"Pleasure meeting you today, just wanted to let you know Zain really enjoyed the legspin coaching, he learnt more in one hour today with you than he has in months with other coaches."

Rayaz Siddiqui

Batting - Improving Your Technique

The key to technical improvement is REPETITION. Good quality repetition of the right habits is crucial to developing any skill in life and cricket is no different. When looking to improve a particular stroke - for example the straight drive - the best method is to build from a simple base until you attempt the more complex aspect of the shot.

Such a philosophy would see the following method for developing the straight drive:

  1. Hit a stationary ball placed on a batting tee or plastic cup. Repeat 50 times.
  2. Now move to hitting a drop feed - a ball dropped from next to you into the ideal position for the stroke. Repeat 50 times.
  3. Now move to hitting a ball thrown underarm at you from a distance of 10 - 15 metres. Tennis balls are excellent for this as they can bounce twice and still be at the ideal height to drive which is a very good way for children to learn. Bowling machine balls are also very good for this drill. Repeat 50 times.
  4. Now graduate to hitting balls thrown overarm which brings in the need to judge the line and length of the ball from a higher release position. Repeat 50 times.
  5. Lastly, you can have a proper net session with bowlers releasing the ball from 22 yards. When a the straight half volley or full toss presents itself, check to see if you're still doing the right things.

This method uses common sense progression and is far better than just heading into a net against a bowler. If done properly, this technique should take you no more than 20 minutes so long as you have a healthy supply of balls and a net or wall to hit into.

Good technique is desirable but don't disappear into a world of constant self-analysis and fault finding which I see far too often with players. The ball is there to be hit and the intent and conviction you put into the stroke are just as important as the technical merit of the shot.

To help you play the straight drive, or any drive for that matter, try thinking about the following simple phrases which will help you hit the ball better:

  1. Watch the ball onto the bat
  2. Let the ball come
  3. Hit it under your eyes (particularly the on drive)
  4. Let your hands go through the ball
  5. One simple movement - hit the ball from a solid base
  6. Lean into the stroke and let your weight go into the hit

One more thing... Don't just practice the check drive. Look to master the full follow though (where the bat finishes over your shoulder) which is just as important a stroke, even more so when hitting through the off side.

Coaching Cricket Excellence

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