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Who doesn't love a drive?

The main article this week is all about front foot driving. Plus there are articles on fitness and the amazing story of Malawi cricket's comeback.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Improve Your Front Foot Drive with Weight Transfer

From beginner to advanced batsman, one of the most common flaws in driving is weight transfer.

But what is it, and how do you use it to hit your drives harder along the ground?


You have probably heard cricket commentators on the TV talk about weight transfer when they see a good front foot drive. It sounds clever and technical, and it actually works when you get it right.

What is weight transfer in cricket?

Weight transfer in front foot drives really means stepping towards the ball and putting most of your weight on the front foot. It's the start of the shot and it allows you to put more power into the ball. It's basic physics: every action has an opposite reaction.

Stepping (and swinging) towards the ball puts more reactive energy into the ball to ping it away from you. It goes further.

It's such a powerful and simple method it's become a colloquialism for adopting an assertive or even aggressive stance in conversations. It makes common sense.

It looks like this:


As you can see from this shot, the batsman has a bent left knee. This shows his head and body have moved forwards from his stance and towards the ball. He has, literally, transferred his weight.

And this bent knee is on of the best indicators of good weight transfer.

Look out for it.

Common flaws in batting weight transfer

So, if weight transfer is a good thing generally, what happens when it goes wrong?

First, it's important to note that weight transfer is powerful but not essential. You can still bat well without it as it is just one part of the process of driving. Remember to only look to "correct the fault" if you feel it's causing you an issue.

With that in mind, there are a few things that can go wrong.

1. Timing weight transfer

It's possible to move too late to transfer weight onto the front foot.

For beginners this often means not moving at all and just swinging from the stance. For more advance players, it might be stepping a little too late so the foot is not down in time for the swing to arrive with the ball.

The result is a loss of timing and power.

Usually this is caused by the batter not picking the ball early enough, or deciding to go forward too late. If this happens you you, you can probably hit an underarm feed all day with good weight transfer, but when you face a bowler you get the timing wrong.

Work on improving picking up line and length and shot selection to deal with this issue.

2. The "stable base" myth

Many coaches advise players adopt a "stable base" when moving from the stance into a drive. On the surface this is sensible. After all, you need to be balanced to drive well.

The problem with this advice is that you can misunderstand things. You can overstep or understep to feel stable. You can keep your weight spread across both feet, instead of leaning forward and putting your weight into the ball.

All this leads to less power and a bigger chance of hitting the ball in the air, because your weight is back and not transferred.

Getting your weight forward is the way to fix this. The trouble is, there is no one perfect way to get this right.

  • Some players take a larger stride with their head further back.
  • Some players have a smaller stride (almost non-existent forward movement of the foot in extreme cases) but lean into the shot with their head more.

This second group love the common coaching advice of leading with the head. That is to say, moving you head first and letting the body follow.

However, you don't need to lead with your head to have your weight forward and knee bent. As long as you get there somehow, you can lead with either your front foot or your head.

Bat swing comes next

Once your weight is transferred, you can swing the bat down towards the ball. Hopefully it hits the middle of the bat and flys away!

If you have got the transfer part right, you are using your whole weight behind the ball so it will go harder and is more likely to go along the ground. If it doesn't regularly, then it's time to think about the swing. Which is a whole different article.

In the meantime, check your weight transfer by checking your front knee. If you are climbing in well you will see better results.

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The Little-Known Secrets to Cricket Fitness

Cricket has always had a strange relationship with fitness. There is no one training method that fits all.


It's a testament to the inclusive nature of the sport that it can easily allow for success whether you are a beast, a rake or a chubster.

Of course, we know strength and conditioning (S&C) helps. It must do, why would professional teams hire strength coaches if it didn't?

We are also uneasy about it.

Does it make you too bulky? Or too selfie-obsessed narcissistic? Does it stop you being able to play cricket as well as you can? Isn't it boring? Does it cause mental health issues (as the article above hints at)?

These are complex questions with no single answer.

No wonder most people are confused.

Let's try to unpack it a little and get your fitness for cricket back on track.

The truth: Cricket fitness starts with culture

One thing that is rarely mentioned is the culture of your team, but that's important because culture is the basis of many player's fitness training.

If you are a professional cricketer with a strength coach in the back room team, you have to work hard to avoid fitness. Questions would be asked if you didn't treat your body right.

If you are in social cricket team the opposite is true. You will be ribbed for going for a run or drinking a protein shake. You are accused of taking it all too seriously.

More likely, your team is somewhere between the two. There is general acceptance of some fitness training, but you can be seen to take it too far.

Understand this, because it will dictate strongly how you train.

If your fitness ideal doesn't match the team culture, either change the culture or live with being an outsider.

Find what it is that motivates you to train in this environment. It might be a desire to be contrary. It might be pure passion to become a cricketer. Whatever it it, get on with it. Work within those constraints by using your inner motivation.

Break though cricket fitness confusion with testing

Let's assume you have both the desire to be fitter and a culture that gives you room to do it. Because if you don't have those thing you can stop reading now.

Still with me?

The next barrier is confusion.

S&C is complex. People study it for a lifetime. It contains terms that blow the average player's mind. Read an article by Wellington School Coach and fast bowling fitness guru Steffan Jones and pretend you know nothing about fitness. It reads like a foreign language.

(Steff is brilliant by the way, but you need a good base of knowledge to get the most from him.)

In this sea of confusion we cling onto the life raft called "just":

"Just lift some light weights and bowl..." "Just run when you bat in nets..." "Just do 50 press ups a day..."

Whenever you hear "just" when it comes to fitness for cricket, set off your balderdash alarm. It's bound to be incomplete advice.

Mostly the "just" is right, but it's also over-simplified.

In reality there is no "just".

S&C is a balancing act of strength, stamina, mobility, core stability, balance, body awareness and power. It doesn't all transfer to cricket, but enough does to make it worthwhile for injury prevention and performance improvements.

But it's confusing. Where do you start?

Not many people are so into that part of their game they spend hours reading and researching and asking for advice.

But you can test.

Work out what you need most, look up some ways to do it online and get started.

See what happens.

It takes time, a couple of weeks up to a few months: If you need to get stronger hit the gym and lift up heavy things. If you need to get more flexible start stretching. If you need to lose fat, try a diet plan.

How did it go?

If you saw progress, stick with it. If you saw anything else, try a new plan. Not everything works for everybody. You need to see what works for you.

To get you started, here are some questions:

  • Does your body allow you to get into good positions to have an effective technique?
  • Do you put enough power into your shots and bowling?
  • Can you maintain focus and concentrate over a whole innings and match?
  • Are you injury-prone?
  • Can you move and dive athletically?
  • Can you move fast enough to chase a ball down or make a quick single?
  • Do you enjoy fitness and are motivated to do it, even when it's not directly linkable to cricket?

If not, work out how you can use S&C to improve things based on the time, motivation and equipment you have.


  • Fitness is influence by team culture. Learn how to use it.
  • No one thing works for all, so ignore the over-simplified advice and test for yourself.
  • Have fun!

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Cricket Show S8 Episode 13: Bowling Back and Keeping Hands

Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery join David Hinchliffe to answer cricket coaching questions about back pain while bowling and wicketkeeping technique tips.

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Finding Hope: The Amazing Comeback Story of Malawi Cricket

Cricket in Malawi has gone from tatters to technology in just a few years. It's an incredible recovery story.

Here We Go: Garas' Summer Preview

For me, the start of any season brings a huge levels of anticipation, excitement and is also tinged with a few butterflies.


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.


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Issue: 459
Date: 2017-04-21