- Preliminary Foot Movements for Batting
The use of a preliminary foot movement (or shuffle) by batsmen, can be a useful tool to get the body ready for quick movement under pressure. If the timing of the prelim' is done incorrectly, it can also present a number of problems for the batsman. I think the use of a prelim' is largely misunderstood by many players (and coaches!). A prelim movement can help players get ready for a quick movement once the ball is released, much like a tennis player getting ready to return a high-speed serve. Some research has indicated that most top-level players move their back foot first as part of, or the whole of their prelim' movement (back foot across, or back and across slightly towards off stump). The player will then press off that (repositioned) back foot to come forward, or push off the front foot and reposition the backfoot again in relation to the line of the ball to execute a backfoot shot. The other method often used by top players is to go back and across with the backfoot, and also then move the front foot also in the same manner, meaning a 1-2 movement where both feet are involved in the prelim'. Some players also use a forward press, whereby the front foot is the only foot to be moved forwards.
At this time of year, during preseaon, it is vital for any player to understand if they have a preliminary movement (be it natural or manufactured). The first thing to think about when considering a prelim' is WHY? It shouldnt be coached by default. Some players are more comfartable staying still, and reacting to the ball. This would seem the simplist approach. However, some players feel the need to use a prelim' to get tempo into their movement and to prepare to reaact quickly (especially to fast bowling).
Common Faults for a preliminary movement are:
* Moving too late. You must finish the sequence of the prelim BEFORE the ball is released. Alastair Cook, the England opening batsmen is demonstrating this fault in the present series versus Sth Africa.
* Moving too much. This can lead to being off-balance at the critical time. Kevin Pieterson moves alot but he is balanced and in a strong position at the critical moment.
* Incorrect head position, being off balance. You must complete your prelim' in a balanced manner, able to move effiectively both forward and back.
* I would recommend incorporating moving your back foot as the first or only part of the sequence
* Make the prelim' as minimal movement as possible. Just enough to load up the muscles, ready to 'fire'.
* Make sure you are still and balanced at the point of release
* Practice it until it becomes natural, and automatic
* Adjust your guard accordingly if necessary
* Decide whether you are going to use the same prelim' if any against spin bowlers