Palmers outlines his Batting Check list that is designed to improve your
technique. These are the five most important areas to analyse and assess.
Stance and Back swing (Alignment with ball)
2. leaning in to the shot (Balance)
3. Stepping forward or Back ( Positioning of feet- Alignment
4. Point of Contact ( Stable Base )
5. Finished Position (Enhanced hitting area through the
line of the ball)
Alignment to the ball)
The back swing is your first point of alignment and you need to get this
right to be able to play the straight-batted shots well. The top of the
back swing needs to be high over off-stump so that gravity can assist
the top hand on the down swing towards the ball, this minimises bottom
the top of the back swing your forearm should be bent at about 90 degrees
pointing towards the bowler with the back arm in alignment. This will
make your top hand dominant. It will also help you enhance your finish
position with a high leading elbow on completion of the shot. It is important
that the bottom hand is holding the bat only with fingers and thumb to
ensure the top hand takes control. Short back lifts encourage too much
bottom hand and I would advise you against having one.
need to try to pick the bat up towards off-stump so that your bat can
get good access to the ball on straight and especially leg-stump line
deliveries. From this position the bat can swing in a straight line towards
the ball with a full face.
After your initial back swing over off stump your shoulders should turn
towards the line of the ball. As the shoulders turn the bat will move
in line with them. So when the ball pitches outside off stump the bat
position on the back swing will now be pointing towards leg stump and
lined up perfectly to swing in a straight line towards the off side. If
you do the above this will minimise the chances of playing across the
line and getting out bowled or LBW.
• Leading shoulder side ways therefore the head is positioned to
the off side and lures you in to tipping over. This can result in players
getting squared up as they over compensate and get to open.
• Picking the bat up over leg stump means batter is set to play
into the off side only. This lures him to tip to the off side and leaves
a gap between bat and pad. This means you are vulnerable to being bowled
• Bottom hand too tight with palm holding the handle of the bat
too tightly. This can mean that the bat face closes to quickly when contacting
the ball thus shortening your hitting zone.
• Back arm is tucked in and fore arms are not in line, this means
the bat will not swing in a straight line towards the ball and batter
will get squared up.
If your initial stance is correct with your feet level you will be in
a good position to lean towards the ball. The thing to check is the position
of your head and alignment of your shoulders. The
head must be slightly forward of your body and above the front foot and
in line with your toes. If your head is further across than your toes
the chances are that you will tip to the off side and this will make it
difficult for you to play straight.
eyes need to be level and your shoulders need to be in line with each
other and also in line with the stumps at the other end of the pitch.
A common problem is that the leading shoulder gets too closed or to far
round and therefore the batter can’t help but fall to the off side.
It’s more important to get the head pointing up the wicket rather
than the shoulders. If the head is in position and the chin is close to
the inside of the leading shoulder, then you are in a great position and
well aligned, ready to lean in to the shot.
problem of tipping to the offside is that players look only at the off
side as their scoring area. Therefore they generally hit across the line
when the ball is straight or on the leg stump. This means that the batter
is presenting half a bat to the ball on contact and therefore risking
missing it or getting a leading edge.
Improving your on drives via opening the shoulders slightly with your
front foot pointing up the wicket, positioned down the line of leg stump
(no wider) with your back foot turning in towards the ball coupled with
practising against feeds around the wicket will minimise tipping to the
off side. When you can play the on drive well with around the wicket feeds,
then progress to one over followed by one around alternatively. These
alternate angles of feed will help fuse your balance into a more central
position with your head in a neutral position ready to play off, on and
straight drives with minimal risk of tipping over.
• Plying straight balls towards the off side.
• Playing around the front pad getting LBW, Bowled or caught from
a leading edge.
• Not knowing what balls to leave and what to play outside off stump.
• Not being able to play in the V and therefore scoring options
are square of the wicket on off and leg side.
of feet) Forward:
When stepping forward make sure your front foot points towards the area
you should be hitting the ball. If you put your front foot too sideways
you will tip to the off side and will play around your front pad and hit
across the line when the ball pitches on middle and leg line. This means
you will find it difficult to swing the bat in a straight line towards
the area you should be aiming the ball - straight and mid on. You will
more often than not play the ball square of the wicket on the leg side
(Square leg area). It is very difficult to play the ball through straight
and mid on areas if the front foot lands too sideway.
Your front knee needs to be able to bend towards the line of the ball,
again this is difficult if the foot lands too side ways. When driving
through mid on and playing the front foot flick off the legs it is important
to take a slightly smaller stride, point your font foot straighter up
the wicket, turn your back foot inward slightly and make sure the foot
lands down the line of leg stump and no wider.
