Your ability to read a batsmen and identify flaws in their game and technique is critical in enabling you to develop effective plans to that batsman.

Is it solely the bowlers job to read batsmen?

Of course not. It’s a combined effort between bowler, keeper, captain, coach and fielders.

Here are six technical errors, how to spot them in batsmen and what line and length is best to bowl if you identify a batsmen with the error.

     

1. CLOSED GRIP

A closed give is a deficiency in the way a batsman holds the bat.

IDENTIFY

There’s a couple of things to look out for here…

Firstly, where the batsman’s bottom hand is on the bat. If they have a closed grip their bottom hand will be right around on the handle.

Picture when you pick up a bat - ideally you want to line the V’s between our thumb and forefinger up somewhere down the outside half of the bat.

If a batsman has a closed grip their bottom hand will slide around towards them and their V will be aligned somewhere down the inside half of the bat.

The second thing to look for is where the face of their bat is in their back lift.

With a standard grip the face of the bat should point out to the offside somewhere between 2nd slip and point.

With a closed grip the face of their bat will point to the ground, back at the keeper or even slightly to leg stump.

HOW TO BOWL

Players with a closed grip a generally bottom hand dominant and because of the angle of their bat they’re stronger through the leg side.

They generally find it difficult to hit through the off side.

If you bowl a little bit wider outside off stump it’s going to make it very difficult for them to score and create a lot of pressure.

2. LUNGING ON FRONT FOOT

This is when a batsman commits to a big step onto the front foot towards the off side before you have released the ball.

IDENTIFY

Obviously a reasonably easy one to spot.

You’ll be able to see it in your delivery strip but make sure your keeper and slips are on the ball too.

If they’re taking a big stride before you release the ball then you’ve got yourself a candidate.

HOW TO BOWL

Batsmen that do this are a big chance of getting trapped in front (LBW). Once they commit to the front foot it’s very hard to move it and their front pad can get in the way to straighter balls.

If they’ve just come in, set a straight field - give yourself some protection on the leg side and bowl a little bit straighter. You’re a big chance of pinning them early before they get their eye in.

If they’re set when you come on to bowl, I normally like to try and set them up. My plan would be to drag their front foot further and further across their stumps and then spear one in a bit quicker.

The over would look something like this…

4th stump 85% pace, 5th stump 85% pace, 5th stump 85% pace, 6th stump 80% pace, middle/off stump 100% pace - (hopefully wicket)!

That’s a very simple example but hopefully you get what I’m saying there.

The other option (only if you’re quick enough) is to bowl short - because they’re lunging on the front foot they’ll have less time to play the ball and can get in a tangle against short balls.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

3. WEIGHT BACK - HALF STEP FORWARD

On the flip side - you’ll come across batsman that hang right back and only take small steps forward.

IDENTIFY

Again, pretty simple…if they bat deeper in their crease and don’t commit their weight forward to full balls you’ve got yourself a back foot player.

There’s two reasons batsmen do this…

  1. They’re timid and have a fear of short balls.
  2. They’re really strong square of the wicket and are sweating on short balls.

HOW TO BOWL

If you think it’s because they’re timid you can bowl aggressively at them.

Bowl a shorter length, push them right back in their crease and then bowl the odd full ball trying to get knicks, bowled’s & lbw’s.

If it’s because they’re really strong square of the wicket they generally won’t hurt you down the ground so you can bowl a fuller length.

Take their strength away from them and get them driving the ball.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

4. FRONT FOOT STRAIGHT DOWN WICKET

IDENTIFY

This is when a batsman takes a step straight down the line of middle stump to a full ball no matter what the line of the ball is.

Take notice when they first come in where their foot goes to fuller balls outside off stump.

If it’s always straight down the wicket then you might have yourself a ‘knicker’

HOW TO BOWL

If their foot is going straight down the wicket then they’ll likely be stronger to straighter balls. If the ball is a little bit outside off they’ll be playing the ball outside their eye line and their hand will be going away from their body.

