Palmer coaching Kabeer Ali
  Gary Palmer delivers balls from round the wicket and wide
  on the crease to Kabeer Ali. Note the target cones on
  the pitch.
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Here we offer some advice from innovative coach Gary Palmer who runs the Cricket Coach Master Academy. Gary has coached the Indian and Australian National sides and well as several County teams.

 “It is important that concentration levels are maintained for every shot. If the machine is feeding a particular stroke the batter can play the shot badly several times but forget this because he only remembers when he plays it well,” explains Gary. “A good way to encourage concentration is to include a couple of red balls in a bucket of yellow balls and have the player shout when the unexpected ball appears. This increases their awareness to the alternative delivery such as a bouncer or googly.”

1. Four batters rotate the strike. They are given a target score from a number of balls. They score through a specific target area marked with cones. A player blocking a ball through that area runs a single and looses the strike a player safely striking the ball for four retains the strike. This encourages concentration and teaches them to treasure every delivery.

2. Deliver balls that are not quite half volleys at a slower pace than normal. The batter has to play the shot along the ground. They hit the ball slightly on-the-up and this increases their hitting zone.

3. Deliver good length balls (which might normally be dealt with by a forward defensive) and encourage the batter to hit over the ‘bowlers head’ rather than hitting across the line. This stretches the player’s technique. Twenty20 cricket, which can force some players out of their shell and re-assess what is possible, can have a similar effect.

Gary Palmer with BOLA

Each season Gary Palmer’s Cricket Coach Master Academy delivers a winter coaching programme to forty young players followed by ten fixtures against County Academy sides around the Country.

Gary Palmer said, “The Success of the CCM Academy is down to Bola sponsorship and the use of 4 Bola bowling machines. The BOLA is the best tool for highly intensive work on technique, tactics and above all the mental side of batting. We are able to test batters for extended periods of time (three to four hours), against all styles of bowling which thoroughly tests their mental strength and powers of concentration.”

Ex-players who coach at the CCM include Richard Illingworth, Phil Newport, Alvin Kallicharan and Mark Ramprakash.
The 2008 season has been the Academy’s most successful season to date and ex-students have achieved: one first class debut (Benny Howell-Hampshire); one professional contract (David Murphy- Northants); two academy places at first class counties (plus two more pending) and fifteen players in County under 17 and 19 sides.

Read Gary's check list of the five most important areas in batting technique