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Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


The big news this week for cricketers is that the PitchVision Academy podcast is returning, but it’s nothing without your feedback so take a look at the first article to find out how you can tell us your cricket stories.

The rest of the newsletter is filled with more tips for you from short leg fielding to coaching drives with a detour through the idea of “overs under the belt” and what it really means.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

The podcast is back! Series 3 starting soon!

PitchVision Academy Cricket ShowSince we stopped doing the weekly PitchVision Academy podcast I’ve been constantly asked when it’s coming back.

The great news is that we are planning the new series right now and all the PitchVision audioheads can get their fix again very soon.

It’s a new format this time around but we will still have the core of cricket coaching advice from which the show became so popular. Plus a few more fun things that at the moment are top secret.

Get the show for free from iTunes or the feed.

Win free coaching

But to make this work we need your questions and feedback on a number of topics that we will be chatting about in the first show.

You can contact us in a number of ways:
Our contact email can be found here.

Use our twitter or facebook accounts.

Or you can call and leave a message (it’s an answer phone, not manned but we check it every day). If it’s a good story or question we will call you back for a chat.

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The best comment, story or question of the week wins free cricket coaching through PitchVision Academy.

So here are the new competitions for Series III of the Podcast:
  • Appeal of nations: Do you want to represent your country? Call us and leave your best 'Howzat!' appeal, your name and country you want to represent. Points awarded for volume,  length, exotic vocal timbre, agreession or desperation.
  • Most committed player: One person in PitchVision towers plays cricket with a man who travels 100 miles for his home games! Can you beat that? Who is the most committed player?
  • Everything changes: If you were in charge of your games, what would you change? Would you go Twenty20 or play 3 day matches? Fielding circle? Limited over? Every team must have a leg spinner? The choice is yours.
  • Epic Tea: They say that Lord’s do the best lunches and teas in cricket. You know different because the teas somewhere you play are heart stopping (in both excitement and fat levels). Let us know where you insist on bowling first, even in the searing heat, just to make sure you can fill your boots at the food break?
  • The show must go on: What’s the most disastrous start you have had to a game? Only got 6 players and one bat between them? Forgot your whites and had to play in blue tracksuit bottoms? What’s your story?
  • PitchVision Select XI: Do you want to be in the PitchVision team? We have 11 slots open for 5 batsmen, an all-rounder, a wicketkeeper and 4 bowlers. Phone or email and tell us why you should be selected. Being good isn’t enough. You need to tell us why you are a good team player.
  • That was unexpected: I once played a game where it rained the whole match apart from the first 3 overs at the start and the first over after tea. We played, bowled them out for 98, were cruising to victory at 92-5 and got bowled out with the last man run out going to tie the scores. What’s your most unexpected defeat or victory?
  • Ask the coaches: Want to know how to fix your cricketing problems? We can answer batting and bowling questions as well as give tips on the mental and fitness sides of the game.

Remember you can get in touch via answer phone, email, twitter or facebook. Your feedback will be used on the first show, so get it in fast and we can get recording!

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How to bowl like Andy Caddick

Despite playing his home games on one of the world's flattest pitches at Taunton, Andy Caddick took over 1,500 wickets, consistently topping the English averages.

Would you like to know how he did it?
He had just one secret.

And if you can master it, you are on the road to more wickets.

The secret was consistency.

Caddick knew that if he had an action that allowed him to bowl the ball in the same spot 5-6 times an over with enough pace he could reduce the chance of the batsman scoring and increase the chance of getting wickets through the ball swinging and seaming enough to get the batsman out caught behind, bowled or LBW.

But nobody is born with great consistency.

Even players like Caddick and Australian legend Glen McGrath had to work hard at being so accurate.

There were plenty of problems along the way and the road was never smooth.

But they keep practicing and bowling until they became metronomic and reliable with decent pace to boot.

But getting a consistent action is hard work. It's a complicated sequence of movements. Any technical or mental issues can upset the delicate balance.

Which is why, if you are serious about becoming a consistent bowler, you need the drills and advice found in Andy Caddick's online coaching course Consistency and Rhythm: Fast Bowling Technique.