The back foot should always have the heel raised off the ground when playing
forward so that you really lean in to the shot and therefore have a large
hitting area. This will make it easier to drive more deliveries along
the ground. The head should always be forward of the front foot and perpendicularly
in line with the body when stepping forward to ensure balance during the
Faults – Front foot
• Heel of back foot stays stuck to the floor thus limiting the batter's
reach and hitting area.
• Front foot planted too sideways on leg stump line, encouraging
hitting across the line.
• Front foot landing outside the line of leg stump to play an on
drive this causes tipping to the off side and also playing across the
line of the ball too much.
• Front foot lands pointing too straight on and outside off stump
this causes lack of balance, tipping to the off side and also slicing
• Front foot planting across the line of the ball because of initial
movement to the off side with a small stride, thus encouraging the player
to play across the ball and around the front pad. Players that get out
LBW do this a lot.
of feet) Back:
When stepping back you need to get a good stride back and must always
Never step straight back without going across at the same time.
The deeper you step the easier it is to keep you head forward of your
body. Try to leave your head forward as you transfer your weight on to
the back foot. The weight need to be on the back foot with the head over
the front foot.
When the ball pitches on or outside off stump line the back foot should
land parallel to the crease. When the ball pitches on middle and leg stump
line the back foot turns in slightly and the front leg opens out so that
you can swing the bat towards the ball in a straight line.
The back foot is pointing down the wicket when the ball is on or outside
off stump, this causes the bat to swing down the wrong line and can result
in being caught behind.
The back foot is too sideways on middle and leg stump line, this causes
the batter to be too sideways and therefore closed off, thus finding is
difficult to play the short ball.
Front shoulder turns too much towards extra cover so the batter plays
the ball too square of the wicket and therefore the batter is playing
with half a bat with the arms away from the body.
When playing, the front foot drives you must look to make contact with
the ball forward of the front foot, this will lengthen your hitting zone.
To do this you must lean towards the ball with the head forward of the
body allowing the back heel to get off the ground thus allowing you to
reach further forward and hit with a dominant top hand and fingers and
thumb relaxed bottom hand. Making contact in font of the front foot will
help you get more momentum in to the shot while hitting from a firm base.
Try to stroke the ball in to the correct areas with good technique, don’t
try to swing the bat too fast. Although you are trying to make contact
with the ball in front of the front foot when driving, you still need
to let the ball come to you rather than go at it too early. If your heel
is still on the ground when playing forward, this means you are not leaning
• Too much bottom hand
• On point of contact palm of bottom hand is firmly touching the
• Heel of back foot is still touching the floor
• Head is not Forward of the front foot.
• Head is not inline with the path of the bat towards the ball.
• Trying to swing the bat too fast. (Compromises efficient technique)
(Enhanced hitting area through the line of the ball)
If the back swing and the finished position are correct and you lean in
to the shot the other areas should automatically fall in to place. The
start and finish position of any shot are the most important areas to
work on when coaching.
finished position of any straight batted shot including the flick off
the legs and leg glance must finish with a high leading elbow position.
This is something that great players such as Sir Vivian Richards did exceptionally
well. The diamond shape created in the back swing should be maintained
throughout the shot and should be maintained in the finished position
to allow you to play straight effectively.
When playing the drives, the check drive is the most efficient and successful
way of playing the shot. The check drive will secure a large hitting zone
and will ensure a full face of the bat through the line of the ball for
an extended period of time thus allowing you to play straight more effectively.
Doing this will minimise your chances of getting out to the ball that
moves in the air or off the wicket. It will also make improvised shot
play more effective when playing in a wide V both along the ground or
in the air. When practising try to exaggerate these finished positions
and hold the shapes of the shot for a few seconds so that they get imbedded
in the muscle memory and are therefore easy to recreate in matches.
T ry to look through the bottom forearm on completion of all font and
back foot drives, finish the shot with high hands above the line of your
head. To do this well you bottom hand will need to be relaxed and your
top hand in charge of the shot.
• Collapsing the leading elbow too early in the shot.
• Bottom hand too tight, therefore restricting the flow of the arms
and bat through the shot.
• Players implementing the full swing and swinging the bat over
their shoulder thus shortening the hitting zone and closing the bat face
to early in the shot.
best players in the world the implement the above correct techniques and
are very efficient in playing with a straight bat. Great players have
a good basic technique but have the ability to attach their natural flare
to their correct technical base when they need to improvise. They know
how fare they can push the boundaries of that technique through trial
and error in match situations. When great players play on a bad pitches
or come up against an exceptional spell of bowling they have a good technique
to fall back on to survive and succeed.
There is no substitute for correct efficient technique, when learning
the various shots the straight batted ones need to be perfected first.
These shots are a must to succeed at a higher level. Playing straight
will improve your consistency and will build your confidence. When the
confidence is high you will take on the challenging run chase situations
in a more positive frame of mind and will be successful in more situations.
To deliver the various types of match game plans effectively you must
have a good basic technique.
First, Master the basics and the runs will come.