The Bradman Phenomenon
by Tony Shillinglaw and Brian Hale
8 - The Essence of Don Bradman's Batting
1. Bradman:- "My entire cricketing experience has been a practical one."
2. The immediate and sustained manner of Bradman's scoring reveals the fundamentals of his unique style of play were in place by the age of ELEVEN.
3. Bradman's 'Farewell to Cricket' page 10. Golf ball and stump 'Test Match' games.
"This rather extraordinary and primitive idea was purely a matter of amusement, but looking back over the years I can understand how it must have developed the co-ordination of brain, eye and muscle which was to serve me so well in important matches later on."
"I would counsel every boy who is interested in batting to play with a ball at every opportunity. Whether it be a golf ball, tennis ball, baseball or any other kind it does not matter. It will help train the eye and co-ordinate brain, eye and muscle."
4. Greg Chappell:- "The brain is a better cricketer than you will ever be." (Except in Bradman's case )
"Understanding the core principles of motion as they apply to natural human movement, not technique, is what makes successful cricketers."
Jack Hobbs:- "I learnt to appreciate the grace, beauty, swing and rhythm of stroke play and, above all, balance."
CB Fry:- "Batting should become a subconscious, unconscious habit."
Walter Hammond:- "A good shot is one which controls the ball."
Herein lies the essence of Bradman's success:- Having unwittingly assimilated such truisms 'As One' while a boy at play, nature itself had instigated the wherewithal for the combination of mind, bat and body to gain synchronized control over the erratic fast moving golf ball in a single and repetitive 'Human Action'. Through practice it appears Bradman evolved this high skill into the 'Continuous Rotary Batting Process' he found necessary to meet the requirements of run making at cricket's 22 yards. From a still and balanced stance, experimentation suggests he would simply and automatically have repeated this same instinctive and distinctive batting formula ball by ball, match by match and season by season throughout a long career played on uncovered pitches.
By adopting the 'Core principles of motion as they apply to natural human movement' all evidence confirms instinct and application led Don Bradman towards the most efficient run scoring technique yet devised. (Dick Fosbury:- "My mind wanted me to get over the bar and intuitively it figured out what was the most efficient way.")
5. Bradman:- "In general I think many coaches stifle the natural abilities of young players by rigidly insisting that they do not move until the ball is delivered and that they adhere to a perpendicular bat with left hand control.
Movie strips of me batting indicate that I started my backlift before the ball was delivered and that the bottom of my bat was approximately level with the tops of the stumps at the instant of delivery. But let me hasten to say my backlift was rather towards second slip - not point as some suggest."
"I was never conscious that either hand was playing any special part in the initial movement. It was just a natural process."
"The sight of the ball seems to trigger off a corresponding reaction so that movement becomes almost a habit."
6. How much of batting is physical and how much is mental?
Bradman:- "I suppose a lot of it is mental, although that never intruded in my particular play. In other words, I didn't let the mental side of it worry me. I always had confidence in my own ability. If I made a mistake, I felt nine times out of ten it was a physical mistake and I tried to do something and I didn't get there in time. I was too slow or something like that. I am sure with a lot of players their mental attitude is terribly important. They imagine there are difficulties that are not really there."
Bradman was known to give little credence to the psychology of sport.
7. Ray Martin:- "Why don't others bat like you?
Don Bradman:- "I think it's because they are coached not to do it. It's a different technique."
"Cricket is the only game in the world you get marks for style."
8. Through adopting variations of accepted practice, cricketing history suggests the upper scoring limit of 'Test Match' players from all Nations and eras generally rests between a batting average of 50-60.
Bob Woolmer's 'Art and Science of Cricket' - "Biological factors alone cannot explain the difference between Bradman's 99-94. They do not differ by 30% between the very best and next best human in any particular activity."
9. The immediate aim is to encourage somebody of influence within the coaching fraternity to instigate and complete a full and proper official investigation into the form of development which led directly to the instinctive and repetitive fluidity of the 'Rotary' technique by which Bradman scored all those runs. Given the necessary understanding and acceptance, hopefully, his proven mode of play can finally be promoted and offered to batsmen as an additional method alongside the tenets of batting as they are presently taught.
10. A further task could be to produce a DVD which for the first time explains the origins and evolution of Don Bradman's "Continuous Rotary Batting Process" while demonstrating how his formula differs fundamentally from accepted orthodoxy.
"If somebody in my line of business was performing 66% better than the rest, I should want to know what they were doing and how they did so." (Peter Booth - Bootle CC)
a The Bradman Phenomenon
b Tendulkar - Bradman: A Clear Distinction of Method
c The Weight of Bats
d Don Bradman's ability to bat on and on
1 Bradman Revisited 2nd Edition - The Simplicity of Nature
2 Mind Game
3 Greg Chappell
4 Rotary Style
5 Why Misunderstood?
6 Continuous Rotary Batting Process
7 Final Chapter 2 - Nature's Way of Batting
Acknowledgements and Bibliography