Technique vs Basics

A coach may not recognise the importance of separating these terms and could easily dismiss them as unimportant. Understanding them though, can sometimes be the difference between success and failure for a player.

Technique is the method used to play a stroke, bowl a delivery and field, catch or throw a ball. Technique is what is practiced in the nets. Technique is developed by long hours of practice and fine tuning to master a batting stroke, etc. Technique should be so developed in the practice sessions that it occurs without conscious thought; it eventually becomes automatic. Many coaching manuals detail these techniques and they must be mastered if a player is to succeed.

Basics are those things which, like the mortar in a brick wall, hold everything together. The Basics are the things that the player has to actually think about, those things which cannot be placed on automatic. An example of a batting basic is "watch the ball out of the bowler's hand". A batsman doesn't have time to think about technique in a game, but he must watch the ball. In each section of this manual I will make a point of differentiating the techniques from the basics.

All players, irrespective of age or ability, must practice technique, but in a game they must simply DO the basics. Just think of the possible disasters that await the batsman who thinks about technique as the ball comes down the pitch. By the time he's thought about where his foot should be, his stumps are flattened.

Perhaps this notion might just emphasise the importance of practice sessions. What are you actually trying to achieve when you go to practice? Well the answer to that question might now be a little more obvious than a few minutes ago: You are trying to make your techniques automatic, so that you can trust them in a game and devote your entire concentration to the basics.

I hope I have made my point, I believe it is a vital one. Many cricketers have no idea why they go to practice, they swing the bat wildly in the nets or consistently bowl no balls, bouncers and wides or jog around the ground getting fit; well practice has a purpose and that purpose must be recognised and the opportunities should not be wasted.

Adapted from Cricket Skills, by Frank Tyson and John Harris