Nick Webb explains: How do Hardik, Rohit, Rahul hit big sixes?

"Power hitting is multifactorial, and a combination of things can contribute to hitting the ball into the stands," says Nick Webb, former strength and conditioning coach of Team India.

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma

In this day and age, minimum effort leads to maximum output. You need not be a burly hitter to clear the fence, as shown by the likes of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul.   -  PTI

The question of who has hit the biggest sixes is one of great interest. Modern batters have primed their bodies to cope with the demands of T20 cricket, developing athleticism, explosive strength, and the stability to hit massive sixes.

In this day and age, minimum effort leads to maximum output. You need not be a burly hitter to clear the fence, as shown by the likes of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul.

"With them, core strength is a factor but it isn't the only determining factor. Power hitting is multifactorial and a combination of things can contribute to hitting the ball into the stands," says Nick Webb, former strength and conditioning coach of Team India. "Factors such as the timing of the ball (picking up release speed, line, length), hitting biomechanics (getting into the right positions), grip strength, hand speed, ability to produce and transfer force from your feet to the bat as quickly as possible, ability to powerfully rotate th through hips and or thoracic spine, balance in stance, and ability to anticipate bowlers plan all play a part."

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For instance, Rohit's pull shot is marked by an economy of movement, but the result is still maximum. The balance and timing behind the shots were on display in the third T20I against New Zealand in Kolkata, where Rohit brought out the pull shot in abundance against Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson.

Webb says the contributing factors to such power-hitting can be divided into three parts: "Physical ability: to support power-hitting (strength, mobility, rotational power, hand/wrist speed, etc), Technical ability: Getting into the most optimal and efficient power positions to leverage your physical ability to clear the rope and Decision-making: Ability to pick up, perceive, anticipate, take in information and respond appropriately and swiftly.

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"As strength and conditioning and performance coaches, we need to understand the theory and practical application of all contributing factors of power hitting. This way, we know how to assess and practically implement programs to support how players want to play their game – either hit it into the stands, hit/time the ball firmer, or in a worst-case scenario “miss-hit” the ball harder. We don’t do this in isolation but conjunction with the skills coaches."

As boundary-hitting comes to the forefront of batting strategies in T20s, embracing this high-risk and high-reward plan with time, experience, and targeted practice will become the primary grammar of the shortest format of the game.

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