There are multiple ways to get out in cricket as a batsman however batsman can particularly struggle with LBW dismissals. I believe LBW is the type of dismissal which is mostly related to technique. In this blog, I am going to suggest reasons why you might be struggling with LBW and some technical adjustments which will help you. I will warn you now, head position is the nucleus of batting technique and I am going to talk about it a lot.

Reason 1 – Head Position in Your Set Up

When you set up in your stance your head needs to be positioned directly over your feet. This ensures your centre of gravity is evenly balanced and you can move directly towards the ball. Your head is the heaviest part of your body therefore it is crucial we have it in the right place in our set up. If your head sits to far outside of your feet, your centre of gravity is too far towards the off side therefore it is hard to take your head straight down the line of the ball when it is coming into your stumps. If the ball is coming straight down the line of the stumps and your head is too far towards the off side you can fall over and play around your pad. Essentially, you’re playing across the line to a straight delivery which is dangerous and could be the reason you’re getting out LBW. Make sure your head is above your feet in your set up and your right eye is lined up at the bowler.

Reason 2 – Your Stance is Too Wide

Another reason you may be getting out LBW is again to do with your stance. If your stance is too wide you are not in an athletic position to move efficiently. When your stance is too wide your head position sits too far back in your stance. As I mentioned earlier, your head is the heaviest part of your body therefore if you have it too far back in your stance you can
get stuck. What also happens is you lead with your front pad and you end up playing around your pad because your head is too far back and your pad is in the way. If the ball moves back into your pad you are in trouble. In your batting stance, your head needs to be sitting above your front ankle. This will help you lead with your head down the line of the ball rather than leading with your pad and getting stuck.

Reason 3 – Not Tracking The Ball Late Enough

Watching the ball right onto your cricket bat is very important when the ball is straight at the stumps. Tracking the ball with your eyes all the way onto your bat helps to keep your head down the line of the ball and still. If you are getting out LBW a lot be sure to practice tracking the ball all the way to contact.

Goodluck, execute well.

James Bazley - ACI Coach & Programs Coordinator

 

Preface:  This article is for right hand medium/fast bowlerS who struggle against left handers.

So many R/H quicks seem to struggle for consistency when they’re bowling to left handers. Even more so if you naturally swing the ball in to a left hander.

A really common thing we hear is “I seem to be able to swing it away from the right hander but when I bowl to a lefty it goes straight.”

In this short article I’m going to talk about three really common reasons why that is the case and why bowlers struggle to bowl to lefties…

 

1. YOU DON’T CHANGE YOUR RUN UP

When you bowl to lefties, you need to change the angle of your run up (more so if you run in straight normally).

I’ll get you to picture it in your mind for a minute…

If you keep your run up the exact same as you have it for a right hander, where is everything lined up to?

Middle and leg stump for the left hander.

Take a couple of steps to your left at the top of your mark and create a straight line between you and the off stump/keeper.

Everything should be lined up to the off stump - run up, front arm, release and follow through.

2. YOUR WRIST POSITION CHANGES

Now, this one is a bit of a flow on effect from #1.

Because the angles of your run up haven’t changed, your wrist position has to.

To get the ball outside the off stump you have to change your wrist from your natural out-swing position to an in-swing position, pointing to third man for the left hander and you ‘push’ the ball across the batsmen.

If you start the ball where your run up is aligned, you’ll get your natural swing in but it’ll go down leg side.

That creates a cycle of frustration and in consistency.

If you get #1 right and change your angles, that will allow you to keep your natural wrist position, start the ball outside off and hopefully get it bending in to 3rd/4th stump (something most lefties don’t like ?).

3. YOU DON’T PRACTICE IT

It might seem really simple but if you’re not confident and consistent against left handers, you probably don’t practice it enough.

It surprises me how many bowlers set targets up to R/H only when doing target bowling (no batsmen).

There’s almost as many left handers around now as right handers so you need to practice it as much as you do bowling to a right hander.

When you’re doing target bowling, set up targets for both left and right handers and practice going from one to another like you would in a game.

