Steep or Shallow: Which Batswing Have Your Players Got? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Steep or Shallow: Which Batswing Have Your Players Got?

My little mate Josh, is a 14 year old batter. Josh loves the game and is has one of the best practice ethics in the whole school. A top boy.


His main challenge presently is that he is only 40kg in weight.

He is very small and struggles to compete on the striking stakes with some of his peers. His cricket intelligence is off the charts and he is going to be a very good player when the inevitable happens over the next few years of his life.

He is going to grow!

We select Josh for every U14 match, give him plenty of opportunity even though we are not expecting him to smash boundary boards with cover drives just yet.

As well as this, Josh also plays up in the U15’s when we take on County U15 Teams on Sundays.

Controversial or logical?

Josh was previously overlooked from teams because of his lack of physicality in comparison with his peers.

At Millfield, we look beyond that, play him up to feed his desire to learn, to compete and to get better.

Josh isn’t expected to score a bunch of fifties for Millfield U15’s this year.

He may not even do that in 2018 when he is actually U15.

But at some stage, he will grow and he will be able to hit the ball to the boundary (and even over it) as well as, if not better than, many of his peers.

Some call us “stupid or controversial”. I prefer “logical and planned” as the reason behind our decision making process around smaller and enthusiastic cricketers.

Support the now experience

The above policy is fine but Josh wants to feel the ball coming off the bat harder now.

There is nothing like that feeling, is there?

When you move forward and drive the ball with timing and power without even trying.


So why wasn’t Josh having this feeling?

In fact, the ball was lobbing up into the air and either going straight to hand or just clearing the inner ring for a single.

It certainly wasn’t a method that was going to get repeated success, that’s for sure.

So let’s explore today, the observation and intervention we put in place to help Josh to strike the ball more consistently and with more power now.

Length of bat swing

Josh had a short and “jabby” swing of his bat.

With a jabby batswing, the hands tend to move a very short distance away from the body and then finish close to the body in a very short follow through motion. This is exactly what Josh was doing.

This has two limiters on performance.

First, it reduces the “range of motion” of batswing into the ball and then through the ball. The bat is moving over a short distance before contact and speed is not generated through the contact zone. This, in turn, limits exit speed off of the bat.

Second, the shape of a jabby swing is a “Steep U” shape (from the side view).

Steep U shaped swings have a very small sweet spot at the bottom of the swing where control and power meet. This gives the batter a small margin for error when it comes to their contact point.

Jabby swings often bring about early contacts and catching opportunities to cover, extra, mid off and mid on when a front foot shot is played.

As we elongate the swing of the bat, we shallow out the swing path and increases the margin for error.

The best place to watch this from is the side on view. Stand outside the net area (cover point) and look in. Have a look at other player’s batswings and see if you can identify a “Steep U” and a “Shallow U”.

Video Analysis: If you video a batters front foot drive from cover point and then put it through an analysis app. Trace either a line or cross that tracks the toe of the bat on its journey from the top of backswing to top of follow through.

Which “U” shape do you have?

Bonus questions

  • Q1: Is it always bad to have a “Steeped U” shape batswing?
  • Q2: Where do “Steep U” shaped batters most likely score their runs?
  • Q3: What shots do we tend to see from “Steep U Shaped” batswing players?
  • Q4: What context/s would lend themselves to a “Steep U-Shaped” batswing?

Best set of four answers wins a Pitchvision Academy Coaching Course!

Let the games commence.

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