Balance: most important factor for athletes. While learning skills balance becomes paramount.
A child understands about balance when he learns to walk, or even talk.
In cricket a batsman’s technique should be measured by balance not footwork (one can score runs without any footwork,(FW) or defend without having FW). Similar with bowler’s & fielder’s technique should be measured by balance.
And when expert say ‘a certain batsman does not have great footwork’, ‘or he is not able to come in line with the ball…. Here, if the word “balance” is added, than everything falls into place, than there is a greater clarity in observing athlete’s deficiency.
Today many batsmen hardly move their feet to play a shot, either defensive, or attacking, or even while leaving the ball, yet they manage score runs and survive successfully. This I believe is to due to balance, that they manage to perform.
Now, how does one get balance?
I guess gravity control, or the force which can be limitedly controlled?.
Also, I reckon if one can adjust weight, space, time and volume, all to a certain degree.
In any sport balance is the most important factor for athletes. It can be imbibed in practice and in game play also.
Balance, Force, Gravity they all are related to each other. A boy learning to ride a bicycle, or toddler learning to walk…or in my case trying to play cricket inside a moving vehicle. In India, buses are the finest example to understand balance!.
Last year I wrote about batting technique : http://allthatcricket.com/?p=3525
In which i stressed footwork as secondary skill, now to make it more clearer and easy, I am adding the word “balance”!.
To conclude: can a batsman with poor defense be considered as a poor batsman?. No!
If a batsman can balance himself to play horizontal/vertical play than he has a sound technique.
A Defensive shot is not easy to play off the front foot, and quite simple off the backfoot. An attacking shot is not based on technique or grammar of batting. Its based on individual skill which initially started as a strategic plan. E.g few years back the reverse sweep/shot was a strategic plan, or tactic to score runs, now with regular usage, it has become a part of batsman’s range of skill.
So why do batsman fall prey to bad front foot defense?.
Lack of confidence, unable to see the length clearly, resulting in top hand(radar hand) getting weaker, and not in control, leading to bottom hand(power hand) inevitably getting tighter or extremely wobbly . Case of mastering the vertical bat position. The pad is good ally in front foot defense, effectively used as a guide.