Pitchvision Academy


Have you ever wondered what goes into a successful team?

Non-professional sides face the same issues wherever they are in the world: Lack of time to train, inconsistent form, and the need for both funding and young players to replace retiring old-stagers.

The best teams are creative in finding the answers to these questions. But how often do we get to see how other clubs do it?

That’s why PitchVision Academy has teamed up with a ‘typical’ British club – Watsonians CC – to find out how they do it. The details will all appear right here so you can learn from their successes and mistakes. You can find the introduction at the bottom of the newsletter.

Plus we have another fielding drill, tips on how to use the on drive and a discussion about the importance of data in coaching at every level.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Fielding Drills: Fast Feet

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

Purpose: Develop the ability to accelerate, decelerate and change direction while ground fielding a ball.

Description: 4 cones are set out in a square. The fielder has to run in a figure of eight touching each cone and fielding/returning the balls fed by the coach in the order show in the diagrams.

Variations: To make the game competitive, players can be timed.

Coaches Note: This is a speed/agility drill and should not be used to fatigue players/develop conditioning. Ensure plenty of rest between drills for each player.

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4 Reasons You Should be Ashamed of Coaching Without Data

You write brilliant coaching plans. The players you coach are engaged and enjoy your sessions. Parents couldn’t be happier with you.

So what?

The coaching world is shifting towards real evidence. Being a great people-person is no longer enough for the coach who wants to develop players to their highest potential.

It doesn’t matter how good someone looks in nets or which team he plays for. Young cricketers are falling behind if they can’t show precisely how they are effective.

You are not a good coach if players walk away from your sessions feeling warm and fuzzy. You are a good coach because you helped a seamer improve his accuracy by 33% or because your coaching has increased a batter’s boundary hitting by 12%

Coaching is now objective and measureable. You should be looking to get data behind your soft skills if you want to be a success.

Here are the reasons data-driven coaches are winners while those who ignore data are going to be left behind.

Data improves your coaching ability

Good coaches learn as they go along. They try new things. They do more of what works and less of what fails.

To do that you need data.

How often does that young seamer hit a yorker length then bowl a half volley next ball? Is it just an occasional thing or does it need serious work?

Unless you are tracking and recording balls bowled you can’t be sure. But when you do record this you can try things and find out exactly what works. And that makes you a better coach.

Data gives you the analyst’s advantage

Coaches who produce the best players and teams are not just technical experts. They know how be analysts.

Instead of working on gut feeling you can make a case for working on, for example, stealing more quick singles because you have the data to make an educated decision.

Compared to most coaches, just trying this approach will make you better; even if it doesn’t work (and if it doesn’t you can always adjust and try again).

You go from the guy barking orders at the back of the net to someone who is strategically crucial to player and team development.

Data has a better memory than you

Human memory is a notoriously tricky creature. We think we remember things but even those with the best memories are able to fool themselves to make the facts fit their subconscious opinions. That’s why player’s often don’t believe you when you point out a glaring technical error. It’s also why you work on the wrong things when you rely on memory alone.

The data is inescapably great at remembering everything. Either you hit the target or you didn’t. Either you hit the gap or the fielder. Over time, with your analyst skills, you can spot trends that memory-based coaches miss.

A bowler, for example, gets tired after a long spell. Using the data you can pin down when his accuracy starts to fall away or the pace drops off. Then you can develop a coaching plan that works on improving bowling specific stamina.

Data will get you a job

For a lot of coaches, even at a decent level, coaching doesn’t pay the bills. You might dream of a day when you can coach full time but competition is high and opportunities limited.

Data is still a unique selling point. It demonstrates success in a way that is reliable at every level. You may not have a team of potential international cricketers but you can show how you developed even the most average bowlers and batsmen with measureable information like:

  • Bowling accuracy
  • Bowling pace
  • Amount of turn
  • Batting footwork
  • Batting power and shot placement
  • Fielding accuracy and speed
  • Cricket-specific fitness
  • Identifying trends and eliminating tactical and technical flaws

A portfolio with information this impressive will put you streets ahead of other coaches.

And what better way to gather this data than using the PitchVision system? Save the embarrassment of being left behind and make sure your club has one this summer. It's essential for any coach who wants to be more than a drill instructor.

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Cricket Show 106: Become a ‘Sonian

It’s not often there is a President on the show but this week we have one.

No it’s not Obama, its President of the PitchVision Academy 'adopted' club Watsonians: Ross Brooks.

Watsonians are a progressively-minded amateur club side and we will look at how a well-run club does things from a range of perspectives over the coming months. The first interview with Ross teaches us more about the club, its atmosphere and ambitions, his unpaid but time-hungry job as President, and what you can do to at your club to help.

We’ll keep up with the ‘Sonians throughout the season from all angles including playing and coaching. I encourage you to adopt the team as your 2nd side and wait with bated breath for the results as they push for their first ever Championship!

Gary Palmer continues his series on the ABCs of batting, discussing back foot drives and the role of the coach in grooving technical excellence.

Finally we answer your questions on:
  • Weight, power and fast bowling
  • How to correct poor footwork 

How to Get in Touch With the Show

Our contact email can be found here.

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PitchVision Academy Adopts Club for the 2011 Summer

Cricket clubs around the world face the same coaching and playing challenges. Good clubs and coaches develop innovative ways to deal with these issues. That’s why I decided that, this UK summer, PitchVision Academy should adopt a real-life club to follow through the season.

Together we can see how they deal with things so you can learn from a club just like yours.

So, after a long search and painstaking negotiations the lucky club was selected as Watsonian CC.

How to Improve Your Batting Shot Selection: Introduction

Look in the old-fashioned coaching book gathering dust on your shelf and you will see the shot selection mantras. If you have batted at any level you know that shot selection is way more nuanced.

The best cricketers appear to have two or more shots to every ball.

They know exactly when to use these shots and when to cut them out. Tendulkar famously scored 241 without a cover drive (he thought it was too risky to play).


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: 143
Date: 2011-03-25