How To Play The Back-Foot Drive And Defense Properly…
The back foot drive is an attacking shot which is played to a ball which has pitched short of a good length and which will probably bounce around stump high. You should try to hit the ball between mid on and cover and along the ground.
- Take your normal batting stance with your eyes level and remember to always stay relaxed to help you react quicker to the delivery. Once you’ve judged that the ball/delivery is suitable for a back foot drive, take your backswing and step backwards simultaneously.
- You should now have an established and well balanced base with your weight fairly evenly distributed over both feet, ideally it should be slightly forward on the front foot.
- Initiate your down swing ensuring that you bring your bat down straight (remember the drill with the two stumps?) and move your front leg backwards at the same time.
- Increase your bat speed into contact with the ball and swing it down and through the line of the delivery, keeping your elbow high and keeping control of the bat with your top hand. Try to follow through naturally, stay relaxed and well balanced at all times during the shot. Don’t try to hit the ball too hard, use the pace of the delivery to maximise the shots power.
The Back-footed Defensive
The back foot defence is a defensive shot, which is played in response to a ball of a good length or slightly shorter which is most likely to bounce and hit your stumps or come close to hitting them. You want to aim to just block the delivery and have it drop straight to the ground.
The main set up points are similar to those above so I won’t go through them again just for the sake of it!
The major differences are that you need to SLOW your bat speed into contact with the ball. You should swing your bat down and into the line of the delivery and aim to contact the ball beneath your eyes, remembering to always show the full bat face to the ball. Again try to stay relaxed and well balanced.
Having a relaxed grip with your bottom hand will help you drop the ball to the ground and not pop it up in the air.
The most common problems I see are that a batsmen is not getting into line with the ball and so might an edge to the wicket keeper or slips. A good tips to improve getting into line would be to initiate a trigger movement (a small foot movement) prior to delivery to help get the feet moving, which in turn should help you get into line.
Some batsmen have more than one trigger movement depending on their style and technique. I do two; I move my back foot about a few centimetres backwards and towards off stump and I move my front foot about a few cm’s forward, this helps me get into line and respond to a delivery quicker.
Another is playing with an overly strong bottom hand which can cause you to get caught. Try loosening your bottom hand or holding the bat with just your thumb and first two fingers in training to keep the ball on the ground (remember to keep your top and elbow high).