Pitchvision Academy


This week the newsletter takes a stroll in the picturesque English village of Waltham St. Lawrence. Surprisingly, I found some cricketers taking their game up a notch. If even village sides can do it, what’s your excuse?

Find out below how they do it.

There is also an article on why less consistent cricket is good for you, and a fielding drill to fire the competitive juices of your team.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

Fielding Drills: Three Ball Relay

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

Purpose: Perform the underarm throw fielding skill under the pressure of a race between two teams.

Description: The player at position 1 runs and underarms all three balls to position 2. She then runs to position 2. As soon as the last ball is caught, player 2 runs and replaces all the balls before running to position 1 to tag the next player. Once the player at position 1 is tagged she performs the same underarm throws to the player who has taken up position 2.

The first team to complete the relay wins.

Variations: You can make it more difficult by making a player who fumbles go again.

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How This Village Team are Like First-Class Cricketers

Waltham St Lawrence in the leafy English county of Berkshire is not a place you expect to find a redefinition of cricket. Somehow, that’s exactly what has happened.

The team are throwing off the traditional culture of village cricket in an effort to do better in their matches. Slowly, they are moving away from the old-fashioned way. The team are adapting proven methods from the first-class game to turn them from recreational to competitive.

The evil mastermind behind the scheme is player Matt Connor. As he got older and realised he wanted to continue playing cricket for Waltham St Lawrence as long as possible. He started looking around for ways to improve. He stumbled across PitchVision Academy.

Combined with his rugby background and a burning desire, the ideas on the site planted a seed in his mind to start a fitness programme that would keep him fit through the summer months. He began training with minimal equipment and just a couple of other players.

The three of them blazed a trail in the cold winter months, knowing the hard work would pay off later during the season. It worked so well that the following winter saw numbers of players at preseason training dramatically swell.

A new culture was born.

Now if you go to the Oak Meadow playing field in winter you will see something very different from the traditional image of village cricketers. You now see players training hard and improving their fitness in a highly specific way. If you look quickly you might think it’s the local first-class side having a change of scenery. In fact, it’s guys who have to pay for the pleasure of turning out for the team. They want to get their money’s worth.

It works well because it’s been designed with cricket in mind and doesn’t need expensive equipment. The players get together on the outfield and prepare with:

The programme has been designed to bring maximum crossover to the pitch, and come the summer the team will be streets ahead by being fitter with less injuries.

Plus, they are working hard on cricket skills that are neglected at this level:

  • The team think about running between the wicket (which ties in nicely to sprint and interval training). An extra run per over in quick singles is a lot in an afternoon match.
  • They work on bowler’s ability to bowl in overs (rather than in turns in the nets) and set fields to make practice more realistic.
  • And, horror of horrors, they actually do some fielding practice. In some village sides that’s practically a sackable offence.

Of course, there is a long way to go. The culture of training doesn’t change in a couple of seasons. But the kids in the colts section are growing up with the idea that cricketers get fit to play (not play to get fit) and have to work on a range of skills.

That bodes well for this village team and raises standards that others have to match.

To get proven, innovative and realistic club preseason training tips get Countdown to Summer: The Guide to Perfect Preseason Training. The eBook is available for download now. Click here.

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Cricket Show 101: All the Gear, No Idea

Burners reveals his mantra for batting and slow left arm bowling success this week. Meanwhile David bemoans bad teas and rants about fast bowlers with a lazy attitude.

Pete Johnston, the Irish cricket analyst, gives us an insight into how teams can use warm-up matches to do more than have a hit. And, as usual, or Premier grade cricketer Leigh Lowry gives us insightful Aussie comment. This time it’s all about keeping motivated at the end of a long summer.

Finally we answer your questions on fast bowling and how to get your modjo back as a leg spinner.

It’s unmissable, as ever.

Remember you contribution is all important on all open topics. And we really do need your feedback to make the show work.

How to Get in Touch With the Show

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Use Your Inner Hobgoblin to Have a Consistently Good Cricket Season

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 Being a consistent cricketer isn’t always as good as we imagine.

As decent level players we search for better consistency. We have had good performances in the past. We dream the purple patches will come again. Every shot you play beats the in-field and every ball you bowl finds the outside edge to a pair of safe hands.

5 Ways to Bowl Against Blacksmith Batting

The blacksmith is the clichéd image of the burly guy in the village team who goes out to smash everything from beginning to end.

Mostly he fails and it’s a mess. He swipes across a straight ball and is sent packing.

Sometimes he succeeds, especially if he has a reasonable technique to go with the power. When that happens you have to outsmart and out-skill the batsman.

Here is how:

1. A do-or-die attitude


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: 138
Date: 2011-02-18