Don’t bowl too wide but if you’re consistently around 4th-6th stump line you’ll be a big chance of getting a knick.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

5. BACK LIFT TO FINE LEG

IDENTIFY

Ideally a batsman back lift should go somewhere between 1st-3rd slip. Any wider and they’ll be chopping in on the ball.

What we’re looking for is when the batsman’s back lift goes behind their body and points to fine leg.

HOW TO BOWL

If their back lift is pointing to fine leg it generally means their shoulders will be aligned to the off side as well.

This puts them in a great position to hit cover drives. Anything outside the off stump they’ll generally smoke!

Anything straight they’re in a very vulnerable position for.

If you picture it they kind of have to swing their bat in a semi circle to get it around to access the leg side.

Bowl straighter - middle/off stump line and you’re a big chance of an LBW.

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

6. HEAD FALLING TO OFF SIDE

IDENTIFY

This is a really common one and happens in a sequence - like dominoes!

It looks like this - hands go away from body in back lift to gully/point > head follows to the off side > front foot follows across to off stump a a balancing mechanism.

This means all of their weight is going to the off side.

HOW TO BOWL

Again, the position they get themselves into really lends itself to hitting through the offside.

Anything just outside off stump or wider they’re going to feel really comfortable with.

Where they won’t feel so comfortable is anything on the stumps.

With the position their hands are in and their weight planting their front foot on the off stump they’re going to find it very difficulty to hit straight and will have to play across the line to straighter balls.

This means you’re a massive chance of an LBW!

>> Watch Video Explanation <<

 

I hope that helps you identify some possible errors in batsmen you’re bowling to as well as develop some plans.

Remember these a general plans that I’ve found work to MOST batsman.

Every batsman is different and may eat up the bowling plan I’ve suggested, you’ll have to use your game awareness and try to identify where a batsman might struggle.

Good luck and as always would love to hear any that’t you’ve picked up along the way that I haven’t mentioned.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

ACI Co Founder & Coach

You can all probably think of at least one player you hate having a net with for one reason or another…

Don’t be that person!

This guide will help you become a better teammate in the nets.

1. THROW THE BALL BACK TO THE BOWLER

When a bowler is putting in the effort to bowl to you and give you a quality practice, show them the respect of picking the ball up and throwing it back to them on the full.

It’s so rude and disrespectful to kick or hit the ball back to the bowler along the ground, or worse still, make them come and get it when it’s in your half.

It’s almost like kicking something to your Mums feet when she asks you to pick it up - don’t do it!

2. DON’T ALWAYS TRY TO HIT THE LAST BALL FOR SIX

For some reason I think this is one of the most common habits in cricket.

Batsmen always seem to think the ‘last ball’ call is a signal to tee off and launch the ball as far as you can.

Firstly, what you’re doing here is training your brain to switch off and relax. More often than not you’re finishing your net session either shanking one or getting out.

Secondly, it really annoys bowlers (especially if they have to go and fetch it) and your coach won’t be impressed either.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve been practicing finishing off an innings and power hitting go for it.

But don’t all of a sudden go from tempo one to temp three in one ball.

3. BOWL PROPERLY AT THE END OF THE SESSION

Disclaimer: Bowl properly for the whole sessions - if you’re completely cooked hand the ball to someone else.

 You might be tired but make sure you give the last couple of sets of batsmen a quality hit.

They’ve probably put in the effort to give you a good hit. Too many bowlers switch off and muck around at the end of a session (even starting bowling something they don’t usually).

Use the end of a session to practice executing under fatigue. It’ll help you, it’ll help the batsmen and it’ll help your team.

4. DON’T WALK THROUGH THE BOWLERS RUN UP

It amazes me how many people just cut through a bowlers run up without looking.

There is nothing more annoying for a quick than being cut off half way through a run up by a space cadet cruising back to the kit bags.

Have some awareness and walk behind the bowlers run ups.

5. REMEMBER THE BOWLING ORDER

This goes two ways.

Don’t over bowl and don’t under bowl.

