Pitchvision Academy


I'm away on my holidays this week so before I left I worked double hard to make sure there are a new pile of articles ready for you to enjoy.

Don't say I never do anything for you!

There is the usual mix of coaching tips, fitness advice and other cricket related goodness. There is also a full breakdown of how to search through the hundreds of miCoach articles, in case you missed anything the first time around.

As usual, if you have any coaching related questions you can email me and I'll get them answered for you. You may just have to wait until I return from my private yacht made of gold and diamonds.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

How to be a stand-in captain

It was my turn to make the teas one Saturday, so I was in the club kitchen buttering piles of bread. It was lucky I got there early because as I buttered away one of the selectors walked in.

"Hi David, you know you are skippering the 2nd XI today don't you?"

I didn't.

It was the first I had heard, a few hours before the start of play.

In fact I had been lucky. Earlier in the season we only heard the captain was ill about 10 minutes into our innings. This happens in club cricket. It's one of those things.

What do you do if you are the unlucky soul who has to take up the slack? It's not an easy task.

Good captains are above the team. If you are a member of the troops it's much harder to get that, especially if it's a last minute thing.

On the other hand, some players are leading long before they have been made captain officially.

The difference is that leaders lead whether they are formally captain or not. If you inspire, motivate, listen, have ideas and garner respect then you are already a leader.

These traits will make you more likely to become a stand in captain too, so let's assume you at least partially have these skills. What happens on the day of the match?

Know your job

Club captaincy is about more than just setting the field and batting order.

If you are a stand in skipper make sure you find out every detail you can of what is required. This can be arrangements like travel to away matches or collecting tea money. It can also be cricket related stuff like speaking to the groundsman/curator for pitch advice and welcoming a visiting team as a good host.

This is the practical stuff. It gets more difficult when it comes to your own team.

Some players may already be on the back foot. They might feel overlooked as captain themselves. To compensate you could regularly consult them for advice, even if you have already decided what you are going to do. It helps to boost egos when you are facing a hard-done-by team mate.

You also want to take care with your own ideas. Changing a well established batting order might seem like a good idea to you, but you only have one game to see if it works. It's better to be more conservative when you have the job for an afternoon. Save the crazy ideas for when you have the job all year.

You can call on the advice of bowlers in the field especially. Experienced bowlers not only know what fields they want for themselves, they are usually quick at picking up weaknesses in batters for you to exploit. Talk to them often.

That said you still want to be in command. Captaincy by committee never works well. Take on as much advice as you can then make your own decision and stick with it. This will give you more respect than letting others do the job for you.

As a stand-in you have a difficult balance to find.  Egos, experience and practicalities all bear down on you. The best you can do is keep a light hand on the tiller and hope your groundwork of being a leader before you were captain can carry you through.

What are your experiences as a stand in skipper?

Image credit: kev747


Want to be a better captain? Learn from the best with the interactive online course Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley.


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How to use the PitchVision Academy archives

I have had a couple of questions recently on how to access the information contained in the PitchVision Academy archives. I thought I would clarify by giving you this simple guide.

The site is spilt into two:

  • freely available content.
  • premium online coaching course and ebooks.

There are several ways you can check out either or both, depending on how you want to find things.

1. Categories

Every article is split into one or more categories. If you want a list of all the articles sorted by category then simply click the link below to search.

You can also find these links on every PitchVision Academy page on the sidebar to the right.

2. Complete Guides

I have also sorted the main articles into several "complete guides". The name is a bit deceptive as I am adding to these guides as time goes on. However, I have made sure all the vital content is contained in the guides.

You can find the guides contents here:

3. Online Coaching Courses
PitchVision Academy has a section that allows you to go into much greater detail on any subject. The course are taught by some of the world's finest. You can check out these courses by category here:
4. Search

If you are looking for something in particular you can use the search box in the sidebar on the right hand side. This box will do a Google search on just the miCricketCoach pages so you can find something specific.

5. By date

All the miCricketCoach articles appear in published date order, newest first. This means that if you know the approximate date of the article you can go back and find it. I have to admit that it's not a very fast or efficient way of finding what you want.

