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.
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?