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It’s a cliché we continue to say, and promptly ignore: Cricket is 80% mental.
Of course you need good technique, fitness and tactical nous, but to really make a mark you have to be in control of your mind as well as your body. 
One simple way to do that is to think about the frame that you view a situation. We discuss it in this week’s lead article.
We also look at the tactics of bowling in the death overs and a simple way to reduce your selection problems.
Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Is Your Frame Stopping You from Scoring Runs?

Have you ever arrived at a party late and it’s already jumping?

If you have, you know that it’s difficult to jump right in and start having fun. That’s because everyone at the party have had enough time to get into the food, music, drink and atmosphere.

You have some catching up to do.

Imagine that at the party you sit in the corner refusing to speak to anyone because you might say the wrong thing.

You will have a terrible time.

Your frame of mind is out of step with the situation when you arrive. It’s up to you to adjust it or you end up as the wallflower.

And frame of mind applies to your cricket because every situation – social, sporting or otherwise – is inextricably bound to how you feel.

If you think about failing all the time then you are more likely to fail: runs dry up because you are feeling down.

Reframing situations

You have control though; it’s not just a matter of form.

Good players are aware of their frame, and know how to change it when they start to get into a negative mindset.

They are the life and soul of the party.

Even when the music isn’t quite what they like and the company is dull.

In cricket terms, reframing is easy.

When you find yourself thinking something negative, replace the thought. According to hypnotherapist Paul Maher there are several ways to do it. Pick one that works for you:

  • If you fear an opposition bowler, picture him dressed as a clown or some other harmless comedy figure
  • If the opposition bowler is doing well against you, look for weaknesses on which you can prey. Ignore the strengths.
  • If you know you have a weakness against a certain type of bowling tell yourself “in the past I used to be weak against these types of bowlers.”

Nothing in the situation has changed. You still have to have a good technique to deal with good bowling. However, now you are putting mistakes out of your mind and looking forward to positive success.

And when you are able to reframe in that way, you start to become a run machine able to focus one ball at at time without letting the preceding delivery influence your mind.

Do you want to add another 80% to your game? Cricket is 80% mental so learn the trick, tactics and techniques with the coaching course How to Use Mental Training to Boost Your Game on PitchVision Academy.  

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How to Win the Battle of the Death Overs

This is the final part of the blueprint of a one day innings series we look at the tactics of a typical club game in the last 10 overs. Part one is here, part two is here.

The death of any innings is a shoot out. The battle is about who can keep control when the shackles are off.

This is exactly what happened to Watsonian skipper Craig Wright in the match against Grange. With the score on 151-4 and momentum swinging back and forth, the stage was set.

What happened next was a perfect example of controlling runs by taking wickets.

Finishing with spin

Who better to trust than Wright himself bowling off spin?

You may say it’s a bold tactic to leave your spin option to bowl 5 overs from an end at the death. Usually spinners give control in the middle and become cannon fodder at the end.

However, Wright is a tall former seamer who knows about death bowling. He put fielders out and set about bowling a tight line at the stumps, with a spearing yorker as a variation.

Here is his field which he had no need to deviate:

The rules require 4 inside the fielding circle, the rest of the field were placed to cut off the big shots.

A variation to this field is to bring deep cover back inside the ring. Most club players can’t hit out to both sides of the wicket so bringing him in would open a gap on the off side that is a risky shot. The batsman taking it on will often get himself out.

Finishing with seam

At the other end the seamers (Chalmers and McKenna) did the normal job of bowling full and straight with a field like this:

This stage of the game is not much for tactics.

Batsmen are trying to hit every ball; bowlers are trying to stop every ball being hit with full and straight bowling and the field is spread wide.  As a bowler you are hoping the batsman doesn’t get hold of you and the best way to do that is to bowl a good ball.

The skills at this stage are about keeping your head under pressure.  Ideally you need a good yorker, a decent slower ball and the ability to hit your lengths when batsmen are coming at you.

In this game, the Watsonian bowlers stayed on target. Grange lost their last 6 wickets in the death overs. Despite some lusty leg side hitting, a couple of LBWs showed that the bowling was on top.

As wickets fell, Watsonian made sure the big runs were not forthcoming. Grange could easily have scored 80 or 90 runs at this stage but with wickets falling Grange were bowled out in the last over for 211.

Overall, it was a strong tactical performance from Watsonian throughout the innings. Limited over games tend to follow a certain formula. If you know how to control the game at every stage you can manage the runs scored.

To keep following the exploits of Watsonian CC in the 2011 summer get the PitchVision Academy newsletter. 

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Cricket Show 116: How to Rehab from an Appeal-Related Injury

With Burners out of action this week, PitchVision boss Richard steps in to fill the void. Everyone look busy.

On the show David and Richard discuss the difference between the dressing rooms at the MCG and the average club ground and finally get to the bottom of when to do with a bag on a seat when you want to sit down.

There is also a complete rehab plan for appeal-related injuries (listen to the show to find out what that means).

Watsonian captain Craig Wright talks about momentum and helping players who are not contributing as well as they could be. Finally we answer your questions on playing short, straight bowling and dealing with getting a duck. 

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Fielding Drills: Front and Back

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

Purpose: Practicing flat catches

Description: The coach hits the ball towards the fielders split into 2 groups. There must be 1 less fielder in the front group.

Why Your Club is Driving Players Away

The captain scratched his head as he examined the team sheet. He had 8 names written on it.

“Who can we find to play?” he muttered to himself, scrolling through his phone contacts.

He was already coming up with creative ideas like asking Fred if his brother still fancied a game because he “played a bit in school” and expressed some interest a couple of seasons ago.


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: 153
Date: 2011-06-03