Obviously when you’re doing bat vs ball net sessions you’ve gotta bowl to the batsmen you’re given, but if you want to work on bowling to lefties ask your coach if you can move nets and follow them around.

Make sure you work on #1 & #2 in the nets as well.

Change your angles and work on your wrist position.

I hope that helps and as always, if you’ve got any tips, drills or tweaks that have helped you improve your ability to bowl to left handers I’m an open book, I’d love to hear them.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick - Australian Cricket Institute Co-Founder & Coach

 

I don’t think there is enough emphasis put on how important it is to look after the cricket ball when you're in the field.

Who likes fielding in the sun all day?

Not me!

So why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to give yourself and your team the best chance of knocking the batting team over?

Yet it amazes me how many teams put little to no effort into keeping the ball in good condition.

It should be spoken about, there should be a plan around it and coaches should be educating players on how to care for a ball ethically and within the rules.

Think of it from a batsman’s point of view - how hard is it when the ball is nipping and swinging around all day compared to when the ball is knackered after 5 overs.

Here’s 5 tips for keeping the ball in good condition so it swings for longer...

1. Don’t Overload it With Moisture

A common myth we hear all the time is to ‘load it up Sheryl!’ (sweat, saliva, sunscreen...you name it).

You want to keep the ball as dry as possible for as long as possible to keep is swinging conventionally.

Yes you need to put some moisture on the ball to buff out scuffs but use as little as possible and get it off quickly.

PRO TIP - If you have players that sweat a lot in your team, ban them from touching it. If they’re bowling, give it to them as late as possible.

2. Appoint a ‘Ball Shining Skipper’

Everyone on the team should be aware of what’s required to keep the ball in good nick and be on board with doing so.

But…

You need to have a ‘Ball Shining Skipper’

Here’s a few requirements of a good skipper…

  • They don’t bowl, or don’t bowl much
  • They’re not the actual skipper
  • They don’t sweat too much
  • They field somewhere near the bowler
  • They know what they’re doing when it comes to shining the ball

Their job is simple…

  1. Pour their heart and soul into keeping the ball shiny (they should be almost as tired as the bowlers at the end of the day).
  2. Rouse on teammate who are not shining the ball or doing anything to ruin the ball. Become an absolute ball Nazi

Get the ball to the ‘Ball Shining Skipper’ as quickly as you can in the field to give them as much time as possible with it.

3. Get Heat into the Shiny Side

This one is probably debatable, I don’t know if there’s any science behind it.

But I have found that getting the shiny side really hot just before you bowl makes it swing more.

This means the ball skipper needs to rub it as hard and fast as they can on their thing before getting it to the bowler.

Give it a go and let me know if you reckon it swings more when the shiny side is hot.

4. Keep it Off The Ground

This seems pretty obvious but it had to be said.

I see so many players bounce it into the keeper or the ball hit the ground on the way back to the bowler.

The more it hits the ground the quicker it’s going to deteriorate.

Once you appoint a ball skip they’ll be all over this though, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

5. Look After The Seam

This one tends to take care of itself if you do all of the above well.

You can’t pick the seam but you can look after it - fix it up with your finger if it starts to peel apart.

Keep moisture off it so it doesn’t soften.

Keep the ball off the ground so it stays hard.

The seam acts as a rudder for swing so keep it in good condition and standing tall.

Hopefully that gives you a little blueprint to take back to your team and keep the ball moving around all day!

Let me know if you have any other tips I haven’t mentioned - [email protected]

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick - Co-Founder & Coach at Australian Cricket Institute 

A really common question we get asked is…”What can I do at home to improve my batting.”

With the Christmas break just around the corner (or already underway for some players) we thought it’d be a great time to put together our top 8 things you can do at home to improve your batting.

Bat Tapping

Bat tapping drills are a great way to improve your hand eye coordination and also your control of the bat.

Make sure you have both hands on the handle, we often see players have one hand on the handle and one on the blade.

You can start really simple and scale it up to your ability.

