Use This Simple 3 Stage Drill to Improve Batting Decision Making | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Use This Simple 3 Stage Drill to Improve Batting Decision Making

Last week I talked about the missing two thirds of batting and focused on helping batters pick up visual cues. The next phase of the batting process is to build up our decision making capacity.

One of the ways that works for me is to build up the number of resources available to the individual: That is to say which options can be used.

I then to test which ones are most effective in a variety of scenarios and match conditions. This way, the player starts to decide for themselves.

I ran a session based on this today around playing spin using the Merlyn spin bowling machine variation mode which subtly shifts lengths by 10% either way.

The session went a little bit like this:


1. Divergent stage: Building a variety of solutions

Each set of 6 balls was given an intention "strap line".

The intentions that we worked with were:

  • The intention of hitting into the spin
  • The intention of hitting with the spin
  • The intention of hitting every safely ball over the 30 yard circle
  • The intention to sweep every ball
  • The intention to hit every ball behind square

Sometimes, a player would stay on a set of intentions for a couple of 6 ball periods, and then move on.

Other players would do a set of 6, move on and then return to the initial set of intentions after a few minutes.

All of the time, players are organising their bodies and their thinking in order to meet the intention. As they are doing this, they are playing shots (comfortably) that they would never have tried before.

As well as this, the player is formulating which options work best to him and which ones could be used in different situations.

2. Experimental stage

The players were asked to refine the potential solutions (in the divergent stage) down to a smaller number of intentions. The aim was to establish which intentions and options work best for them.

Some players narrowed their list of shots to 3 or 4 options within 2 of the intentions. Others had 1 shot from 4 intentions.

It was fascinating to listen to the individualised approaches and then even more fun watching them test each option as part of an overall game plan.

Some options were confirmed as highly viable, others were worked on to make them viable and some were thrown out as being ineffective.

This phase lasted 20 minutes with very little coach intervention.

3. Convergent stage: Scenario/consequence

A scenario was set -score, field, standard of fielder and so on - and the players were asked to play using the resources that are best suited for them and under that specific set of playing conditions.

Players that match or exceed the set scenario were free to go at the end of the session.

Any players who fall beneath the set scenario helped to tidy the Cricket bubble before the end of the session.

When the player succeeded, I asked him what he did in his decision making that led to achievement.

If he didn't succeed then I asked him what he would do differently if he could jump in the time machine armed with the findings from their recent experience and do the task again.

It is important to support any player in that review so that they come to the next test or session more informed and inspired.

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