Score More Runs By Playing the Gaps | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Score More Runs By Playing the Gaps

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batting.jpgFirst class players are coached early on to be aware of the field and place their shots into gaps to increase their run scoring chances. At lower levels, this is emphasized less, but you can use the tactic to score more runs.


Assess the field and use the gaps

Checking the field can reveal both a bowlers weakness and your own favourite shots. However, with some thinking you can manipulate this. For example, my own tendency is to drive fairly square of the wicket through backward point or square cover. As a result I often see a gap at extra cover or straight mid off as the captain adjusts his field to my batting. I know then that I can try to drive straighter through those gaps when the chance comes.

Care must be taken with this tactic. Top players are far more capable of working the ball than club cricketers. Last week I was out caught and bowled because I drove a little too straight. The golden rule is to only attempt shots you are comfortable playing. You can always develop new shots in the nets of you feel you are cramped by field settings in the middle.

The overall philosophy of this approach is to try and play the ball into gaps rather than at fielders. We have all seen players with magnificent cover drives than go straight to mid off. This is because the natural tendency when out in the middle is to see the fielders.

When you are checking the field, look at the gaps between them and aim to hit those gaps. It will make your cover drive much more impressive. On top of this, you can start to assess fielders as the game goes on. Weaker fielders tend to be hidden but will always get the odd ball going to them. If you know who they are you can push more quick singles or add an extra run safe in the knowledge their throw will not reach the stumps or they are standing a little too far back.

Also remember when looking at the gaps that every fielder has a gap behind him. Going over the top is a more risky tactic but just as effective, especially in situations where a tight ring field has been set.

Practice with a field in mind

When you net, make sure bowlers are setting imaginary fields to you so you can develop your ability to work the ball in practice. Even better than netting, try having practice games where the object is to work the ball around rather than hit boundaries.

Just getting in this mindset can teach you a lot about playing the ball into the gaps.

A well drilled team can add an extra run an over by being able to do this, so it's worth the practice time and effort.



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This is an interesting issue for a coach..
grappling with the concepts of..
Field awareness

A batter with a premeditated idea of hitting the next ball into the gap is bad.

Having a sense of where the field is and placing the ball into the gaps is good

Anticipating the line and length and type of delivery by reading the cues of bowlers arm and wrist etc is important in having 'time to play'.

Now you have given good clues on coaching field awareness.How about eliminating about coaching anticipation.

I agree, it's a fine line between awareness of where to drive a half volley and trying to hit everything through extra cover because there is a gap.

Both of those skills you mentioned do come with experience but I must admit I'm not sure how one would coach it other than setting up game situations in practice and playing.

How do you do it Jacko?