Pitchvision Academy
Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


This week's newsletter goes from world-class to bottom of the class. Well, almost.

At the world class end Gary Palmer looks at the common traits of the world's best batsmen. At the other end, we examine how the double bouncing ball is coming into vogue as a bowling variation.

Along the way we also look at bad coaches and discover what all the fuss around 'strengthening' Stuart Broad is about.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

9 traits of world-class batsmen that anyone can copy

Batting coach Gary Palmer passes on his observations about how the great batsmen play, and how you can copy them.

Viv Richards. Sachin Tendulkar. Ian Botham.

All of these men are greats of the game. I've seen them bat over the years, often standing at the non-strikers end, and I have noticed several common technical points with them and other exceptional batsmen.

Now that I'm a coach I consider these traits non-negotiable for any player who wants to be a successful batsman against good quality bowling.

1. Stance

The front shoulder is slightly open, eyes are level. The head is in line with the stumps at the bowlers end and slightly forward of the body.

2. Backswing

The back swing goes back over off stump. The elbow of the bottom hand points towards the stumps.

Aligning the elbow like this stops the bottom hand being too dominant and aligns the forearms towards the ball so that the bat swings in a straight line for the maximum amount of time.

3. Head position when driving

The head is forward of the front foot when driving or defending the ball along the ground in the V between extra cover and midwicket.


4. Point of contact

When driving, make contact with the ball slightly forward of the front foot but under the eyes. This encourages leaning in to the shot.

Lean towards the ball predominately with the head not the shoulder to stay open and balanced.

Let the ball come, giving more time and wider variety of options of where to hit the ball.

5. Back foot heel

Defend and drive the ball off the front foot with the heel of the back foot raised. This allows leaning in to the shot to hit the ball on the ground.

A raised heel means the head is forward of the body and in a great position to play the drives and forward defence.

The head is forward of the front foot when driving or defending the ball along the ground

Demonstration of the forward head position and back foot heel off the ground

6. Back foot turn

When playing straight and towards mid on back foot is 'turned in' and the toes are pointed up the wicket towards very straight mid off. This gives better balance, alignment and overall access to the ball.

7. On drive position

When playing the on drive, take a smaller stride and place the front foot down the line of leg stump, this gives you good balance and alignment to play the shot. Only place your front foot outside the line of leg stump if you are improvising for quick boundaries.

8. Checked drive

Finish all drives and defence with high hands and leading elbow in the check drive position. This means the bat swings in a straight line through the ball towards the target area. The full face of the bat will be presented towards the ball for the maximum amount of time. This will lengthen the 'hitting zone' with minimum risk of getting out.

Demonstration of the straight drive check drive position with high hands and  front elbow. Also note the back heel off the ground with the toe pointing down the wicket.

9. Bat speed

Don’t try to swing the bat too fast through the line of the ball when driving straight. This compromises technique. Focus on timing the ball by swinging the bat with a rhythmical flow so that technique is maintained.

For video, worksheets and coaching drills to improve batting get Gary Palmer's online coaching course How To Play the Perfect On, Off and Straight Drive

Discuss this article with other subscribers

10 Ways to bowl faster from Ian Pont

There is not much that is more satisfying for a seam bowler than steaming in, beating the batsman for pace and seeing the stumps cart wheeling back.

If anyone knows how to tease that extra pace out of you it's Ian Pont: Who has coached at Essex, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire, as well as the Netherlands national team and been an ECB National Skills Set Coach.

Ian's secrets are outlined in his excellent online course here. While I highly recommend you pick up a copy, Ian has agreed to impart a few of his fast bowling secrets for nothing.

  1. While you need a certain amount of natural ability to be able to bowl at 90mph, everyone can improve on their natural bowling speed no matter how fast they are.
  2. Imagine you are bowling in a railway track. This will help you run-up straight, keep your weight moving in a straight line in your action and follow-through straight. If it doesn't go at the batsman, then change it!
  3. Your non-bowling arm is far more important than your bowling arm. Use it properly by driving it out and down so it passes your side. When you do this properly, it will accelerate your bowling shoulder and help increase speed. Some have argued that this can stop genuine swing happening, so take care if you rely on traditional swing.
  4. Keep your elbows and arms pumping in as you run up and load up into your action. Nothing throws your momentum and straight lines off like unnecessary side-to-side movements. Keeping your action tight helps you to control the release of the ball.
  5. Start your run up leading with your arm. This drives force down your body and into the ground for greater speed. Drive your arms fast in short a short pumping action which will force you forward faster.
  6. Make sure you fully rotate your shoulders on completion of action. If you have a name on your back imagine you are going to show it to the batsman when you finish. This will help you think about how much of a shoulder turn you're aiming for
  7. Try to drive your chest through the crease just before you let the ball go. The sensation is that of being pulled forward by the batsman with a big rope attached to your chest. This gets you as far in front of the ball as possible and increases arm pull and speed of the arm
  8. At the point of delivery, your hips and nose will be facing the batsman. If your bowling hip is lazy it will lag behind thus dropping your speed. If your nose isn't facing the batsman, your head is probably falling away. The hips are the powerhouse of your body. Get them in the right position
  9. Try not to throw your non-bowling arm too high as it gets you off balance and affects your timing. Remember, you're trying to go forwards, not up and down.
  10. Your bowling arm starts to bowl from the downswing, which is close to your bowling side hip. Getting your bowling hand into this position quickly from your load-up helps you improve your speed and timing.

