This is an article from Gary Palmer, PitchVision Academy batting coach.
Look at some of the best players in the world.
The guys who hit well down the ground and make playing straight look easy. The batters who are in control and effective when the ball is turning or swinging. The players who keep hitting the ball out of the middle of the bat consistently; they have a good technique.
Here's the thing: all players who can do the above well will play straight off the front foot with their hips open, laces pointing down the wicket and their front shoulder slightly open.
There is no better way technically to play straight and consistently hit the ball out of the middle of the bat when driving off the front foot.
So, if you want to coach players to be consistent with driving, stick to these key point.
Generally when any player (including high level players) "tips over" to the off side, gets out of alignment and the ball is not hit to the correct target area, you will notice the following:
- Shoulder side on prior to, and during hitting the ball.
- Hips side on prior to, and during hitting the ball.
- Feet side on - laces pointing at extra cover - prior to, and during hitting the ball.
When the above happens - especially the back foot laces - the result is the player ends up with poor balance and alignment prior to hitting the ball. The batter finds it difficult to hit the ball straight, especially if the ball is swinging or turning a lot.
Looking for evidence
How can you tell if this is happening?
If the ball pitches on middle stump line and ends up hitting the inside of bat face and going towards mid wicket or square leg.
Or if the ball pitches on off stump line and the batter ends up hitting it towards cover or cover point.
In both cases the line requires playing straight but the batter has played square. This is high risk, limiting and becomes almost impossible if the ball is moving sideways. In short; poor balance and alignment.
Towards a new method of playing straight
With all the above information, I would like to ask;
- Should we allow batters the option to bat with shoulders, hips and laces more side on even though we can prove "side on" is a difficult and ineffective way of batting?
- Should we coach batters towards the open method as best practice?
Coaches need to guide players to the best techniques because we should know the techniques that work for everyone. We are the coaches we have been on the courses, read the books and have years of experience.
The correct technical input of the basics should be the techniques that work for all of us. Once players have sound techniques of all the basic shots, then they can use them how the please within an innings.
That's the art and science of good coaching.
To teach yourself or others how to eliminate the "side on" problem and move naturally towards scoring all round the ground with an open technique, get 4 Angles, the online coaching video course from Gary Palmer.