Use Space, Cones and Balls to Develop the Next AB De Villiers | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Use Space, Cones and Balls to Develop the Next AB De Villiers

Last week we looked at how to score big without boundaries, now we are going to switch it and look at some boundary options.

These are newer ways to score four and six, but with increased demands to score quickly are becoming vital skills for batters in all limited over formats from Twenty20 to 50 overs. These are methods pioneered by modern greats like AB De Villiers, Sachin Tendulkar and Jos Buttler.

And you can coach these shots with nothing more than a willing batsman, space, cones and balls.

Drop kick

The "drop kick" is a straight batted, lofted shot hit straight over the top of straight mid-wicket.

Many players develop it because of their innate preference to explore spaces on a cricket field. Somebody like Sachin Tendulkar was a great example and exponent of this shot.

Hit it with a high enough trajectory to clear the fielder on the circle at straight mid-wicket, landing the ball ¾ of the way to the boundary.

This area is largely unguarded in limited overs, especially now with the regulations stating that a maximum of 4 fielders are allowed to protect the boundaries for 35 for the 50 overs.

There are a variety of techniques that players use to hit this area:

  1. Some players use their wrists to ease the ball into the space beyond mid-wicket
  2. Others use their starting position on the crease to open up that area
  3. Some move into a position that lines their hips and shoulders towards the target area and hit conventionally

Each method can work.

Rather than coach a specific technique provide a target area, for the ball to land in (either with cones or a crash mat as I did with the Somerset T20 winning side in 2005).

This gives the players a simple intention of hitting the target on the full. The player will then self-organise, adopt one of the options above or come up with a new one of their own.

Line drive

The line drive isn't just found on a baseball pitch. In cricket it is the offside version of the dropkick.

AB De Villiers is amazing at shifting his body to access the area over the top of extra cover, hitting the boundary between deep cover and deep mid-off.

Again, there are different ways for a player to achieve a result. So set the practice up with crash mats or cones to create the intention and let the players find their own way.

Dilscoop, Buttler flip or De Villiers up and over

Captains can't defend all the boundaries on the field. The two shots above will regularly go for 4 if hit correctly.

But say that a captain then sends a man out to deep-straight mid-wicket area? He has to take a fielder from somewhere and most probably it will be fine leg.

Bring on a scoop or flip.

Buttler gets chest on and uses his hands to flip the ball, whereas Dilshan squats and stays sideways on using a scooping motion. There is no set way.

Place your crash mat and cones out and let them find out which one suits them.

Here is a great example of the 3 shots being used by AB De Villiers (in his own way) against Dale Steyn:

Great combinations that are impossible to defend in limited over cricket. Are you teaching your players to play this way yet?

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