Gary Palmer, the PitchVision Academy batting coach, takes fresh look at an old idea and finds out that you can be technically correct and score quickly. If you would like coaching from Gary, check out CCM Academy.
Playing straight with a checked drive in the 'V' from both front and back foot is something that all the great players have done well, and still do well today.
The full blooded drive looks good, but if you want to be an effective batsman you must learn to play the checked drive.
As you know, a check drive is a straight bat shot on the front or back foot that finishes with the toe of the bat pointing down the wicket. Your wrists don't break as they do with the full follow through:
Why check your drives?
The downside of using a full swing is that the wrists and leading elbow collapse too early during the shot. When this happens the full face of the bat is not presented towards the ball all the way through the shot:
incorrect technique: closed face of bat
To play straight you need to have a well aligned backswing and more importantly a pronounced high leading elbow position on completion of your shots. This is only possible using a check swing rather than a full swing:
Once you have these elements in your game, the check drive becomes the best option, even when trying to score quickly, for example in Twenty20 cricket:
- It's easier to hit length ball 'on the up' successfully down the ground for boundaries.
- It's easier to turn a length ball in to a scoring shot along the ground.
- It lengthens your hitting zone when driving straight.
- When improvising on the off side, you can open the face of the bat on contact with the ball when playing off drives. This opens up a large scoring are on the off side with a lower risk of getting out.
- When improvising on the leg side you can close the face slightly on impact with the ball thus opening a wide scoring area on the leg side while again keeping risk low.
The high leading elbow allows you to have good control over where you are trying to place the ball while maintaining efficient technique. The elbow act like a sort of steering wheel which directs the ball where you want it to go while swinging the bat in as straight a line as possible to the target area.
Key technical points of the check drive
The diamond shape created in the backswing with the forearms must be maintained through to the completion of the shot where the hand and leading elbow finish as high as possible to form biomechanically perfect technique:
The higher the hands and leading elbow finish on completion of the shot the easier it is to play straight: The top hand needs to dominate the shot.
The bottom hand needs to be a hinge grip. This means the only the fingers and thumb remain on the handle of the bat but the palm is not in contact with it.
With the top hand firm and the bottom hand loose it is easier to complete your straight batted shots with high hands and leading elbow.
This allows you to swing the full face of the bat through the line of the ball for the maximum amount of time to positive effect.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about technique, check out Gary Palmer's interactive coaching courses. Gary is a coach with over 20 years experience teaching players to become first class cricketers. For the first time he has put his drills online, only at PitchVision Academy.