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As cricketers we rarely work on our throws. Yet powerful throwing sets a tone in the field like nothing else; and it takes wickets.

So this week we look at strategies to improve the power of your throw without losing accuracy.

Plus we discuss coaching technology, creating mental strength and ways to change a weak training culture so your team can win more games.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

How to Have a Bullet Throw

A powerful throw sends a message to a batting team.

The batsmen are looking for a second run and you are in the deep. The both look up to see your throw, as do most of the batsmen waiting to come in. There is a subtle moment of expectation: Just how good is this guy’s throw?

You sear it in head high, dipping into the keeper’s gloves so he doesn’t have to move.

The batsmen make a mental note to keep it to one with you while the keeper and skipper applaud your arm.

How to you get your throw so strong and accurate?

It’s possible with hard work.

1. Strengthen the right muscles

Throwing requires a lot of strength because the more strength you have the more power you can put into the ball.

But you can’t just throw to get stronger at throwing.

If you did that you would find the speed of your arm improving without a corresponding increase in strength: you hit the ceiling of improvement quickly.

So you need to strengthen the muscles that are most involved in throwing which will develop into a better throw. Sports scientists call it “delayed transmutation”.

I call it common sense.

Train in the following ways:

The lower body is also important to be strong to create a stable base. So train both double and single leg squats and deadlift variations.

Yes, even in summer.

2. Throw medicine balls

In-between throwing a cricket ball and lifting a heavy weight is throwing a medicine ball against a wall.

The old-school ball is back because it trains both strength and speed elements of power in two ways:

  1. Similar movement and stabilisation patterns to throwing
  2. Opposite movement patterns to throwing (to prevent injury)

You are not looking to replicate the throwing action itself here. That just leads to your technique getting worse as you heft a ball weighing 2-3kg.

Instead use specific medicine ball throws like the ones in this video. Make it more power-based by resting between throws.

In season you can safely throw a couple of times a week before you do your strength training. Off season you can up that to 3 times a week; 3-4 sets of 8 reps where you try and break the ball every throw.

3. Stretch

Stretching to both lengthen muscles and mobilise joints is good for throwing power because it increases your range of motion and therefore speed of release.

The plan is simple: Do mobility drills and foam rolling in your gym and match day warm up. You can do static stretches anytime although it’s best to avoid doing more than one or two before training or games.

If you can, get a massage once a month to help even more with keeping the deep tissue healthy, strong and powerful.

In particular focus on mobilising your thoracic spine and shoulder. Focus on stretching your shoulder capsule (using the sleeper stretch) and pec minor.               

4. Throw cricket balls

Finally after all that prep-work it’s important to remember to actually throw balls.

A good training session includes 1-2 throws a week. Do it in the following steps:

  1. Pair up and throw a ball gently over about 20m; working on establishing good technique. The key is a locked front leg and a powerful drive of the hips, but at this stage loop the ball rather than drive it in
  2. Move apart from your partner slowly, throwing balls but still thinking about putting arc on the ball with a relaxed arm action. After a few throws at each distance you should be around 40m apart.
  3. Keep moving back gradually to as far as you can throw the ball with arc and smooth power. This is age and strength dependant. Good throwers can get up to 90m (with a crow hop) but the aim is to find where your point is and gradually increase the distance.
  4. Finally, move back gradually towards your partner, throwing the ball every 15m or so. You are now trying to throw the ball as flat and hard as possible (as opposed to loopy and smooth on the way back). The last throw is around 20m from the catcher (and a bit scary for him with all the power).

Finish with your normal fielding drills and you are done.

Each week you will notice gradual increases in power from your starting point.

And before you know it, that bullet throw will be causing run outs in your games. 

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Cricket Show 120: Big Bash, Rosalie Birch and Bowling like Malinga

The Boss is on the show again this week as we discuss the new Australian Big Bash League and how it might influence club cricket.

Plus former England International Roaslie Birch is on the phone talking about her work introducing young people to cricket with the Chance to Shine charity.

But this is a cricket coaching podcast, so we also answer your questions on how to bowl with a slingy bowling action like Malinga, and how to increase your pace as a spin bowler without losing revolutions on the ball.

How to Get in Touch With the Show

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How to Create Mentally Strong Cricketers

We all agree that good players are also mentally strong players. Yet despite the reams of coaching materials on technique and fitness, there is no system for developing confident cricketers.

You may, like me, have found yourself frustrated with players.

Despite your best efforts individuals are unable to maintain standards throughout the summer. Form is erratic and tails off at the back end of the season just when it’s most needed.

What I didn’t realise was that the training plan was the problem.

There was no planned goal for the mental elements of the game: just some vague idea that players should be confident with high levels of focus.

Once I realised that; the solution became simple.

Just like our plans for technical and fitness development mental training can be sequenced.

 That way you can coach your players to reach a peak during the finals season.

Three Steps to Coaching Mental Strength

What would this plan look like?

Following the periodisation model made popular by Tudor Bompa in the strength training world you can break the coaching year down into 3 stages; each building on the next to a peak:

1. Preparation

Deep in the off season, begin with more general mental skills that act as a foundation for more specific work

The aim here is to create cricketers who are motivated internally by:

You can assist with the improvement of motivation with your feedback during this time. We all know how important it is to give positive feedback when players do something right, but you can take this further.

Set up training to include competitive tests that show progress to players. Even small levels of progress are highly motivating people. One good example is Gary Palmer’s Tactical Game (Chapter 6).

Self-motivated players who will do anything to improve are a joy with which to work. This stage is your chance to build that base of motivation.

2. Preseason

As the summer gets closer, it’s time to get a little more specific and switch the training to working on concentration skills.

The key job of this phase is to create a player who can ignore distractions and fears. That way, they will be able to focus entirely on the task at hand be it batting, bowling or fielding:

  • Creating a pre-game routine
  • Developing a method of breathing that reduces tension, like a rugby kicker.
  • Choosing a music playlist that builds confidence and reduces pre-game anxiety

These ‘tricks’ can easily be added to training sessions and reviewed regularly so by the time the season arrives your players each have personalised approaches to keeping concentration high.

3. In-season

The final step is, building on previous stages, to create confidence and give players the best chance of getting into “the zone” or flow: the perfect mental state for playing cricket.

As a coach, this planned approach makes integrating mental training into your sessions much easier.

If you want to know more about how to do the things mentioned in the article, enrol on the online coaching course How to Use Mental Training to Boost Your Game on PitchVision Academy.

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4 Ways to Change Your Club Training Culture

Does your club train in the way that gets the best results?

Given the chance, I’m sure you would be quick to change some frustration or other you feel about training.

After all, you read PitchVision Academy, you know the secrets.

But changing culture is difficult; it takes strong personalities and a groundswell of support. Most people take the easy option; keeping quiet and getting increasingly annoyed when team results are erratic.

Chalk vs iPad: Can Technology Make You A Better Coach?

What do you think of when I say “cricket technology”?

Hot Spot?

Laptop Coaching?

 All those things are the latest innovations to be used in the elite game, but technology has existed in every level of the game ever since someone decided to protect his legs from fast bowling by putting on shin pads in the 1830s.


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: 157
Date: 2011-07-01