If you were applying would you get the job?


The details have been supplied by Ryan Maron, Assistant Coach to the Netherlands national cricket team, VRA player coach and Director of Ryan Maron's Cricket School of Excellence in South Africa.

Job title: Club Cricket Captain.

Location: Anywhere.
Position Type: Part Time in summer.
Working Hours: Saturdays, Sundays and some evenings.
Salary: £0 (unless you are lucky).
Benefits: The feeling of a job well done when you win.

Job Requirements

Practice and pre-match

  • Able to attend practice regularly and lead by example.
  • Able to attend selection meetings and be confident to have a say in the balance of the side.
  • Willing to discuss game plans with coaches and/or senior players.
  • Take the time to talk to each player about their role in the team.
  • Able to make last minute changes to the team due to injury or other reason.
  • Have a number of player contacts to call up due to last minute drop outs. 

During the match

  • Prepared to make practical arrangements for players where needed including provision of meals and transportation to matches.
  • Able to assess conditions including the pitch, weather and local rules.
  • Decide whether to bat or bowl and toss up with opposing captain.
  • Analyse strengths and weaknesses of opposition, sometimes on little information.
  • Decide a batting order and let everyone know the plan.
  • Calculate bowling changes based on conditions and match situation.
  • Set the field for each batter in combination with your bowlers.
  • Willing to set unusual fields or use unorthodox tactics based on hunches.
  • Keen to watch the match, even when not directly involved (i.e. Have just got out).
  • Able to encourage fielders and bowlers at all times.
  • High levels of concentration on captaincy as well as your own skills.
  • Able to keep the game flowing and not let a situation get out of control.
  • Calmness under extreme tension.
  • Have a 'play to win' attitude, fighting to the last ball. 

Post Match

  • Able to listen to and process advice.
  • Willing to learn from mistakes.
  • Develop a 'thick skin' to criticism and look forward to the next game whatever the result.
  • Able to smile and stay positive even in defeat.
  • Be a polite and friendly host to the opposition. 

If you are thinking of becoming a captain, consider this 'job description' as a checklist to all you have to do. It's a job you can only learn through experience and you are bound to make mistakes on the way. Sometimes those mistakes will be very obvious too. 

It can be a thankless task sometimes but the benefits outweigh the costs when you get it right.

Remember this is just for fun, don't apply and thanks again to Ryan Maron for contributing the majority of the tips in this article.

Photo credit: ervine_wa


Want to be a better captain? Learn from the best with the interactive online course Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

Fielding Drills: Big circle, little circle

Purpose: To practice throwing and catching under pressure and to develop cricket specific agility/coordination.

Description: On the call of 'go' from the coach player A sprints around the inner circle. At the same time the players on the corners of the outer circle throw the ball around back to the start position without dropping it. Player A must attempt to get back to the start before the ball. Players then change places.

Ask the Coaches: Getting out in the twenties

 This week's Ask the Coaches is a question from Madhavan:

Of late I have been getting out in the twenties and thirties after playing fluently. I having been giving away my wicket and failing to convert those good starts in to big scores. What do I need to do to convert those good starts in to big scores and get that three figure mark?

Thanks for the question. If you have one of your own you can ask away.


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


Take a tour
Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object


Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 10
Date: 2008-08-29