A really common question we get asked is…”What can I do at home to improve my batting.”

Simple - As many taps in a row on the face of the bat.

Hard - Around the world.

Here’s a list of bat tapping drills you can do >> Download Bat Tapping Drills

Visualisation

Find a quiet place, close your eyes and picture yourself in different situations.

Scoring a hundred, getting through a tough patch of bowling, getting the best batsman out…

Try to make it feel as real as possible, what does it look, feel, sound like? What are you feeling?

Science has proven that the brain doesn’t know the difference between a real memory and a made up one so by visualising yourself doing well in certain scenarios - next time you’re actually in the situation you’ll feel like you’ve ‘been there, done that’.

If you want to learn more about visualisation, download: The Power Of Visualisation 

Back Yard Cricket

Get stuck in to some unstructured back yard cricket!

Tape up a tennis ball, put some rough on the pitch, play on grass so it turns.

Back yard cricket is a great way to develop certain skills while having fun.

Not enough back yard cricket happening around Aus!

Hand Eye Coordination Drills

Grab a couple of balls (tennis, bouncy, golf) and do some hand eye/focus drills.

There are a heap of little drills you can do so I’m not going to go through them all but here’s a couple…

  • Bouncing each ball on the ground alternately with one hand while walking.
  • Bounce the balls on a wall and catch alternately
  • Bounce the balls on a single focus point on the ground 

I’m sure you can use your imagination and come up with some challenging hand eye drills. 

They’re also a great warm up for batsmen.

Watch Cricket

How easy!

But when you watch cricket this summer, actively watch it.

Think “what would I do in that situation?”

“Why did they do that?”

Learn from the best players in the world, watch their technique, watch how they warm up, watch their game plans.

You can learn so much from them! That is why we developed the ACI Online Academy, so young players can learn from professional coaches and players.

You can check it out and grab a free 30 day trial here

Shadow Batting

Go through your range of shots with some shadow batting.

Either do it in front of a mirror or get someone to film you and check out your technique.

Great way to get visual feedback and also develop muscle memory.

Develop Batting Plans

You should have a clear batting plan for every type off bowler you might face.

Spend some time developing your plans and putting them down on paper.

One of the sessions we do with our academy players is getting them to draw a field and draw in their Go Zones (strengths, low risk shots) and No Go Zones (weaknesses, high risk shots) for every type of bowler.

Think about which way the ball is swinging/spinning, is it bouncing, what shots do the bowlers want you to play?

Strengthen Your Forearms

Strengthening any part of your body is going to help but there are some more important areas for batsmen and your forearms his one of them!

A simple exercise you can do to strengthen them is…

  • Lay a towel flat on the ground
  • Put your palms down on the end of the towel 
  • Keeping your palms on the ground, scrunch the towel towards you using only your fingers
  • Scrunch the whole towel then repeat!

Get stuck in and improve your batting over the break!

Authors: Nick Fitzpatrick & Joel Hamilton

We see it all the time… 

So many players that are down on confidence and really struggle with their game and results. 

A common theme when we speak to parents or coaches of players in our programs about young players performing is “they just seem much more confident”. 

Having confidence and riding that wave of good feelings makes your cricket so much more enjoyable but also makes you feel 10 feet tall! 

Being able to be free of the shackles and score with ease, have no pressure on yourself to perform and really feeling like you can do no wrong. 

We’ve identified some very similar mistakes that we find a lot of players are making that affect their levels of confidence and in turn, their performances. 

  1. Fear of failure 

This is a massive one. 

So many players openly speak about the fear of failure and not wanting to disappoint their team mates, parents, coaches and themselves. 

Having this fear of failure can really hold players back and mess with their confidence levels. 

So how do we change this you may ask? 

It’s about switching your mindset around. Creating a positive training environment, and also just relaxing and understanding that failure is the most important aspect of learning and improving. 

In our programs we really promote the opportunity to learn and take the game on. Making mistakes is fine and as long as you have the correct review process in place to identify how you can change these mistakes. 

My advice if you are feeling like this is a common occurrence for you? 

