The art of batting in the game of cricket is one of last-minute decisions and rapid reflexes. Once the basic skills of grip and stance have been attained, it is vital for the batsman to practice a wide range of shots. To perfect these shots, the batter needs to be drilled on striking the ball with varied power, moving around in the crease and directing the shots.
Every time the batter strikes the ball the ultimate aim is to drive it out for as many runs as possible. This takes power, and the only real way to develop and maintain power is to practice. A standard power batting drill takes place in the batting nets. The batsman aims to hit every ball delivered by the bowler with full power. Watching the ball from the bowler's hand right onto the bat and having the flat edge moving into the line of the ball's movement produces the optimal strike.
Sometimes the speed of the bowl is such that the batter has no chance of successfully powering it away. In this case, the batter needs to just stop the ball and keep it from striking the stumps behind him. Just like with power shots, to practice soft hits the batter works a drill in the nets and tries to take as much momentum as possible out of every bowl presented. This is generally achieved by angling the blade of the bat downward and driving the ball into the ground.
Once the ball is in the air heading toward the batter, there is not much time to make a decision. Quick, decisive movements with the feet to get into a batting position are vital. A drill to practice this takes place in the batting nets. The batter has to alternate hitting the ball either to the left or right, no matter where the ball is bowled. This forces the batter to adjust foot placement and body stance quickly. To increase the drill challenge, the batter can also alternate between ground and air drives.
Part of the skill of batting is making sure the ball is hit safely and not caught by a fielder. This often means that the batter has to guide the hits so that the ball slips between gaps in the fielder placements. The drill to practice this includes markers being set out in the field several feet apart and the batter trying to hit each bowled ball between the markers. Several sets of markers can be set up to offer alternate targets, and narrower gaps can be created to increase difficulty.