Don’t be the player that keeps slotting in out of turn, remember the bowling order and stick to it so everyone gets enough volume in.

Spinners, towards the end of a session or if you’re short on bowlers ask the quicks if they would like you to split them. Meaning you bowl every second ball. This often works well if you’ve got a spinner and two quicks in a net.

6. DON’T BOWL 2FT NO BALLS & EXCESSIVE BOUNCERS

Unless the batsman asks you to bowl over the line to sharpen their reaction time, make sure your foot is behind the line.

It doesn’t help your game either and creates bad habits that will lead into a game.

Bowling the odd bouncer is fine and encouraged (they’re going to get them in a game). But don’t over do it, especially if you’re on concrete.

It’s easy to get carried away on concrete and think you’re quicker than you are.

If you’re bowling excessive bouncers from 2ft over the line the batsman is going to get into bad habits and you’re going to get a false sense of security (and get met on the weekend when you bowl short).

Have a great season in the nets!

Would love to hear what you would add to the “Netiquette” list - drop a comment below or shoot me an email on nick@australiancricketinstitute.com

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

Australian Cricket Institute Co Founder & Coach

In Australia, thousands and thousands of eager cricketers have either just begun or are about to embark on another summer of Cricket.

 

One time of the year that many have been preparing for over many, many months.

 

I don’t know about you but I always seem to spend this time of year in the lead up to the season constantly thinking about how well I’m going to start my season.

 

Thoughts start to creep in…

 

Have I done enough?

 

Am I fully prepared?

 

For the most part, yes, yes you all are, it’s just some nervous energy wanting to get out there any finally play!

 

I’ve come up with a little check list that has served some great purpose over the last few years with our academy members.


These area’s of the game are something that we place great emphasis on not only throughout the pre season, but also in the lead up to round 1.

 

Using these as a checklist really helps a lot of players feel they are fully confident to hit the ground running.

1. Understand what your particular strength is as a batter and bowler.

 

This is a very important aspect.

 

I find that many emerging players aren’t overly clear in what they can define their strengths as.

 

Such a critical part of your game and something that is not really necessarily clear to many.

 

Understanding what you do well as a batter or bowler is the key to batting long periods and scoring consistent runs or bowling good spells and taking lots of wickets.

 

Knowing your a good leaver, or you play well straight, or spin bowling is your strength.

 


Or as a bowler, is your strength your consistency?

 


Or maybe it’s your pace and bounce?

 

All these cues are imperative to know so that you can base your game around these.

 

When you become under pressure in a game or you find a tough period during the game, resort to these to get you through.

 

Strip your game right back and do what you do really well to get you through to the other side, because that other side is mostly very rewarding.

2. Have clear plans in place.

 

FOR BATTERS

 

Having a clear and identified plan in place for each particular scenario or type of bowler is a great way to maintain your consistency throughout your innings.

 

Try setting up area’s you feel confident to score against good bowling of different types.

 

For example, where you should look to score against a right arm out swing bowler compared to a right arm off spin bowler are completely different.

 

Knowing that you probably shouldn’t be looking to drive a good length ball through cover against and out swing bowler, or close the face and hit through the leg side too much against a right arm leggy.

 

( A regular part of our programs see's players hone down on their strength's and use them to their best ability)

 

FOR BOWLERS

 

Understanding the sorts of fields you would have depending on the situation of the game or the type of batter you may face.

 

What sort of shots are you trying to get the batsmen to play early with the new ball?


Or how many sweepers and what sort of angles can you create as a spin bowler to entice the batter to take some high level risks against your good consistent bowling.

 

** TIP

See how I’ve mentioned against good consistent bowling... It’s important to understand that you need to be able to bowl that consistent length for these to work, or alternatively as a batter, these are sorts of shots against good bowling where you become under pressure.

 

It’s really important that in the lead up to your start of the season that you take the time out to actually sit down and make sure that you have these plans down pat.

