How to approach your Batting

Batsmen often look for technical changes if they are out of form or not achieving the consistent scores that they feel they can when in fact the real key to being a successful batter is your mental approach.

The key factor in being a successful batsman is knowing what you are trying to do when you walk to the wicket. This may come through experience but the sooner you as a player work out what it is you're looking to do when you bat, the sooner you will realise your potential. Underneath are a number of possible approaches to batting with an example of a famous player who typifies that style.

1. Looking To Attack

Defending only when the ball requires you to do so. Attack is the first option and your intent is to dominate the bowler. Example – Kevin Pietersen

2. The Accumulator

Looking to bat time and collect runs as they come along. This requires patience and concentration. Example – Alastair Cook

3. Ones And Twos

The batsmen goes out looking to run quick singles and turning ones into twos through aggressive running between the wickets, particularly at the start of his innings. Example – Michael Bevan

4. You're not getting me out

Batting with the intention that the bowler will get you out 'over your dead body.' Example – Rahul Dravid

5. Shot Gameplan

A pre-arranged plan for how you intend to score runs on a particular wicket or against certain bowlers such as looking to play off the back foot on wet wickets or use your feet to a spinner. Example – Brian Lara

6. Just Bat

Simply focus on the ball and let your natural reactions and batting brain do the rest. (Works well if you are in good touch). Example – Sachin Tendulkar

7. Looking For A Certain Type Of Bad Ball

Batter decides he is looking to score off a particular type of delivery be it short ball, half volley or leg side etc. Example – Ricky Ponting (Pull) Paul Collingwood (Leg stump)

8. Be There At The End To Cash

In The batter decides he'll score what runs he can before upping the tempo at the end of the innings when he's seeing the ball big and the bowlers are tiring. Example – Mike Hussey

This list is not exhaustive and there are many occasions when players combine different approaches with great success. What all the great players will do however, is engage in self-talk and concentration cues to help them get through the difficult stages of their innings (especially the beginning). Here is list of possible pre-delivery thoughts and other ideas to assist your concentration.

Pre- Delivery Thoughts/Self-Talk
  1. Watch the ball
  2. C'mon
  3. Play Straight
  4. Wait for the ball, don't lunge
  5. Let the ball come
  6. Relax and focus
  7. Stand tall
  8. Keep your head still
  9. Line it up
  10. This ball is not getting me out

Concentration cues

Verbal: Focus, switch on

Visual: Focus on a specific spot on the ground, stare at a space and let your mind clear

Physical: Wipe your hand on your shirt Relaxed and deep breathing Adjust your box or gloves Re-mark your guard Do some 'gardening' Go for a walk between deliveries Twiddle your bat Hum or whistle a tune

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