2 Reasons you are planting your front foot you may not have thought of | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

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

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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?

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I spent about a year, having been out LBW nearly every dismissal from falling over and getting my leg planted in front of middle as I played to leg, biting on the collar of my shirt to try to keep my head up as the bowler ran into bowl during all practise sessions. It didn't do any good and LBW is still a common way I get out!

I also find that I'm much more prone to falling over as I get tired (not that I'm in long enough for that to happen very often) - after an all run 4 I'll be slumped over my bat much like you in the second image you have under "stance" above, as the bowler runs in for the next ball.

Are you leading shots with your head Ed?

Hit the ball in the v mate play straight untill youn get sttled

Great stuff David, this is what I pay my notional money for!

Planting wrecks your balance and impairs the execution of your shot.

If you can delay your initial movement as long as possible, you have more time/information to select the correct shot option.

Suggestion: how about getting readers to submit videos of their batting/bowling and you (or other coaches) could dissect their technique?

I would love to do that George, sadly I don't get much response to such requests.

Am I leading with my head? Good question, I like to think so but I guess I can't be - I think in reality I tend to go with head and front foot at the same time in one movement - the exact opposite of the "soft hands" that people talk about.

Hit the ball in the V - yes, I tell myself that regularly. Both bowling and batting I'm pretty confident I know what I need to do, it's the lack of skill to actually do it that holds me back at times!

Perhaps you need a good coach to guide you through.

Well the coach I worked with most in my youth was none other than Harry Latchman, who used to play for Middlesex as a leg-spinner. As you'd expect he helped my bowling, but he also helped my batting a lot too - I don't believe that bowlers can't coach batting and vice versa.

Once again, I suspect natural talent is what held me back. Nowadays that's combined with lack of practice. It's not all doom and gloom though - I scored 76 on Saturday!

Well you can't be that bad then! Keep up the batting Smiling

a coach once told me that it's best to stand on your toes so you can move quicker. What's your stand on this?

By 'stant on your toes' doe you mean keep your weight on the balls of your feet? If so it's very wise.

Quote:By 'stant on your toes' doe you mean keep your weight on the balls of your feet?


My school coach used to say "go to where the ball is but leave the bat behind". This keeps you side on, keeps your head over the line of the ball and delays the bat until the ball gets to you. Like everyone else, I think I know but know I cannot do. Eye-wink

Menelaus, your school coach was a idiot like every other moron cricket coach. your feet and bat have to move together, see the ball, hit the ball or block it. its coordination. you take advice like leaving the bat behind and you will plumb when the ball moves.

tell yourself that first movemaent should be made by the shoulder that is upswing and rest of the body will follow the suit naturally !

Falling of your head might have something to do with the width of your stance. Try a slightly wider stance and you will feel that your head is not falling over. Since the head is falling the compensation occurs where by the front foot goes across (balancing act) which is forcing you to play around your front footu to play across the line which in turn is getting out in the manner that you are.
Scientifically it has been proven that it is that much more difficult to move an object (in this case the head) out of the centre of gravity if the base of support (width of your stance) is wide.