Pitchvision Academy


This week’s bumper newsletter contains a bigger pile of tips than you can shake a stick at.

We find out a secret professionals have been keeping from club and school players, get some bowling tips for pace and leg spin, and show you how to make the most of the 15-18 age group player’s fitness.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

Revealed: The dirty little secret that makes the best fast bowlers

I hate to break it to you, but elite players are keeping secrets from you.

There is something the professional bowlers and coaches don’t tell you about being a stellar fast bowler.

Despite being in the public domain for all to see, it remains hidden from the minds of fast bowlers at club and school level.

It’s almost like this secret is so simple it can’t be true.

But it is.

And once you know it you are going to wonder why you believed anything else.

The back story

To understand this secret, let’s head to a typical gym.

You will see burly men lifting ridiculous weights (probably with bad technique). There are middle-aged women sitting on exercise bikes reading the latest glossy magazine. Perhaps you spot a stick-like teenage boy risking a few bicep curls and leg presses in the quest for a body beautiful.

There are no fast bowlers in there.

If you are lucky you may see one in the corner doing some press ups, sit ups and 20 minutes on the treadmill.

It seems a long way from taking 5 wickets in the grand final.

But hey, we are told fitness training is good for bowlers, so we go in there and slog it out. Hope springs eternal that we will get better.

We don’t know how or why, we rely on the ‘highly trained’ fitness instructors (read: guy with abs who did a weekend course 2 years ago and is working in the gym to pay for his designer shirts he wears to get the girls on a Saturday night).

Where are the professionals?

You won’t see a single professional cricketer doing those things in the gym.


Because the professionals have access to strength coaches and strength coaches are paid to get the best physical performance from their charges.

So they research and experiment. They have worked out what type of training gets the best results because their jobs rely on it.

They know what makes a bowler bowl faster. They know what stops a bowler getting injured.

The real secret

So what is the secret?

Well, bowling quickly is just a matter of physics. The more force you can generate the more you can put into the ball. That’s why there is a direct relationship between a bowler’s vertical jump and his or her bowling speed (the higher you can jump from a standing start the quicker you can bowl).

But force is not produced by going to the gym and doing 3 sets of 10 on every machine.

Force is produced by being strong.
And that’s the secret.

To be a fast bowler you need to be strong.

And to be strong you need to lift up heavy things regularly.

Come on, I knew that...

It’s strange but when I reveal that secret I’m often met by eye-rolling and people saying “well, I know that!”

Yet it’s the same guys who go back to the gym to do the same 3x10 routine with the same weights they have done for 2 years and are wondering why they are not bowling quicker.

If you are one of those guys, good luck to you. I can’t help you.

But if you are prepared to listen to me (and more importantly, the strength coaches who work with professional and Academy cricketers every day) then you will get better.

Strength is the foundation of everything.

You can’t get strength endurance without being strong first, you can’t be powerful without being strong. You can’t bowl quick, professional level quick, without being strong.

OK, I believe you, so what do I need to do?

Just lift up more heavy stuff.

Or to be more exact, you need to be challenging your body to get stronger by:

Forget all those silly myths about getting bulky.

The professionals follow a plan like this. The do it because it works. It makes you a faster, fitter, more injury resistant bowler.

And that’s not really dirty or a secret. It just seems that way because most people don’t believe it.

For a complete training programme for fast bowlers get Strength and Conditioning for Cricket at all Levels by Glamorgan CCC Strength Coach Rob Ahmun. 

image credit: PaulSh

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Field Setting: Leg spin, old ball, turning wicket, limited overs

This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.

When a batsman is all set and looking to go after you, towards final overs a leg spinner can easily get thrashed if he doesn’t have a proper field to bowl to.

However, against the spinners, slog sweep and hitting the bowl over mid-on are most batsmen’s favourite shots. As you are turning the ball away from the right hander this makes it more difficult for the batsman, so you can pick up wickets, even late in the game.

 If there is a fielding circle, all the fielders who are inside it move to the edge.

Bowling to this field

This field would allow you to bowl both over and around the wicket to a right hander.

Don’t look to flight the ball a great deal as a batsman with his eye set will easily pick your flight. Look to pitch it on or outside the leg stump and bowl at his pads. Length is the key here, as you do not want to be very short or full. The ideal length (Shane Warne’s length) would be about 5 feet from the batting crease, getting the batsman to go forward.

As you are bowling at the batsman’s pads there is no need for an off side boundary runner.