 

Obviously you don’t have to be planned down to the ball. As we know, the game changes so much so fast, and as a player you need to be able to adapt, but I feel having a starting point and adjusting from there during the game you are going to feel much more in control when the nerves set in out in the middle.

 

3. Have your goals set out for you to reference.

 

Many of you would have your set goals for the year.

 

Great!

 

Now it’s time to actually put them down in writing.

 

It’s so important to have these as reference point.

 

Many people once they have written down something or verbalised it to people, feel much more obliged to carry it out.

 

It’s also a great place for you to gain motivation. You should really sit there and look at your goals and feel pumped about the season!

 

It’s just another way to ensure that you are in a positive state of mind throughout the year.

 

 

(If you haven’t done so already, check out our goal setting template we’ve got for you for free. Click here! )

 

4. Create a weekly process out of your goals

 

Something that many really great and successful people do is start to split down their goals into a weekly process.

 

In order to become consistent &  successful you need to have a measure on what you are doing to get you through to that end result.

 

I’m  sure you’ve heard us or other people reference or talk about the compound affect?

 

Many small improvements over a long period of time brings great change!

 

Now is a great time to set some standards or non negotiables around what you do at training to continue to improve any of the area’s you’ve been working on.

 

Want to take 35 wickets for the year as your goal?

 

Well for that you need to be consistent and fit enough to bowl, so it could be part of your training routine to bowl 12 balls at a target throughout each bowling session and measure how successful you are.

 

Little things like these go a long way to continuing that improvement you have worked so hard for in the pre season.

 

5. Have a process to measure you effectiveness at training

 

A lot of players seem to take the foot off the gas once they get into the grind of regular season.

 

We understand that obviously you may switch your training a little bit in terms of more bat vs ball stuff and not focusing on just yourself as much.

 

However what we don’t want is for players to loose the relevance in their training.


A simple way for this to not happen is find a way to review your training and performance after games.

 

This then lets you understand what you really need to focus your energies on that week, but also means you can spend less time on each area and still great greater results.

 

Many players spend too much time doing irrelevant tasks at training.

 

It’s not about how much you do necessarily, but the quality of what you do.

 

If you can manage to train with such purpose and use the 2 hours (or less ) time each session you have, you are still going to get a great deal of value out of your training.

 

Remember this transition from pre season into the regular season is a very important time.

 

Have the confidence in your preparation and just go out and enjoy the game.


If you can put some of these practices into your training and time leading up into the games you start playing I guarantee you will taste success!

 

Good luck for the upcoming season and enjoy yourself  above all!

 

WRITTEN BY JOEL HAMILTON - ACI CO FOUNDER AND COACH 

A perfect out swinger is one of the most beautiful deliveries to watch in cricket and there’s not too many batsmen in the world that enjoy facing them.

The ability to swing the ball away at pace is a highly sought after skill from coaches, captains & selectors.

There are different ‘types’ of swing - new ball swing, old ball swing and reverse swing.

They all require a few little tweaks in terms of what makes the ball swing and how to swing the ball.

Here’s a few tips to help you bowl the perfect outie with a new ball.

 

1. GRIP

Angle the seam to 1st or 2nd slip. Your middle and forefinger will be going slightly across the seam.

Have your thumb resting on the left side of the seam (for right hand bowler - switch it for left).

The science behind this is the seam acts as a ‘rudder’ and by angling it to the slips it allows the air to catch in the right groove of the seam and ‘steer’ it away from the batsman.

2. RUN UP

Take two steps to your left (right if you’re a lefty)  at the top of your mark and angle your run up in towards the batsman.

Two reasons…

It allows you to keep your ‘shape’. You can keep your action the same, start the ball on leg stump and swing it away which makes the batsman play more often.

If you run in too straight you’ll find that you swing it when you start the ball on or outside off stump which makes it easy for the batsman to leave but as soon as you try to start it on or outside leg to compensate for the swing it goes straight. That’s because you actually have to change your wrist position (and we’ll get to that in a moment) to get the ball on leg stump line.

