Lancashire coach Peter Moores answers an aspiring coach’s query every month.
“I’m currently coaching a guy who, despite possessing a good technique, keeps getting out caught behind. Where should I start with him?”
IDENTIFY THE ISSUE
The first thing you need to check is, ‘Is he playing at balls that are too wide, that he could leave?’ Often the reason a batsman nicks off so much is when they’re defending the ball outside the line of the stumps. If the ball is wide of off stump, then really you should either be leaving it or attacking it, because there’s no use trying to defend a ball that’s not troubling the stumps.
CHECK THE FACE
Sometimes it could be an alignment issue, specifically with regards to the bat face. What happens here is that batsmen try and play too square; perhaps trying to defend too much towards cover and not back down to the bowler or mid-off and mid-on. The common fault with English batsmen is that they ‘cross’, meaning their front foot is too far across their back foot, preventing them from hitting the ball back where it came from.
FRONT FOOT FOLLY
One of the ideas that a lot of batters are obsessed about is getting their foot to the pitch of the ball, which you can’t actually do. When they try and do this they get stretched across and often can’t hit the ball properly. The top batsmen actually push forward for momentum, rather than follow the ball with their front foot.
If you can, film it and let him watch it to show him what he’s doing. Make sure he understands what he’s doing and which aspect needs to be corrected. But you don’t want to over-play the video because it’ll make things too analytical and you’ll clutter the player’s mind.
TENNIS BALL THERAPY
Take him out of the net and give him under-arm feeds with tennis balls. Let him drive as well as leave balls; vary the line to wide of off-stump so he can leave it, and straighter so he can play it. While he’s doing this, check his feet position and work it out by doing quite a lot in a short space of time. Then, put him back in a net with the bowlers and hopefully he’s starting to get more of an idea of how he should be playing. It’s all about getting him to understand how these changes help his game.
Stay tuned for more expert advice from Peter Moores in the coming weeks