Pitchvision Academy


We have an unofficial campaign to get more spinners playing cricket and this week we step that up.

Menno Gazendam is a Premier League spinner and coach in South Africa who is leading the charge with an 8 week course that you can get through the newsletter this week.

The best part is that it won’t cost you a bean.

Neat huh?

Speaking of neat, there are also articles on relay throws, supplements for everyone (yes, even you) and a field setting for a club seam bowler who bowls wide on the crease.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

Tactics You Should be Using: Relay Throws

It’s quite the feat of fielding skill and power to slam the ball into the keeper’s gloves from the boundary edge. But in real life, there are precious few who have such a bullet arm.

That’s where the relay throw comes in.

But it’s not just about covering a bad arm: the relay throw is also a tactical fielding technique.

As you know, a relay throw is any throw where two fielders team up to return the ball to the stumps.

Twenty20 cricket has increased the popularity of the method so now you can see even top quality fielders popping the ball up to a team mate to send it on its way.

Yet despite this, many club and school teams neither practice nor employ relay throwing. Perhaps it is an ego thing or perhaps fielders need to be better drilled in working together.

Either way, you should take it up in your team if you want to be a better fielding unit. Here is why it’s a good idea:

  • Saves boundaries. When two fielders chase after the ball the fielder who gets there first can put in a much greater effort to stop the four.  He can slide and flick it back, safe in the knowledge that someone will be behind him to put the throw in.
  • Gets the ball in the air. Batsmen are programmed to say no the moment the ball is in the air. It makes sense to program fielders to get it in the air fast and that can be down with a relay quicker than a bloke on his own crow-hopping and winding up for a big throw.
  • Gives more time for a decision. If you are a long way out, it takes time to decide which end to throw that could leave a batsman time to get home. If you are throwing to one other person, they can have already have decided, catch and return in one movement.
  • Protects weaker arms. Yes, it might hurt to think it, but if you don’t have the arm to get it in flat from the boundary then there is no shame in using someone else to get it in. Two flat throws are better than a rubbish loopy one.
  • Sends a message. When every fielder is switched on enough to go in pairs from every chase the opposition soon get the message: these guys are serious about saving every run. This approach adds to the pressure of batting.

So how do you ingrain the habits of relay throwing?

Simple, use drills like this one at every training session.

Then tell all fielders to chase in pairs after everything. If you are one fielding position away from the ball, still go after it every time.

It might seem slightly ridiculous to double up every time at first, but it’s just a matter of getting a habit.

Then when you are at extra cover and the ball is hit past cover you don’t stand there thinking “oh that’s for someone else to chase”, you just go with it as well.

As you get better you can be more selective, but for at least 4 matches you must chase everything to get the habit going.

So now let me open it to you.

What is your experience with relay throwing and how good is your team at getting it right?

Leave a comment and let me know. 

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Become a Better Spinner with This Free 8 Week Course of Tips and Drills

Sometimes as a spinner you wonder if it’s all worth it.

Your well planned stock ball is thumped by a slogger over deep midwicket and your captain puts his hands on his hips as if it’s somehow your fault.

And there are still 4 balls left in the over.

It’s enough to drive anyone to bowling miserly medium pace.

Except you are not like that; you love the challenge of bowling spin.

You want to feel the glory of the ball gripping, spitting, turning square and causing chaos. No slogger is going to prevent you.

You have the spinner’s mentality and you are going to get results.

You just need to know how to do it.

Introducing “Spin Bowling Tips” Free 8 Week Course

Here is where you begin that journey of development.

The free 8 week course, delivered by email will teach you the tricks and drills to be able to:

  • Become an attacking spinner who turns the ball sharply.
  • Understand and use flight, drift and dip to deceive the batsmen.
  • Define your stock ball in different circumstances.
  • Evaluate yourself and bring your weaknesses up.

Apply proven mental techniques for stay focused and confident, even when a batsman is attacking you.

Just enter your email in the box below to get the course delivered right to your inbox. Plus we will keep you up to date with other developments to make you a better spinner as time goes on:

Get the free course
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Who’s running the course?

Spin bowling coach and PitchVision Academy Coaching Panel Member Menno Gazendam has the answers to your problems.

He should know: he has coached spin bowling for many years, and still plays club cricket at the top level.

He has written a comprehensive book called Spin Bowling Tips that has been published worldwide.

Back in high school he even trapped England's batting star Jonathan Trott LBW (although, to be honest, if Hawkeye was around then it might have shown the ball missing leg stump).

In short, he knows what he talking about when it comes to spin bowling.

When you enter your email address you will get an email outlining the course from Menno. Then once a week for 8 weeks you will get the complete course. By the end of the series (as long as you follow the advice) you will be a spinner who is on the road to becoming a great success.

All the emails will come from Menno, your trusted advisor.

But WAIT... That's not all: FREE eBook!

When you enrol on this free email based course, you also get - as an incentive and thank you - a 24-page eBook; "5 Secrets to Being a Badass Spinner: What Batsmen Really do Not Want You to Know"

Enter your email in the box below to get the eBook instantly, along with your 8 week course on spin bowling:

Get the free course
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It’s very important to us that everyone receiving this course truly wants the newsletter, so we’ll need you to confirm that you want to receive it by clicking a link in an email you’ll receive after signing up.

So check your inbox and put us on your white list… because some excitable email programs like to throw us in the Spam bin with the rubbish. Neither of us wants that.

Of course we’re never going to rent, sell, or otherwise share the information we collect. That would disgust us as much as it does you. 

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Cricket Show 124: Spin Bowling Tips

With the Indians in the middle of a rocking series against the English there is plenty for Burners and David to discuss on the show but we take a good look at spin bowling too.

First, we look at the spin issues Australia have, and how your club can learn from their mistakes.

Then we talk to Spin Bowling Tips author and spin coach Menno Gazendam in the first part of our interview in developing spin skills.

Menno also has an 8 week course in spin bowling available here. It’s free.

Finally we answer your questions on walking in and bowling runs ups.


How to Get in Touch With the Show

Our contact email can be found here.

Use our twitter or facebook accounts.

Or you can call and leave a message (it’s an answer phone, not manned but we check it every day). If it’s a good story or question we will call you back for a chat.

  • UK  +44 (0) 208 816 7691
  • AUST: +61 (02) 8005 7925
  • USA: +1 347 722 1981

How to Listen to the Show

You can download the show onto your computer by right clicking on the link below and choosing "Save Target as..." (if you can't see the link, click here)

You can also subscribe to the show:

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Click here to subscribe in iTunes.

If you don't use iTunes You can add the feed manually.

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Does Playing Cricket Need Supplements?

It’s no secret that in the effort to squeeze every drop of talent from themselves – and gain a lucrative IPL contract – professional cricketers are turning to protein shakes and creatine.

It makes sense to look after your body when it’s your livelihood.

But does the average club player need such attention to detail?


Supplements are simple, cheap and effective for most everyone.

Field Settings: Fast/Medium, Old Ball, Club Wicket, Long Format

This is a special field setting for a particular type of seam bowler: One we set up to give a prize away here.

The bower in question has a unique style in that he bowls wide on the crease and gets plenty of seam movement.

He mainly plays 50 over club matches with draws possible, bowling in the middle of the innings or towards the end.


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: 161
Date: 2011-07-29