The second reason is that the angle in towards the batsmen actually creates an illusion that the ball is straighter than it is and makes the batsman think they have to play even if they don’t. So you’ll get them playing at (and knicking) balls just outside the off stump.

3. RELEASE POINT

Release the ball from slightly wider (arm further away from your ear).

There’s a fine line here because if you release the ball too wide and become round arm you actually won’t be able to keep the seam upright because you’ll cut down on the ball which means you won’t swing the ball at all.

Mitchell Johnson was a classic example of this - he often tread the fine line.

When his release point got too low he didn’t swing it and didn’t get his usual pace and bounce because the seam was scattered.

When he got his release point just right he was lethal.

Releasing the ball from slightly wider helps with your wrist position, which I’ll speak about now.

4. WRIST POSITION

Angle your wrist towards 1st or 2nd slip.

This obviously supports your angled grip and helps the ball come out of the hand in the position it needs to be to catch the air and cause drag to the off side.

You can do simple little wrist drills - flicking the ball to a partner using only your wrist - to practice getting your wrist in the correct position.

Check out our Swing Bowling Masterclass if you don’t know what I mean there.

5. SEAM

This one is pretty obvious.

You must keep the seam upright. If the seam is scattered the ball will not swing (and you’ll ruin the ball quickly).

Practice staying ‘long on the ball’ - keeping your fingers on the ball as long as possible and rolling them down the back of the ball rather than cutting down on it.

Imagine trying to get the ball to spin directly backwards.

6. LINE & LENGTH

Finally, your line and length is critical.

There is nothing worse that watching 5-6 beautiful outies sail through to the keepers gloves without posing a question to the batsman.

Batsman want to leave as many as they can when the ball is swinging. We want to make them play as many as we can! Bowl straighter.

What shot are you most likely to get a wicket with if the ball is swinging away?

Hopefully you said a drive. That means you need to bowl fuller. I don't mean bowl powder puff half volleys, we still want to hit the deck but make sure your length gives the batsman the opportunity to drive.

Yes you may go for a few more runs bowling fuller and straighter - but your job is to take wickets with the new ball.

I'd rather you take 3/25 off  8 overs bowling fuller and straighter than 0/6 off 8.

Over to you!

I hope that helps you to start carving out some magical outies.

If you’ve got any tips you’ve heard outside of the above that have really helped your outie I’d love to hear them.

I’m an outie nuffy!

Flick them through to nick@australiancricketinstitute.com

If you'd like to learn a bit more about swing bowling and some drills you can use to improve, check out our Swing Bowling Masterclass

It's a video training series with tips and drills to improve your swing bowling.

Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

ACI Co Founder & Coach

Confidence in your abilities is key to performing consistently.

I’m sure you’ve seen it in other aspects of life before, and I don’t want to mistake arrogance with confidence.

Being confident means you are happy to perform the skill, and know you will execute it well.

When you are confident you have no issues with it. You are comfortable and happy to be doing it.

The problem arises when there is little confidence in the task at hand.People are more apprehensive and not willing to do it due to the consequences that may result in a sub standard effort.

More so, I think it’s what other people will think and judge you on which makes things harder if you are not confident in performing that particular skill.

Over time seeing many, many young players evolve and develop their skills, we’ve managed to underline a few key areas where we feel if these are done correctly will help foster that increase in confidence.

A lot of feedback we find parents giving us is that the biggest change is their consistency and confidence in what they are doing...

“He just feels much more confident and looks happy and confident being out there” or “she’s increased her levels of confidence so much”.

As you can see these areas are vital for many players to gain that confidence to play the way that they need to. We’ve provided 5 key steps to becoming a positive cricketing parent.

So what are these 5 Steps?

1. Enable/Encourage Mistakes

This is referencing more about the environment at training or at home. We find that one of the major factors is that many players are so afraid to make mistakes they often really hold off on expressing themselves or playing the game on their strengths.

One thing we speak about is creating an environment where they understand it’s ok to make mistakes, as long as they learn from it.