To learn the drills and techniques for fast bowling success buy the online coaching course "How to Bowl Faster" on PitchVision Academy and get instant access.


Can you use this banned delivery to get more wickets?

It's the ball that either takes a great deal of skill or a total lack of it.

And it's been banned in English county cricket, but crucially not by the Laws making it a legal ball in club and school cricket.

It's the double-bouncing ball.

Origins of the double-bouncer

Anyone who has played a questionable standard knows the double bouncing ball well. It's the hallmark of the occasional or beginner player. Also see: black trainers.

Some people think it is a no ball. However, Under Law 24.6 of the game the ball is permitted to bounce twice and only becomes a no ball on the third bounce.

Nevertheless, tradition dictates that the batsman smashes the filth to the boundary.

Tradition also dictates that such a ball is also a wicket-taker as the astounded batsman doesn't know how to deal with it. He swings to early and missed it altogether or hits it up in the air.

I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that was the genesis of the idea developed by the Warwickshire bowling coach Graham Welch: To bowl one deliberately in T20 cricket.

The killjoys at the English Cricket Board quickly banned it in the county game; despite the MCC (the official lawmakers) saying it's a perfectly acceptable bowling variation.

Is it a ball to develop?

What that means is the double-bouncing ball is still legal in most games.

So should you try and bowl it as a variation at the death or in Twenty20?

It would certainly be fun to try, but it wouldn't be easy to do on purpose as there is not much margin for error.

The first bounce must be dead on. If it's too short you end up with three bounces (and a no ball). If it's too full it's a long hop that a fielder has to retrieve from the pavilion roof.

The ideal would be a ball that reaches the batsman at yorker length on the 2nd bounce and hitting the stumps. It would be coming very slowly compared to your normal delivery but because of the length would be hard to hit.

the perfectly legal double bouncing ball - should you bowl it?

As a shock ball at the end of an innings it's hard to fault. At the right, pace, length and line it is very hard to hit and very easy to get out to.

But don't head out to the nets just yet.

It would take quite some work to perfect as getting it wrong is a disaster.

My question to you would then be, if you are working on a shock variation, wouldn't a more traditional inswinging yorker or slower ball be just as effective against the standard of batsman you are up against?

I would guess in most cases, the answer is 'yes'.

In my mind perfecting a yorker would be easier and just as effective, and something I would encourage anyone I coach to work on first.

But if you are going to work on the double bouncer (and I applaud you if you do, cricket needs such ridiculousness) then don't just try it in a match. Take a box of balls to the nets, mark your target area with flat discs and get to work.

You will be at it a while.

But let's not just get my opinion. After all, I'm a 'keeper who has never bowled a ball in a competitive match at any level.

What are your thoughts on the double-bouncing ball?

Have you tried it? How did it go? Are you prepared to practice it?

Leave a comment or chat to us through facebook.

If you enjoyed this article, don't forget to get the free email newsletter every Friday packed with more coaching tips and advice.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Do you recognise these 5 bad coaching styles in your junior section?

This is a guest article from an anonymous coach with many years experience at club level.

Every week during the cricket season an army of volunteers go out to do duty in running junior club cricket.

Without them clubs could not function. However, not all of these helpers are helping.

Strengthen up like Stuart Broad and Steven Finn

If you need proof that cricket is changing, look no further than English fast bowler's Stuart Broad and Steven Finn.

The pacemen were the first to openly miss competitive cricket to improve their strength and conditioning, showing how important fitness has become, especially to young fast bowlers.

If you have lofty fast bowling ambitions, should you follow their lead?


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


Take a tour
Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 103
Date: 2010-06-18