Pitchvision Academy


With the festive holiday season upon us we are giving you a special cricket present – double the fielding drills for the week.

Plus we have a story that teaches a lesson about preparation, tips for coaches and some ideas to make you a better slogger (just don’t tell Gary Palmer).

Have a great weekend (and if you are celebrating, a great Christmas),

David Hinchliffe

Fielding Drills: Take on me

This drill is part of the PitchVision Academy fielding drills series, for more in this series click here.

Purpose: To combine outfield pick up and throwing with realistic decision-making for fielding and running between the wickets for batters.

Description: The coach/wicketkeeper rolls or hits the ball out to the fielder who runs in and picks up the ball.

At the same time, the two batsmen attempt to complete 2 runs without being run out. The fielder must decide which end to throw for the best chance of a run out. Batsmen use calling to decide to take the second run or not.

Once the fielder has thrown the ball he or she runs to the bowler position to take the throw from the next fielder. The ‘bowler’ returns to the queue.

Batting pairs get 5-10 balls to score as many runs as possible. The pair with the most runs wins.

Variations: You can move the start position of the fielders anywhere you like to train different fielding positions. You can also start the fielders near the feed and make it a chase and return drill.


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What does this story have to do with winning cricket matches?

Does this remind you of anything you have seen as a player?

The home team players arrive at the ground at different times, some just before the start.

Three or four players are throwing the ball at the wicketkeeper with a distinct lack of focus. Throws were wild, many were fumbling the ball and all were more interested in talking about the upcoming night out.

Other team members sat outside the pavilion, smoking a cigarette or drinking a cup of tea. 

Meanwhile the opposing team arrives at the ground forty-five minutes before the scheduled start.

 They walk into the changing room, change into their kit, and make their way onto the ground and start, as a team, going through ground-fielding and catching drills. They only spend twenty minutes on this, and of course, some of them make mistakes. Encouragement is consistent and there was constructive criticism for those who drop a catch or fumble the ball.

The home team players are watching out of the corner of their eyes. 

It happened this season to my team.

We were the home team. It made us sit up and take notice. We had been inconsistent up until that point in the season.

Despite little difference in ability between the sides, we lost the match by eight wickets. However, the lasting impression was far more important for the club during the last few games of the season.

We decided to set a few ground rules

  • Players should arrive at the ground an hour before the start of play. No later. 
  • Players should arrive at the away ground, like the above team, 45 minutes before the start of play. 
  • All players would be involved in a 20-minute practice session before the start of play. 
  • All players were encouraged to suggest new practice drills. 
  • All players would walk out at the start of play at the same time.

Nothing too difficult or demanding.

The discussion in the dressing room and the bar after the eight-wicket defeat centred on the impression the opposing teams actions had on us as individuals.

We might not have the best facilities or indeed the best players, but the ground rules were designed to help us create more of a team spirit.

We implemented them to improve as players, to look and act more professional, to try to win the little battles before the game started.

To create an impression.

The truth is the ability and skill levels between the two sides were minimal. We finished two places below the opposing team in the league at the end of the season. When we arrived at their ground for the penultimate game of the season, we went through exactly the same routine as they did at our place.

Only one team was ‘glancing out of the corner of their eyes’ and it certainly wasn’t us. It was arguably the best game we had all season, losing in a dramatic final over, but battling all the way.

In the bar afterwards their captain came over to us and said our actions, before the game, had made quite an impression.

We thanked him for giving us the inspiration in the first place. 

image credit: pj_in_oz


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Fielding drills: Underarm fitness 2 (sprints)

This drill is part of the PitchVision Academy fielding drills series, for more in this series click here.

Purpose: A drill that incorporates cricket skills into competitive speed training. It can also be used as a finisher to a pre-game warm up drill.

Description: The player at the front of group 1 runs with the ball, putting it down on the marker 5m from the start. He or she then sprints around the stump 20m away and back to the start.

As player 1 puts the ball down, the player at the front of group 2 sprints up to the stump, touches it, turns and sprints to the ball.

The race is between player 1 and 2. Player 1 is trying to get back to his team before player 2 underarms the ball back to the first player in group 1.

Fitness note: This is an excellent cricket-specific sprint drill that has a competitive element to really make the players go all out. Therefore ensure there is at least 1.5-2 minutes rest between sprints per player to allow full recovery. Do not exceed 10 throws per player.

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7 Tips for brilliant cricket coaching

Cricket is not only about skill, intellect is also required to play cricket. It’s not a brainless sport, in fact it is the most ‘scientifically technical’ sport in the world. So if you have to have perfect technique and an intelligent brain to play cricket, you have be to step ahead to become a good coach. Here are some tips you can find useful while coaching cricketers:

Three Simple Ways to Slog

Picture the scene: You are playing a Twenty20 match and it’s the last few overs. The field is set back and the bowler is trying to bowl yorkers. You need to score at nine an over to win.

It’s time to slog.


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: 130
Date: 2010-12-24