One thing I’ve noticed in my time developing players is that there are a lot of area’s that get neglected for young cricketers
The most popular answer I get back when asked what do you want to be better at is “To score more runs”.
Pretty simple isn’t it.
But there’s one thing that many players aren’t developing and it’s definitely not to do with hitting a ball…
The biggest influence in batters I find is how well and how quick they make their decision.
Decision making in batting is crucial, I mean think about it.
Your first thing you have to in order to know where to hit the ball is to know where it’s going to bounce.
Breaking down the skill of batting completely and you actually see there are quiet a few different decisions that have to be made before bat his ball.
The result is very heavily influenced by how quickly you make these decisions.
Some of these are:
- The line/length of the ball
- Is it going to swing/spin in to me or away from me
- Where are the fielders
- What sort of shot do I think is relevant at this stage of the game
I’m sure you get the point and can name many more.
My thought behind this is these, like playing the cover drive are a skill. And as a skill, can be improved dramatically.
However this takes time and repetition.
Your ability to make a quicker decision means you have to practice this under duress or look for better ways to pick up cues.
We spend a large amount of time creating decision making elements into our academy activities.
This may be hitting the ball into two different zones, or identifying whether to play or leave the ball, picking up the length of the ball.
The key to this is breaking down the skill and identifying what is most important.
For example leaving a ball. The most important decision is the judging the line of the ball.
From there it’s implementing little tricks or measures you can do in a game to ensure that these decisions become second nature or easier.
With that leaving component, I’d ask the question to players on how can you tell what line the ball has to be before you can leave it. What part of the conditions or elements in a game can you use to make these decisions easier when you are under pressure?
Answer?: It can be as simple as finding a spot on the wicket that lines up with off stump, and anything outside that you can let go earlier in your innings.
If you do this often enough it becomes second nature.
The quicker you can pick up these cues and make a better decision, a domino effect occurs.
In batting if you can pick the length of the ball quickly what happens?
You move forward or back quicker, you know what shot to play because of the length of the ball and you can then play that ball however you want in order to get the best result out of that (a run).
For many players, people don’t pick up these cues quick enough and as a result everything is rushed and you find that you are off balance and you don’t execute your shot/skill to your liking.
PRO TIP: Many players try to pick the length as the ball bounces. Find cues from the bowlers hand to identify if they are going to release it later (shorter) or earlier (fuller). From there you can pick the length much, much earlier.
I’m sure you’ve all seen a test or state cricket player face fast bowling?
It seems that they make facing 140km/h look easier doesn’t it? That’s because they have much more time!
And why’s that do you think?
It’s because they have made their correct decision quicker and are in a better, more balanced position to execute their skill.
Now throw me or you in there and I reckon it would be a different story.
Making better decisions sets a far greater base around batting performance and really does solve a lot of other issue’s that batters are having.
Next time you are working on your batting, see if you can try to set up an environment where your focus is on making these decisions.
1.Coming right forward or right back.
2.Leaving the ball.
3.Hitting a ball into two different area’s.
4.Hitting a ball onto both sides of the wicket.
By starting to experiment around doing these, you can ask yourself a few key questions.
- What decisions do I need to make?
- How do I make these decisions (what cues in the bowler am I looking for)?
- When do I use these skills? (what stage of the game are these types of batting important).
As always this is all about creating an environment to train your brain and make you think about the skills and important area’s needed to execute these parts of your game.
Good luck and let me know what you think
Written By Joel Hamilton - ACI Co Founder