Identify the situations that really put you under pressure. Take note of these and maybe write down when these happen and a response that can be positive.

This ensures that you are able to identify these feelings when they happen and take the appropriate course of action. 

Secondly, trying to create a thought process or environment that enables you to make mistakes and know that these are natural. No one is PERFECT! The best player’s in the world still fail. 

It’s about identifying these mistakes and finding ways to work on them and make plans to not do it again.

2.Not taking time to understand your game 

So many players find they lose their confidence due to not performing, and when I ask and delve a little bit deeper, it’s really quiet evident that they don’t really have a good understanding around their game and their strengths. 

It’s so important to create plans around your game and identify your areas of strengths. 

If you have this understanding you’ll find that you will be far more calm and confident when you are put into situations. 

Think about it, when you are under pressure there are so many things going on in your head. 

Add into that your need to then make quick decisions on the field. 

If players don’t have a true understanding of their game, they will continue to make these mistakes, and continue to feel the pressure. 

My advice if you are feeling like this area of your game is contributing to a lack of confidence? 

Spend time to sit down and speak to your coach/parent’s/mentors and identify your strengths of your game. 

From there you can start to develop a sound game plan on how to approach the game. Knowing your strong areas you can capitalise on loose deliveries, how to get off strike if you feel you are clogging up dot balls for longer periods of time. 

Having this clearer understanding of your strengths and your game plan enables you to reduce the stress in these situations, but also find an easy way out of that particular part of the game.

 3.Spending too much time in the past/future 

This may sound a little unusual, but what I mean by this is spending too much time thinking about what has happened previously, or what is going to happen. 

For example thinking about the team you are playing on a Saturday and being too caught up repeating the last few times you played them and gotten out cheaply,.

Or it may be going through the team list and seeing big names of players that you think are way too good for you. 

Maybe it’s thinking too far ahead. Playing and missing a few in a row while batting and thinking your definitely going to get out! 

Not enough time is spent having people be aware of being in the moment.

These past and future thoughts slowly compound and really start to place a lot of pressure on players and they find that this is a key reason to why they lose confidence throughout times of the season. 

How do I change this mindset for the better? 

If you feel this impacts you during a game, it’s really about trying to create your own in between ball routine or process. 

Using your time more effectively in between balls to distract you away from these negative thoughts that can influence your thinking and confidence so much. 

This may look like positive self talk, controlled breathing, anchors that take you through a host of steps to ensure you are staying present in the moment and not letting your mind wander to far ahead of behind (just to name a few). 

If you find that these thoughts affect you after games and throughout the week, it could be really important to start to review your sessions/games after they happen. 

By reviewing your performance it enables you to identify the areas you may not have done well (and areas you have also done well) and quickly move on from it.

4.Your preparation leading into a game. 

I know many players who find this is a driving factor to their comfort levels and confidence. 

Whether it’s the amount of time they’ve spent (or not spent) training and preparing to perform leading into the weekend, or having things completely out of your control such as missing a session due to the weather.

Your preparation is key to how you are feeling coming into a game. It’s so important to you to have that thought and feeling that “i’ve done enough”. 

If you haven’t it really can be an inhibiting factor to your performance and how you feel. 

If this is a familiar feeling how do I change this? 

Having these feelings is very much in your control. You are wholeheartedly responsible for your actions and these actions dictate your thoughts and feelings. 

If you somehow miss sessions for once, maybe positive self talk or even just understanding that one session isn’t going to effect how you play (just make sure you don’t use this and it becomes a habit for laziness!). 

Know that you can say yes/no to anything and try to avoid distractions in the lead up to the game ahead. 

If you do miss a session, think of ways you can make up for it. Training too wet to bat or bowl maybe? But you can definitely still use that time to review your batting or bowling plans, speak to your coach about your role or even go off and do some physical work to get some sort of benefit for the session. 

All in all, confidence is about feeling comfortable. The more comfortable and prepared you are, the more likely you are going to succeed!

Written By Joel Hamilton - Co Founder