The game of cricket has evolved at such a rapid pace over the last 10 years following the introduction of T20 cricket.
Whether you are a purist rebelling against the shortest form or are in full support of the newest form, the T20 format is moving cricket back towards the top of sporting participation rates across the world. This form is evolving our game faster then ever before.
One of the more notable changes that has come with the format change is that batsmen are required to have the capacity to hit the ball 360 degrees. This skill has challenged the traditional scoring zones and fielding positions, with players now able to manipulate fielding positions to create greater opportunity to score large in other areas of the field.
The game now is full of ramp shots, sweeps and reverse sweeps usually in the latter overs of a game. However the mean of the latter overs is getting larger and larger. These shots have revolutionised the way cricket is played and coached, against both the red and white ball. Fundamentally the game hasn’t changed. The basics of cricket including balance, technique, mental capacity and tactics are still elements required to play at the highest level.
The shape of these these skills now as compared to 10 years ago are significantly different however. When coaching generation X on these skills it is very important to communicate and make young players aware of the need to develop the old school fundamentals including balance, before they start developing these new skills for the shorter format.
TIPS TO DEVELOPING YOUR 360 DEGREE GAME
Balance is the most critical aspect of batting. The weight distribution in your feet should be forward and back, toes to mid foot.
Your balance is often reflected upon by your feet, hands and head position both pre and post shot.
Think David Warner, Shiv Chanderpaul, Chris Rogers, Damien Martyn, Mark Waugh and Steve Smith – all great players with completely different ways of going about their business. Balance, position when the ball is released and striking point means they are technically correct each in their own way.
Cricketers are encouraged to try new things to find a way that feels most comfortable and works for them.
Mental capacity is the willpower of the batsman, their capacity to get in line with the cricket ball and play cricket shots 360 degrees.
Pulling, late cutting, ramping, sweeping, and reverse sweeping all put the batsman at a high risk of getting hit by the ball, especially when just learning the new skill. Getting your head and body in line takes significant practice, willpower and application.
Cricket smarts are often seen to come with age and experience. They are picked up through years applying your trade in the middle against opposition.
Training in a isolated environment to develop skills and scenarios for a young batsman to work tactically through game situations will help fast track their tactical awareness and ability to think for themselves.
AN ACTIVITY TO DEVELOP A 360 DEGREE GAME
It is important when developing a new skill to experiment!
For a young batter this is the opportune time to learn what will work for them and what won’t. Training sessions are a great opportunity to make mistakes, develop a new area of their game and learn to problem solve on their feet! Set out some cones as a zone to hit the ball to.
Overarm, underarm, side arm, roll, ball machine, bowl, spin, throw to experiment and figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to stick with one zone early in the development stage.
As they start to find their way, let the random decision making begin! Open the whole field up and have FUN!