HIT IT FOR SIX
Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn is known for his ability to hit sixes. The Australian one-day and T20 player lit up BBL05 with his consistent display of power hitting. His performance reached its peak with a stunning feat of five consecutive sixes off Melbourne Stars bowler Ben Hilfenhaus in January. After overcoming serious shoulder injuries earlier in his career, Lynn can now lay claim to being one of the world’s best strikers of a cricket ball. We talked to the 26-year-old about how he trains for six-hitting, the physical preparation that goes into generating explosive power, and how his approach to playing cricket has changed over the course of his career.
“Cross-training is a big one for me. I used to play a lot of rugby league when I was a kid. I believe I have a strong core, which obviously helps when trying to swing a big, heavy bat. Cross-training definitely gave me an advantage in hitting the ball over the blokes who have only really played cricket.
“A lot of the gym guys like to do the basic sort of stuff. I try and make my gym exercises specific for batting. Instead of a slow bench press or push-up, I like to throw the bar up, and do things like clap push-ups. I want get that velocity in the gym and train for fast, powerful movements, working on those fast-twitch fibres. That’s something I’m very big on, whether it’s a medicine ball, throwing it as hard as you can on the ground, or a medicine ball push, throwing it as hard as you can and exploding through it. Everything you do on a cricket field is explosive.
“There’s no point in me doing a slow squat or a slow bench press. I’ve got to try and hit a ball at 140km/h – you’re not going to do that with slow movements. So I want to hit the ball as hard as I can and react to the type of delivery as well. It also means I don’t have to hit the ball as hard; I just have to time the ball, as I’m already hitting it well enough to reach the fence.”
“In the nets, I try to hit the ball as hard as I can along the ground to start with ... it reduces the risk of a wicket. Then once you get into your innings, you’ve got your mindset of, wherever they pitch the ball, whether it’s full or short, you’ve got your game plan and just commit to that totally.
“Everything I do on the cricket field, I just commit 100 percent. That’s one thing I have to do, otherwise I fail. If I pull back on a ball or shot, that’s when I get myself in trouble. And I reckon these are keys: one, backing yourself and two, getting that power though the ball. It’s about utilising your whole body, not just your forearms, but actually using your legs and core strength to hit the ball further and harder.”
“I’m not a big one for long training sessions. I generally just like to get in and get what I need. Because we are playing cricket 12 months a year now, they’re not massive sessions, just top-up, feel-good sessions. My longest-ever net would be 35 to 40 minutes. After that time I believe you’ve faced enough balls; you train with bad habits after that period of time.
“I used to bat three different ways. But last year in Shield cricket I batted with one-day and T20 intent – because they’ve got aggressive fields, it’s easier to score; the fielders aren’t on the boundary. I’m one for visualising there is a deep mid-off, a deep cover, or a deep square leg, and hitting out for a strong single, as you would in a T20 or one-day game ... Instead of getting one, I get four. So visualisation is something I use.”
ROUTINE IS KING
[On hitting those five consecutive sixes] ... “I felt at that stage I could hit every ball, so why don’t I go through my routines, keep my head still, foot straight down the wicket. Do all that and back myself ... and most importantly I was having fun. I never show too much emotion because I know it’s a just game. That’s great, but no point carrying on mid-game.
“When the bowler is at the top of his mark, I have my routines – I look around the field and generally get a feel where they are going to bowl.
I always play every ball on its merits, so if they bowl the same ball twice and you’ve already hit the first ball for six, why can’t you do it again?
“That’s when I talk about backing myself and having that confidence and consistency in my routine ... that’s what went through my mind. The best sportsmen back themselves, but they’ve also got their routines. I watch Rafael Nadal, for example. It might be five-all in the fifth set but he’s doing the same routine as he’s done the first game of the match.”
“It’s great for the game. The bats are big, but heavier. A lot of guys use two-pound nine, two-pound ten bats. Mine’s a two-twelve, two-twelve and a half. Bowlers are allowed to bowl a bouncer, but I’ve also got to swing this heavy bit of willow ... I’ve actually cut a half-inch off the bottom of my bat, so automatically its shorter, but you can fit more wood into the blade.”
ADVICE FOR SIX-HITTERS
“Try and hit every ball back at the sightscreen. Use the full face of bat. If you are thinking straight first, you can adjust 360 degrees. Also, be consistent at training, as well as with your attitude, routines and body language.”