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How to Time a Cricket Stroke

Three Parts:FocusingAssuming Your StanceHitting the Ball

Batting is a matter of timing rather than brute force. Timing a ball isn't a mystery, but an acquired skill. Remain relaxed and focused. Be conscientious of your stance and keep your eye on the ball. Through practice and patience you can master the art of timing.

Part 1

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    Stay relaxed between balls. Maintaining a relaxed body, positive energy, and a focused mind between balls can significantly improve your timing when you step up to hit. Take deep breaths and release the tension in your shoulders while you await the next ball.[1] Let go of the fear of getting out and visualize yourself making a successful hit. Rest your bat between bowls and stay focused on the present.[2]
    • Find a routine that works best for you. Perhaps chatting with the umpire relaxes you and takes your mind off the expectations placed upon you.
    • Turn your concentration off between balls and when not on strike. No-one can concentrate for two hours non stop.
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    Repeat a mantra or complete a ritual. Routines can help get you into the correct mindset. When you step up to the crease, utter a phrase to yourself. “Keep your on the ball” is a common mantra. Other players complete a routine before assuming their stance in the crease, the place from which you will bat.[3] This routine may include kicking the bat with your feet or adjusting your clothes. Mantras and routines don’t need to make sense to anyone but you. This may seem silly, but a consistent routine can help put you in the right mindset to hit the ball.[4]
    • Often routines and mantras are picked up during your youth.
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    Step up to the crease and shift gears. A high level of mental focus is required when trying to time your hit perfectly. As you prepare for the bowl, keep your mind free from distractions. Forget past failures and try not to conjure up potential future failures. Focus on the present. Remain calm, relaxed and aware of your body.[5]

Part 2
Assuming Your Stance

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    Stand on the balls of your feet. Placing your weight on the balls of your feet prepares you to move quickly. Flexing your knees will transfer your weight from your heels to the balls of your feet. Avoid locking your knees or straightening your legs.[6]
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    Keep your eyes level. Your outside eye--left eye if you are a lefty and right eye if you are a righty--should remain level with your inside eye. This will allow you to clearly see the ball leave the bowler’s hands with both eyes. It also will ensure that the rest of your body remains open and squared to the ball--your shoulders will stay level and your hips will remain opened.
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    Raise your bat. Before you can raise your bat high like the professionals, you need to master your stance. Only raise your bat to a level that allows you to keep your knees bent, your eyes level, and your body open. Having great posture at the crease will improve your timing more than looking like a professional.[7]

Part 3
Hitting the Ball

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    Point your elbow at the bowler as he runs into bowl. This encourages you to play straight. You should aim to “rock the baby' with your elbows as you drive the ball, rather than slogging across the line.
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    Watch the ball. While the bowler runs at you, keep both eyes focused on the ball. Zoning in on the ball will allow you to better judge the ball’s speed.[8]
    • Focus your eye on a seam of the ball.
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    Begin the downswing of the bat. Your should complete the downswing slowly. A slow, steady downswing allows you to watch the ball longer. It will prevent you from playing the ball too early, thus enabling you to accelerate the bat through the ball as you hit it.
    • Sloggers swing hard and early, meaning they hit the ball too early and too slowly, spooning catches in the air.
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    Point your toes and lean into the ball as you hit it. With your knees bent and the weight on the balls of your feet, point your toes in the direction that you would like to hit the ball. You may choose to point your toe at the bowler as the batsmen of the “Golden Age” did. When your bat connects to the ball, transfer your body weight into the ball.
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    Uncoil your wrists. As the ball hits the bat, and not before, uncoil your wrists. This will add additional punch to the ball. This does not mean hitting everything to leg, you can throw your wrists to the off side as if you're playing a hockey shot.
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    Extend your arms. When cutting or hooking the ball, make sure your arms are fully extended. A cramped shot leads to a catch.
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    Hit the ball. You will hit the majority of balls along the ground. Of course, if you are trying to drive straight for a six, or score a run, you will hit the ball in the air and hope it goes over the boundary.[9]


  • Don't try to hit a six on every ball. Most batsmen try to do this but it will make you over-confident and there will be chances that you will be out.
  • Use your feet against spinners in defence as well as attack. You're much more likely to be stumped by inches than by yards.
  • When assessing the field before taking strike, always look for the gaps, never at the fielders. You'll subconsciously hit the ball into the gaps as a result.
  • Have a word which you say to yourself as the bowler is about to deliver to turn your concentration on. 'You're not going to get me out' or 'now' or 'be first'.
  • If you feel your concentration slipping, call for a drink, remark your guard and survive to the end of the over.
  • Don't try to hit the ball too hard or you will most likely miss it.
  • It's easier if you let the ball bounce before you hit it there's less chance of you missing it..
  • For fast bowlers, just give the ball direction by leaning forward and transferring the weight to the ball.
  • Keep a high elbow and do not let your shoulder drop.


  • If you're going to flash then, of course, flash hard!
  • If you're playing against a fast bowler then stand your ground unless you are sure you can crank it for a six or a four. This is because you would need precision timing and focus to hit a ball coming from a fast bowler.
  • Don't premeditate a shot, you can premeditate attack or defence as a principle, but never the actual shot to be played.
  • Don't try to change your technique in the middle of an inning. Always work on something different or constructive in the nets - instead of trying to slog everything - but stick to what you know in a game. If you've never reverse swept before then a cup match when your team is 20 - 3 isn't the time to first have a go.

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Categories: Cricket