Pitchvision Academy
Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


One of the hallmarks of a good side is that it places specialists in a wide range of fielding positions. This works because players can practice the specific skills they need.

So to help out with getting your team filled with specialists, we start a series this week. The first in the series is about slips with more positions to come in later newsletters. Keep your eyes peeled.

We also look at the importance of your personality in becoming a success, think about becoming a leg spinner and ask you your thoughts on team roles.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Specialist fielding: Slips

In the slips you are always in the game.


Catch the nicks that come and the bowlers will love you forever. Put even the hardest chance down and be prepared for long stares from everyone in the side: There is no hiding place and no respite.

Even when nothing has come to you all day.

Slip configurations

As the slip position covers a wide area there are several ways to lay out the slip cordon:

  • One slip: A single slip is common with spinners or seamers who are moving to a more defensive field but are still hoping for an edge. Seamers who tend to move the ball in towards the batsman and have close catchers on the leg side have just one slip even in attack.
  • Two slips: This is a very common configuration in club cricket early in the game where wickets are needed and so a wider area needs to be covered for the catch. It's often combined with a gully fielder.
  • Three slips: Quicker bowlers, or medium pacers on the attack can add an extra slip if there is enough carry. Gully is better employed at third slip in many cases.

Of course you can have no slips in defence or more than three slips, although the latter is rare enough that you probaly will not see it in your games. So you don't need much practice beyond third.

Where to stand at slip

When it comes to deciding where to stand in the slips, some basics are:

  • Take your cue from the wicket-keeper. First slip stands a little way back from the keeper, second slip will be roughly level
  • Stand arms length away from the 'keeper or other slips.
  • In general stand a bit too close rather than a bit too far away. It's better to learn to react fast to an edged drive than to see a defensive edge drop short.
  • On very slow and low pitches you may find that the slips have to come closer than orthodox to make sure edges carry. Here you may see second slip in front of the keeper and first slip almost level.

In modern times, wider, or staggered, slips have been used to try and cover a wider area.

Here the fielder stands wider than the orthodox position to try and cover more area. For example, if you have an athletic keeper who can dive in front of slip to take catches, the slip can move wider. The risk here is that the ball will be edged between the slips so your fielding needs to be even better.


Perhaps the most important part of slip fielding is your ability to stay focused.

You may field for 50 or more overs with nothing coming to you then on the last ball of the day you get a difficult chance. You need to have to concentration to be focused on every ball.

It would be impossible to stay laser-focused the entire day, so the secret is to concentrate hard as the bowler is about to bowl the ball, stay alert until the ball is dead then relax between balls. The good thing about slip fielding is there is always someone to chat to between balls. The less this chat is about cricket, the better you concentrate when you have to switch back on.

There is some debate about what you focus on in the slips. The standard advice is to watch the ball if you are fielding at first and watch the edge of the bat if you are fielding wider. This is not hard and fast rule though, so experiment with both in practice to see what is most comfortable for you and gives you the best reaction time.

Ways to practice

Slip fielding is crucial to a team's success so a good coach will pick out the fielders most likely to be slips and make sure they are getting the right practice.

You can do this with a series of fielding drills designed to replicate slip catching like this one and this one.

In an ideal world you will do some kind of catching drill every day. More realistically, every practice session needs the potential slips to go away on their own for a few minutes and focus on getting catching right. Make the practice as realistic as possible. It's good to practice catching when tired or under a game situation with an outcome (best catcher wins a prize for example).

Slip catching is specialist because such long periods can go by without a slip being required but every chance that arrives is golden. Practice it until your hands hurt and it becomes second nature.

This is part of the specialist fielding series of articles, for the full list of fielding positions covered click here.

image credit: Sarah Canterbury 

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Why personality is essential to better cricket

“Cricketing excellence lies beyond physical talent. Sporting success emanates from the whole person within – his temperament, emotional make-up, thinking ability and even prejudices.” Frank Tyson once wrote.

Sometimes we use shorthand and call this ‘character’ or ‘attitude’.  I like to think of it as the way you see the world, at least in cricketing terms.

Everyone has a different outlook.

And success depends totally upon this view because everything starts there.

If you think working on technique is a waste of time you are not going to practice hard enough and you will never get in the 10,000 hours required to master your skill.

If you give up when you make a mistake instead of steeling yourself you are going to make more errors. This approach is bad enough for fielding and bowling but it’s fatal for the batsman who never gets a second chance.

But because everyone is different you can’t create a copybook for personality.

And anyway, why would you? Cricket is as much about individuality as it is runs and wickets. That’s why it’s such a fun sport to play.

Play up to your personality

What you can do is play the way your personality lets you.

Maybe you are the extrovert who loves to be the centre of attention. What better way than doing that to become the star of the side and gain the adoration of your team-mates?

You just need to put in the hours of practice to make sure you are the best.

Maybe you are a batsman who loves to put bat on ball and can dispatch bowling to all parts with big hits. How much more fun would it be doing that if you also had a solid defence and judgement of length that allowed you to stay in longer?

In these examples, players are using their basic personalities to help them get better at playing cricket. This is different from the usual idea that talent in sport leads to better character.

It’s the other way around: If you draw deeply from the well of character then talent follows on automatically.

What’s your cricketing personality and are you making the most of your unique combination of traits?

Leave a comment and let us know.

image credit: ufopilot 

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show 93: Adrian Shaw on how to have an outstanding season

PitchVision Academy Cricket ShowHaving a successful club season doesn’t just happen by luck.

Take Neath Cricket Club in South Wales, captained and coached this season by PitchVision Academy coach Adrian Shaw. Despite losing senior players and being forced to bring in inexperienced youngsters, his side are riding high in Division 1.

So what is his advice to others who want to replicate this success in their clubs?

I caught up with Adrian and quizzed him about a variety of topics including:

  • How to build up a good team spirit
  • What tactics to use when developing players
  • How do you know when a player is ready to take the step up?
  • How important is coaching at club level?
  • How to take a lot of stumpings 

If you like Adrian's idea, why not find out more about them in his online coaching course The Game Plan: How to Build A Winning Cricket Team


How to listen to the show

You can download the show onto your computer by right clicking on the link below and choosing "Save Target as..."

You can also subscribe to the show for free:

Subscribe to the show in Itunes

Click here to subscribe in iTunes.

If you don't use iTunes You can add the feed manually.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

How easy is it to change cricket skills?

Don't tell anyone, but I have a little dream.

I dream of taking up leg spin. I admire the art and, frankly, you can go on a lot longer bowling spin than you can wicketkeeping.

Ask the Readers: What is your role?


What is your role in your cricket team? Leave a comment in the comments section to discuss it.


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: 113
Date: 2010-08-27