Bowling variations

Variations are important to leg spinners, however at this late stage in the match it’s important not to try and be too clever.

You don’t want the batsman to be able to set himself because you are too predictable. However, you should only try a variation if you are confident you can bowl it accurately under the pressure of being hit.

The googly is the obvious option, but a batsman who is looking to plant his front leg and hit over the leg side could be deceived by the flipper as it skids on and increases the chance of bowled or LBW.

Avoid bowling

  • Short pitch balls from spinners are a batsman’s delight, never ball short and wide.
  •  Full tosses. These could be hit anywhere on the field and are impossible to set a field to.
Field Variations
  • If the batsman is only going leg side you can move another fielder from off to leg making a 6/3 leg side split
  • If the batsman is going ‘inside out’ to hit through the off side then rethink your plan as you will need a 6/3 off side biased field
  • Don’t fall into the trap of setting boundary fielders on both sides. Club batsmen are not good enough to hit it to all parts unless you are bowling both sides of the wicket.
  • If the batsman is sweeping a lot and picking up runs you can move mid on the square leg.

Batting against this field

  • Back yourself to clear the rope and look to slog sweep or hit straight.
  • Look to exploit the gap on the off-side by stepping away and going “inside out” hitting over the top.
  •  Rotate the strike by sweeping fine into the gap on the leg side

Images supplied by PitchVision - Coach Edition software

For more field setting, playing tips and tactics, get the free weekly email newsletter from PitchVision Academy.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

4 Simple ways to be a better fast bowler
Fast bowling is an obsession.

Good fast bowlers say that, when they were young, bowling with pace was their passion. If you want to be really fast as a bowler look to build speed first and last.

Just try to bowl quick.

After building genuine pace, it is important for you to perfect your bowling action. Anything lacking in bowling actions would not only make you lose control of your deliveries, it leads to injuries by putting extra stress on a player’s body. Anyone who has played cricket will tell you that changing your bowling action is hard. So it’s important that you stay on the right track from the beginning and develop a decent action which would allow you to bowl fast and achieve greatness.

Here are a few thinks you should look to do when you run in to bowl:

1. Measure Your Run-up

Carefully measure your run-up, no one but you can judge what length would be suitable for you. If you can bowl quick with a short run-up like Wasim Akram then run in from a short run-up. However if you feel that your action requires a run-up like Bret Lee, so be it. What is not acceptable is that you running in to bowl every ball with a different length of run-up, if you do that you won’t be able to control your bowling

2. Tilt Back and Lean Forward while Delivering a Ball

If you want to bowl with pace, it is important that you have the right momentum. The impetus your action will be the extra pace you will be able to generate. Take a swift run in, and just when you are about to deliver, tilt back. Then immediately drive forward when you deliver the ball. By doing this, you should be using your chest muscle and upper body strength. This would generate a lot of pace and a swift follow through. 

3. Bring Down the Front Arm Straight Across

This reduces stress from your back. If you bring down your non bowling arm straight across, it allows you to deliver the full thrust your body without putting extra pressure on any other body part. Bowlers who are late in bringing down their front arm exert pressure on their shoulder blades, and those who bring it down away from the body put killing stress on their back. This again, is not an effective technique of bowling quick but also for a smooth action. Little things like this prolong a bowler’s life.

4. Jerk the Wrist Forward at Point of Delivery

Give your wrist a jerk at the last moment of releasing the ball. This will give you extra pace, and depending upon your grip also some movement off the seam. If you are tall quick, jerking the wrist will also give you some extra bounce.

For more tips of bowling fast get the online coaching course "How to Bowl Faster" by Ian Pont, author of the Fast Bowler's Bible and fast bowling coach to Bangladesh.

image credit: Sarah Canterbury

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Stop getting hung up on your technique and start scoring more runs

We’ve all been there: losing a bit of form and then getting hung up on technical issues like fretting about trigger movements. These worries can get right into your head, preventing you from batting with timing and fluency.

The good news is that cricket, despite its apparent complexity, is a simple game.

Take Justin Langer, Australia’s batting coach and former opener. 

He knows that even if his technique is solid, he must be focused on every delivery he receives. If he loses concentration and focus, he is more likely to make a mistake.

Academy or club: How coaches can keep teenagers on the right fitness track

This article is part 5 of the “How to use fitness training to make better young cricketers” series.

The late teens for a player can go one of two ways, and as a coach it’s up to you to know how to respond.

It’s either a race for the first-class game, or something a little more recreational.


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: 129
Date: 2010-12-17