Almost all elite cricketers have a pre-delivery movement or a ‘trigger’ movement but why do so many feel it’s the correct thing to do rather than simply standing still? If we look at the benefit of having that movement it may answer that question. Many players believe that by having the trigger it gives them some momentum into their secondary movement and to be balanced at the point of release. I believe that the fundamental reason is to buy the batter more time or at least give the illusion of that. This is fine providing the player can regularly practice the trigger, because the timing of this is vital. Imagine doing something for half an hour in training and expect it to become second nature immediately.
If the trigger is performed early the batter may feel they are too stationary and if they perform it late, they reduce the time available to move again. Inconsistencies of movement size can put the players feet in the wrong position which can bring problems with balance. This could lead to the head falling to the off-side blocking off the leg side or restricting the batter’s movement toward the ball. If you as a player find yourself ‘short’ of the ball regularly this could be the reason. Try then to make your movement sooner.
Another major factor to consider is the type of bowler that you are facing. Generally, the rule of thumb is back and across with the trigger vs seam and forward pressing against spin. The main reasons for this are the illusion of time that you create. By moving backwards slightly and into a consistent position the player will have created an extra split second of time that the ball must travel, this in turn can bring confidence to the player. Against spin the batter generally will be moving forward onto the front foot or even advancing down the track, so the initial forward movement creates momentum into the primary step. Other forms of trigger movement are to widen the stance by moving your back foot back and your front foot forward slightly to increase the size of your base, this can however lead to feeling stuck at the point of delivery. If you’re not looking to move but to feel some momentum some players will chose to tap both feet on the spot in order to ready yourself for clear footwork.
Whatever you decide to do it needs to be consistent. Consistent timing, size and direction of movement to reduce the variation in head position. After all the head needs to be still at the point of delivery with your eyes level. If you can’t perform this movement the same every time in a way that benefits you and you are still struggling, then go back to basics and try standing still.
WD & PL
A Leading Edge is a series of educational cricket books written and illustrated by Patrick Latham and Wesley Durston. Their first book, ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’ is now available on Amazon as well as in a range of independent bookshops around the UK.