Is Bailey's Batting Stance Actually Bizarre?
Everyone is talking about #GeorgeBailey and his unconventional Batting stance/technique. A lot of what we have read and has been said is something that has become all too common in cricket circles... "It's not the way it's been done for 100 years"... “It’s the same people that keep marching out “foot to the pitch of the ball”, “head over it” and “high elbow” despite the evolution of the game and the technical changes and advancement of the modern player.
So our elite, YoungGun coaches have actually looked into the mechanics of the technique to perhaps dissect why Bailey has looked for an unconventional solution to a common issue.
If you would like to understand the why and the shift away from traditional technique you can find our analysis here…
First and foremost, our issue with most of the discussion about Baileys stance is the fact that many people are per-occupied with the unorthodox stance and haven’t focused on the position he gets himself into at release of the ball and at moment of impact.
Despite the unorthodox starting position, Bailey actually moves into a very strong position that’s offers balance, a strong foundation to initiate movement in response to length and line of ball and allows him to engage and move his head and hands in the direction he wants to hit the ball.
Instead of focusing on this, many people have got “lost” in the unorthodox technique and not the result – unfortunately it’s a common occurrence in cricket circles. Anything other than technique out of the Lords Coaching Handbook must be flawed and won’t stand up to the rigours of cricket at the highest level. Think Katich, Chanderpaul and Steve Smith.
We dived into the archives to find a reason why George Bailey may have adopted something unorthodox as a solution to an orthodox issue that has been around as long as the game itself. Batters heads falling across dragging hands outside the eye line and creating a position of instability at moment of hitting the ball.
The top image of each photo shows George Bailey edging to first slip in January 2014, the bottom images are of him on Wednesday night against South Africa.
PICTURE 1 (BOWLER’S GATHER)
PICTURE 2 (POINT OF RELEASE)
Photo's 1 and 2 show Bailey as the bowler gathers and at point of release. Photo 3 we take point of release and break it down. His head is now 8 degrees closer to the midline of his front foot. Further to that, the line of his hips now points directly down the wicket as opposed to 2014 when he was more front on, with his hips pointing wide of mid-on.
PICTURE 3 (HIP ALIGNMENT AND HEAD TO TOP HAND ANGLE @ POINT OF RELEASE)
Picture 4 depicts the angle between the midpoint of Bailey's head and the line of his top hand at point of impact. You can see that there is a 35 degree difference from 2014 to 2018 with Bailey's hands significantly further inside the line of his left eye against South Africa on Wednesday evening.
PICTURE 4 (HEAD TO TOP HAND ANGLE AT POINT OF IMPACT)
Picture 5 addresses the angle between left shoulder and left hand at point of impact. It's very easy to say that Bailey was squaring up in 2014 but it is important to understand why this is. You can see that there is a 10 degree difference from 2014 to 2018 and the decrease in angle can be contributed at some level to the part of Bailey's body which leads at the ball. In 2014 his hands push away from his body causing his right shoulder and subsequently his right hip to 'square up' towards the bowler. Whereas in contrast, the clip from 2018 shows Bailey leading with his head and left shoulder to the ball, resulting in a much 'tighter' position at point of impact.
PICTURE 5 (LEFT SHOULDER TO TOP HAND ANGLE AT POINT OF IMPACT)
Finally picture 6, this highlights the position of head, hands and back foot at point of impact. The biggest takeaway from this is the stability of Bailey's back foot from 2014 to 2018. The ability to be still allows for a much greater weight transfer towards the ball and thus allows him to control the execution of his shot with much greater effect.
PICTURE 6 (HIGHLIGHT OF HEAD, HANDS AND BACK FOOT AT POINT OF IMPACT)
In Summary it’s very simple. And its reflective of the shift in modern cricket coaching and why some coaches and experts have chosen to evolve with the game and challenge traditional thinking rather than accept “that’s just the way it’s always been”
Modern batting is about movement. Movement and weight transfer from a very solid base of stability and balance. Rather than feet movement and putting your foot to the pitch of the ball, we now encourage the head as the heaviest part of the body to initiate movement with the foot finding a position of balance.
When a batter transfers their weight to find a position of stability, their head and hands go to where they want to hit the ball and their feet have found a position of balance – they are now in a better position to control the process of hitting the ball. The better position also directly relates to the better decision.
After all cricket is a decision making game.
George Bailey has made an adjustment to put himself in the best possible position to make good quality decisions and execute skills that most of us only dream of possessing.