We want players to have the confidence to make these errors but it’s then the time after reflecting and dissecting what happened which is vital.

Having that weight off their shoulders is massive. They tend to go from " I don't want to stuff this up!" to "Let's have a crack and see what happens!" A total reversal in their psyche and body language.

 

 

2. Place Minimal Pressure

I think a major part of the whole confidence to perform is the thought of letting people down and stuffing up.

A major area that we place on our programs is highlighting the enjoyment factor and doing it to have fun.

Placing pressure on players can be a huge influence on their confidence levels.

The idea of going out and trusting their preparation places less pressure on them to perform and emphasises the need to have fun and enjoy what you are doing more so than the result that is going to take place.

3. Don’t Think About The Outcome - Be Process Orientated

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the whole process orientated way of thinking.

The idea of taking your focus away from the result, and focusing more on the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve that desired outcome.

A big factor in this is getting young players to place emphasis on plans at training and identifying a focus on what they want to work on/improve.

All of a sudden from this, they take their focus away from the big result “scoring runs or taking wickets” and now set themselves up to succeed on the smaller side of things that all culminate into the end result.

For example, focusing on executing a delivery or a particular way of scoring or making positive decisions. Rather than the emphasis on scoring a 50 or taking as many wickets as possible, the focus is switched to the process of doing this.

Take away that pressure or importance of scoring a 50 or you have to take wickets today or we will loose mentality. Replace that with what do you need to do well over and over again today and focus yours and their energy on that.

4. Find The Right Time To Give Feedback

Another tough part of this is when giving feedback. I see a lot of parents asking us about the right time to evaluate their children's performance.

I think the time to give feedback is when emotion is not as raw and fresh.

Try to refrain from speaking to them straight away as they’ve come off the field or when they come up and get a drink.

Find a time when emotions are less raw and the event isn’t as fresh to then ask if they would be comfortable to chat.

Ian Renshaw spoke about the time that he speaks to Matt Renshaw about his performance in a recent interview with cricket.com.au

Ian spoke to Cricket Australia writer Adam Burnett that he established his own ground rules. He would keep his distance immediately after Matt was dismissed, and he wouldn't try to tell him anything.

Instead, when he sensed the time was right, he would gently pose some questions, and allow the steps towards a solution to unfurl. (Read the full article here) 

 

 

5. Choose The Tone You Lead In With

I think one thing that really does set out the standards and the mindset that young players get in once they have come off the field is the tone or the way that the feedback is delivered.

As we mentioned, picking the correct time is so important, but it’s also how you guide the conversation and the tone that you set when you start it.

It really pays to be open and non judgemental. Many young players find it hard and are overcome with emotions when parents are the ones giving feedback.

I’m sure you’ve either experienced it yourself or you’ve heard you fellow parent friends say “oh I’ve said that many times, but they don’t listen to me!”.

The tone of the conversation and what you actually ask is vital here. Don’t just come to judgement straight away.

With playing cricket there are many ways to play the game, many different techniques that get the same desired results.

We find that because you yourself wouldn’t do it that way in particular, then the thought is automatically it’s incorrect.

Instead of that thinking, ask many open ended questions and see if you can find the meaning behind what they did...

Did they have a plan? Can they justify what they did? If they can that’s great! It’s just the execution that has to be worked on. If not and they had no plan, that’s cool, it’s something you can start to implement when they are training.

But the key to this is how you approach it and the language and tone that you use. As I’m sure all parents are aware in everyday life, the way you say things will evoke a certain reaction.

These factors can provide a framework to understanding how to create an environment that builds much more stronger and confident cricketers.

Of course, not only these, but we find these 5 hold significant weight to creating that level for players to come out of their shell and stop living in the fear of failure.

Many players have the ability to perform consistently to a level that is above theirs currently.

It’s all about shaping that and providing an environment and training habits that encourage players to be free and back their strengths to get the job done.

The more confidence people have in their ability and plan, the easier the game gets.

 

Author: Joel Hamilton - ACI Co - Founder & Coach