NOTE on batting from Mark Atkinson:
‘To handle the situations which you face during a game, you must think clearly and sensibly. You will then be able to apply your skills in the best possible way to overcome the difficulties you face. You won’t get over these problems if you don’t think properly’ - Sir Garfield Sobers
In order to bat well you must think well! Better players make better decisions more often or in other words the thinking that drives successful batting involves making accurate decisions over time.
One of the most critical thinking tasks a batsman needs to undertake is to recognize both the controllable and uncontrollable elements that influence performance. Successful performers understand these differences and have a strong focus on controlling the controllable elements of their performance, as there is no point seeking to control what you cannot.
A major controllable element of a batsman’s game critical to his success is his thinking. Every ball you face is an opportunity to make a good or bad decision and in this sense a batsman’s thinking is a highly significant influence on his performance. If you think clearly and sensibly you are giving yourself your best chance of success and the cost of not clearly thinking is your effectiveness and success as a player.
My views on thinking for batting are very simple – there are only 3 decisions that you need to make:
- Defend – if the ball is hitting the stumps
- Leave – if the ball is missing the stumps and you can’t attack it safely
- Attack – if the ball is missing the stumps and you can attack it safely
In order to drive this process you need to watch the ball in order to have the information you need to make the best decision you can for each ball faced.
- Develop a simple batting plan that you know will work
- Practice executing your plan until you know your game intimately
- Relax and watch the ball
- Train how you play and treat your net sessions like a game – implement your plan – tactically and technically
- Enjoy the challenge of having to make a decision every ball – the better you become at this the more runs you will make.
- Develop a good technique that allows you to execute your plan – it’s no good having a plan if you can’t execute it at the technical level
- Enjoy the responsibility of having to make good decisions every ball