6. By contacting me

I have written or edited everything so far on miCricketCoach. If you can't find an article on a particular topic, or you have a specific question you can contact me. If I have not got any content for you right away you may find I make something especially for you.

7. Make your own archive

There are several ways you can make your own reference library of miCricketCoach content too. I use StumbleUpon and Delicious to save and share pages I like from other sites. I also use Google Reader to store information from blogs and podcasts for my own reference. Plain old bookmarking of pages you like is also an option.

Hopefully that is all the options you need. If you have feedback on how to make things easier to find please drop me a line.

Image credit: Dr. Pat

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The Homer Simpson guide to alcohol and cricket

Whether you are a Simpsons fan or not, Homer is one fine philosopher.

Beer, he once said, is the solution to, and the cause of all life's problems. Which is a great way of summing up the relationship between cricketers and alcohol (in the West at least).

Most cricket clubs have a tradition of drinking after games. On tour the drinking can be before, during and after!

It's the grease that oils the social wheels.

On the other hand, we have all been told how damaging drinking is to our health.

Guilty pleasure or the ruin of cricket careers? Let's find out.

The costs of drinking
  • Beer makes you fat. You only have to take one look at Homer to realise that, they are called beer bellies after all. You see alcohol contains calories (100-150 calories per drink on average) so drinking it can lead to you piling on the pounds.
  • Beer helps you stay fat. Alcohol messes with your body's ability to burn fat. This is because booze is a toxin. The body prioritises getting rid of it so stops metabolising fat.
  • Beer makes you lose muscle. Heavy drinking can strip essential nutrients from your body, leaving you more vulnerable to muscle wasting. Even social drinking can lower testosterone levels.
  • Beer reduces your skill. If you have ever played with a hangover you know what alcohol can do to your cricket performance. Add to that the dehydration that occurs while drinking and you could find yourself losing stamina too.
  • Beer makes you stupid.Doing stupid things while drunk is not unusual. You can much more easily get injured after a few drinks in stupid ways: falling down, getting in fights and the like.
The benefits of drinking
  • Beer helps you lose fat. I know I just told you the opposite, but some research has show that beer increases insulin sensitivity and helps you burn more calories by speeding up your metabolism.
  • Alcohol improves your health. When drunk in moderation beer and red wine have shown a number of health benefits. It can help reduce blood clots, reduce the risk of diabetes and improve immune response.
  • Alcohol improves recovery. Amazingly, a study was recently done to see the effects of beer on recovery from sport performance. The booze did just as well as the scientifically designed post workout shake.
To drink or not to drink?

I have deliberately not mentioned the most serious side effects of drinking: That it can cause serious addiction and liver damage if abused long term. Let's put that aside and assume responsible drinking levels.

You will need to draw your own conclusions about your own drinking. If a cricketer came to me asking for advice on consumption I would certainly say that moderate drinking seems to do little harm and can have certain health benefits.

The conflicting issues of weight control seem to cancel each other out. Maybe it's more the doughnuts that are causing Homer the issue.

It's also very easy for moderate drinking to become excessive drinking and then the costs start to outweigh the benefits.

Perhaps I should leave the advice to nutrition consultant Alan Aragon: "If you drink so much that it interferes with your training, you need to cut back. If the amount you drink never interferes with anything important, let's get together for a beer sometime."

Homer may not agree, but he was never much of a sportsman anyway.

Photo Credit: Joits

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Fielding Drills: No anticipation

Purpose: To practice close catching without the anticipation of an obvious feed from the coach.

Description: Fielders line up in a cordon behind the coaches left shoulder (if right handed). The coach feeds throws to the fielders by swinging his arm round. The coach should try and prevent the fielders from being able to anticipate the throw as it is hidden by his or her body.


Closing the gap: How your club can become more professional
Club cricket standards have never been higher.

I was shown that recently when I went to watch the four best amateur teams in the UK compete for the Cockspur Club Twenty20 Cup.


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: 16
Date: 2008-10-10