From beginner to advanced batsman, one of the most common flaws in driving is weight transfer.
But what is it, and how do you use it to hit your drives harder along the ground?
You have probably heard cricket commentators on the TV talk about weight transfer when they see a good front foot drive. It sounds clever and technical, and it actually works when you get it right.
What is weight transfer in cricket?
Weight transfer in front foot drives really means stepping towards the ball and putting most of your weight on the front foot. It's the start of the shot and it allows you to put more power into the ball. It's basic physics: every action has an opposite reaction.
Stepping (and swinging) towards the ball puts more reactive energy into the ball to ping it away from you. It goes further.
It's such a powerful and simple method it's become a colloquialism for adopting an assertive or even aggressive stance in conversations. It makes common sense.
It looks like this:
As you can see from this shot, the batsman has a bent left knee. This shows his head and body have moved forwards from his stance and towards the ball. He has, literally, transferred his weight.
And this bent knee is on of the best indicators of good weight transfer.
Look out for it.
Common flaws in batting weight transfer
So, if weight transfer is a good thing generally, what happens when it goes wrong?
First, it's important to note that weight transfer is powerful but not essential. You can still bat well without it as it is just one part of the process of driving. Remember to only look to "correct the fault" if you feel it's causing you an issue.
With that in mind, there are a few things that can go wrong.
1. Timing weight transfer
It's possible to move too late to transfer weight onto the front foot.
For beginners this often means not moving at all and just swinging from the stance. For more advance players, it might be stepping a little too late so the foot is not down in time for the swing to arrive with the ball.
The result is a loss of timing and power.
Usually this is caused by the batter not picking the ball early enough, or deciding to go forward too late. If this happens you you, you can probably hit an underarm feed all day with good weight transfer, but when you face a bowler you get the timing wrong.
Work on improving picking up line and length and shot selection to deal with this issue.
2. The "stable base" myth
Many coaches advise players adopt a "stable base" when moving from the stance into a drive. On the surface this is sensible. After all, you need to be balanced to drive well.
The problem with this advice is that you can misunderstand things. You can overstep or understep to feel stable. You can keep your weight spread across both feet, instead of leaning forward and putting your weight into the ball.
All this leads to less power and a bigger chance of hitting the ball in the air, because your weight is back and not transferred.
Getting your weight forward is the way to fix this. The trouble is, there is no one perfect way to get this right.
- Some players take a larger stride with their head further back.
- Some players have a smaller stride (almost non-existent forward movement of the foot in extreme cases) but lean into the shot with their head more.
This second group love the common coaching advice of leading with the head. That is to say, moving you head first and letting the body follow.
However, you don't need to lead with your head to have your weight forward and knee bent. As long as you get there somehow, you can lead with either your front foot or your head.
Bat swing comes next
Once your weight is transferred, you can swing the bat down towards the ball. Hopefully it hits the middle of the bat and flys away!
If you have got the transfer part right, you are using your whole weight behind the ball so it will go harder and is more likely to go along the ground. If it doesn't regularly, then it's time to think about the swing. Which is a whole different article.
In the meantime, check your weight transfer by checking your front knee. If you are climbing in well you will see better results.