In the course you will learn via videos, interactive content, articles and interviews the secret methods used by first class bowlers. This includes:

  • A detailed breakdown of the run-up for coaches and advanced players.
  • How to use your action to transfer pace onto the ball.
  • Little-known ways to correct poor technique in the action.
  • A series of first-class bowling drills to get the body in the right position for pace and accuracy.
  • Personal tips on the professional life, attitude, preparation and self-confidence.

To get instant access to Andy Caddick's online coaching course Consistency and Rhythm: Fast Bowling Technique click here.


Why coaches are teaching the wrong shot... or why the on drive comes first

Gary Palmer has been coaching batting for over 20 years and he knows how to do it right. In this article he discusses why the on drive is the easier shot to learn first.

What was the first drive you learned, or taught to someone else?

There is a fair chance it was the front foot off drive. The great looking signature shot of many great Test players.

But starting with the off drive is dangerous because it gets you into bad habits. It encourages your head towards the off side.

And yes, that’s a bad thing.

While we need to lean towards the off side and step slightly across the crease to play the perfect off drive but when it comes to teaching beginners how to play the various drives, it’s about as sensible as picking a 17 man squad for a Test match.

It’s not the way if you want to do it properly.

Learn the on drive first

Playing the on drive well is the secret of developing good balance, good alignment and an effective technique that allows you to play straight and develop an all-round technique.

This is because driving the ball well through mid on and straight, generally means you are well balanced and aligned as a batter.

So start with the on drive and then progress to the straight drive.

 That way you are playing two shots while your head remains in the same balanced position wicket to wicket. 

Because of this, playing straight will be very easy and will feel natural. This means good technique develops very quickly.

But the off drive isn’t lost.

Once the on and straight drive shots have been constructed, you can groove and develop the off drive which requires the player to make subtle adjustments of the head leading shoulder and backswing.

Learning the on drive

There is an old cliché that the on drive is the hardest shot to learn and play well.

But given the correct biomechanically sound technical advice, the on drive is an easy shot to play.

Plus it makes you a better player because makes it easier to play the swinging and turning delivery, especially the ball that comes back in to you. Playing the on drive well minimises the chance of a batter getting blocked off and playing around the front pad.

The key points are:
  • On the backlift, your bat aligns over off stump.
  • Your head aligns to the ball (not your shoulder)
  • As you step towards the ball your head position is exaggerated forward of the body.
  • As you step forward and lean in the back foot turns to point up the wicket to align the hips and give balance.
  • Take a shorter stride to help you get your head further forward than other drives. This will also help the back foot turn in slightly this aligning the hips. This short stride will help you let the ball come.
  • Your stride is short with your front foot down line of leg stump, no wider.
  • The front foot points up the wicket.
  • Strike the ball forward of your front pad with the heel of your back foot off the ground
  • Let the ball come under your eyes
  • Hit the shot with a dominant top hand
  • Finish with a check drive with high hands and high leading elbow.
  • Toe of bat should finish pointing at target area (mid on).

You can always spot a good player by the way they play the on drive.

Talented players are generally the ones that play the on drive well.

Good coaches coach this shot well.

Learning the off drive

Of course, we all want a good off drive too.

So once you are comfortable with your balance and alignment playing straight and through the on side, look to learn the small changes you need to make to off drive.

The key points are:
  • Your head moves towards the off side and aligns to the target area (off side). Note that the head now has moved from the neutral position of being wicket to wicket.
  • Your initial backswing, from over off stump, begins to re-align once you have decided to play an off drive. The backswing will now align from leg stump so that it swings in a straight line towards mid off.
  • Your front foot lands in a more sideways position. This ensures your head is supported over the ball of the front foot giving you good balance.
  • Your shoulder turns slightly more to play the off drive but it’s the head that aligns with the ball not the shoulder. The shoulder stays slightly leg side of the ball and target area to allow the bat to swing in a straight line to from backswing to mid off.

Remember though; if you learn the on drive first and master it, it will be easier to learn the off drive.

If you want a better on drive and more runs, get Gary Palmer’s online cricket coaching course. It’s available for instant access. Just click here

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Specialist fielding: Short leg

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

Overs under the belt: When is playing more important than practice?

In opposition to the traditionalist’s view of preparation, England’s bowlers prepare for the first Ashes Test of 2009-10 by skipping a warm up match.

Critics say that bowlers need competitive overs ‘under the belt’ rather than hours in the nets.

It’s a common quandary for those lower down the scale too.


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.


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Issue: 125
Date: 2010-11-19