Pitchvision Academy


Spin bowling isn’t just about getting huge turn. We get stuck into the spinner’s art this week with 2 articles from coach and PitchVision Academy reader AB. Whether you bat against spin, or bowl spin you can’t miss the analysis of how to use flight.  Read on to find out more.

Plus we learn about leadership and attitude on the pitch from a young cricketer, and have a drill that will knock the wind out of anyone while improving skills.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Fielding Drills: Rob the Nest

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

Purpose: To develop speed, agility and ball handling skills in a pressure situation

Description: Set up cones in two rings as shown below. The inner ring (nest) contains a number of cricket balls. 2 fielders are inside the larger circle as defenders. The rest of the fielders walk around the outside of the circle and are attackers.

The attackers must run in to try and pick up a cricket ball and return back to outside the larger circle. The defenders prevent this by tagging players as they run through. If an attacker is tagged he or she must return to the outer ring.

Once all the balls are cleared, 2 new defenders are chosen.

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The Art of Flight: How to Deceive the Batsman with More than Spin

What spin bowler hasn't heard these clichés in his cricketing career?

"Toss it up" the young spin bowler is so often told. "You've got to flight the ball, give it some air, and get it above the batsman's eye line".

The problem is that experience soon teaches that simply lobbing the ball up in the air does not suddenly make a competent batsman turn into a tail end bunny. Whilst the advice may be well meaning, it completely misses the point. Flight is about deception. There is nothing deceptive about simply bowling the same ball but slower and with a higher trajectory.

So what is flight then?

The art of spin bowling is the art of deceiving the batsman as to what the ball will do. This comes in two parts: we are able to confuse him when the ball pitches by making it turn. It might turn a small amount, it might turn a large amount or it might turn the other direction entirely.

We are also able to use the same set of techniques to deceive him as to where the ball will pitch in the first place.

This is flight: the art of deceiving the batsman as to the exact location where the ball will pitch.

How do we do this?

Well, first and foremost we use the same technique we use to make the ball turn: by spinning it hard. In the case of flighting the ball, this primarily means using topspin and backspin.

These make use of the Magnus effect to change the trajectory of the ball as it travels towards the batsman.

  • Top spin will make the ball drop more quickly and land further away from the batsman than expected. Imagine a tennis player playing a top spin shot with his racquet, hitting over the top of the ball. You can apply this same spin on a cricket ball. How you do it will depend on whether you are a finger spinner or wrist spinner but the effect of spinning “over the top” is the same.

  • Back spin will make the ball carry further and land closer to the batsman.  Our tennis player would slice underneath the ball to make the shot. Again your method for doing this will vary but think ‘slicing under the ball’ to create the effect.

Using the two in combination makes batsman completely clueless as to whether to play forward or back to any given delivery.

Work on these effects in the nets, and in the next part I’ll show you how to combine them with changes of pace and variations to maximise batsman confusion. Get the free email newsletter to stay up to date.

About the author: AB has been bowling left arm spin in club cricket since 1995. He currently play Saturday league cricket and several evening games a week. He is a qualified coach, and his experiences playing and coaching baseball often gives him a different insight into cricket. 

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Cricket Show 102: Playing Strong Opponents and Building a Team

The number of lady listeners plummet on this show as Burners is away in an undisclosed location. But the cricket coaching advice still comes thick and fast.

David talks to Pete Johnston, itching to get started with the Irish at the Cricket World Cup. We also have the last part of our interview with coach of Ealing CC, Chris Peploe.

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


Topics that we cover this week are:
  • Making a team into an effective unit and setting team roles
  • The coach-captain relationship at club level
  • Playing against better teams
  • Fielding under lights
  • Dealing with the wait for a big match

How to Get in Touch With the Show

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4 (+2) Tools All Spinners Can Use to Get Wickets

In part one we looked at the art of flight, in this part we expand on the theory to show you how to use different ways to flight the ball to get wickets.

When you combine topspin and backspin with subtle changes of pace you have four new tools with which to dismiss the batsman:

You Don’t Have To Be Captain to Be an Influential Leader

Cricket is supremely unpredictable. It’s the players who can take responsibility under pressure that turn difficult situations into measured wins. These players are the true leaders of a side, whether they are captain or not.


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: 139
Date: 2011-02-25