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There is plenty to discuss this week as we look at the old “fitness vs. skill” battle that’s bound to raise the passions.

We also look to you for some tips to help another reader, look at batting on a bad pitch and discuss the secret of England’s rise to number one (and how you can emulate it in your team).

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

4 Reasons Deadlifting Guarantees You More Runs and Wickets (Even if You Bowl Spin)

 Deadlifting. Cuh.

You wouldn’t catch Bradman doing it: Warne only ever bent down to the floor to pick up a stray chip.

As contributor to PitchVision Academy AB says; “in my experience, the limiting factor in most cricketer's games is a combination of technique and cricketing intelligence, not strength and fitness.”

And he’s right... so what gives with the title of this article?

Simple: it’s not an either/or situation.

As a cricketer you have a choice presented to you. You can be skilful; you can be athletic; you can be both or you can be neither.

Most good players are both.

Yes there are the outliers that challenge the reality, but if you track, say, professional cricketers on a graph that compares skill and fitness you will find most of them in the top corner:

Why do cricketers get fit?

Of course, correlation is not cause. Just because good players are mostly fit does not mean getting fit will make you good.

So when you have very little time, you need to know exactly what gives you the best results.

Here are 4 reasons why, when considering how you approach cricket, you should ensure deadlifting is a very high priority.

1. You are developing a primal pattern

Picture a baby picking a toy off the floor.

They deadlift it; or more accurately they hip hinge, then extend and pick it up. The movement is instinctively built into all of us from the days we can first walk.

As adults we sit around on our computers and in our cars and in front of our TVs and our brains forget how to do this well.

We bend over with stiff legs and groan as we stand up.

Then we go off and play cricket and wonder why we don’t run as fast as we used to, and our back hurts a bit and our hips feel tight and stiff.

Yes, all these things can be overcome with enough skill and nous.

Ask yourself though: why would you make life hard for yourself when you can correct these issues by simply relearning something that you already knew how to do as a baby?

That’s the deadlift.

Like our kid in nappies, you don’t need to heft huge amounts to learn patterns.

In fact, if you are new to deadlifting it’s important to get your basic core stability and mobility in place by using simple variations of the hip hinge and extension movement:

  • Goblet Deadlift with a dumbbell or kettlebell
  • Resistance band deadlift
  • Trap bar deadlift
  • Sumo deadlift
  • Rack pull

Once that pattern is back in place (and the neutral spine that goes with it) you have learned how to avoid aches, pains and even injuries. Your shoulders are more stable. Your back is healthy. Your glutes are strong anfd firing correctly. Heck, even your poas is better behaved.

So if you want those wicket and runs to be easier, you have to have that pattern nailed.

2. You improve your mental strength

Picking up something heavy from the floor is hard. It’s as much a test of your mental strength to front up to the bar and make that lift even through you have never done it before.

You fear your spine is going to pop right out of you.

Then the next day it hurts.

Then you have to go do it again, with even more weight.

That’s why most people don’t do it.

Sure, we make excuses like it’s bad for our knees and back or that it will make us bulky or that it won’t help out game.

These are lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about wimping out.

When you deadlift you know what it’s like to face something you have never done before and succeed. You know how to make scarifies to achieve success. You know that you can’t ever give up.

And you take that feeling of pride and success and achievement onto the field with you.

It’s a pure confidence thing.

You know you are strong. You know you are fitter than anyone else on the park and you know that if you keep striving you will break through.

You can lie to yourself but you can’t lie to the weight on the bar, and you can lie to the runs and wickets column.

For me there is no doubt that confidence learned in the gym gives you confidence on the park.

3. Deadlifting is measurable

Like all sport, cricket contains elements that are out of your control. If you get a great first ball and nick off you are out for nought through no fault of your own.

That makes it hard to measure your improvements, and as we all know, objective measurements are the best way to improve your cricket rapidly.

Deadlifting makes it simple to measure things.

Sure, it’s a measure of strength rather than skill, but in a world of uncontrollables the bar is totally controllable.

You either lifted 100kg or you didn’t.
No grey area.

So it’s another confidence thing. As humans we feel better if we are in control. The more relaxed we feel the better we play. Deadlifting give you that control in a measurable way.

4. Deadlifting improves your power

As well as preventing injuries through improved posture; shoulder stability and glute development, the deadlift has a key role in improving performance.

All cricketers need power: fast bowlers need it to bowl fast, fielders need it to throw hard and run fast, batsmen need it to hit boundaries and spinners need it to put revolutions on the ball.

Yes, you can get away without power - batsmen with good timing alone can score well enough - but how much easier do things become when you know you can put the ball away with force OR timing if you are striving for an edge against your local rivals?

Plus, power is the first thing you lose as you start to age. Power ebbs away if you let it happen but with regular training you will entirely prevent it from happening.

Let me say it again: entirely prevent it.

Meaning you can be as powerful at age 50 as you are at 20.

That’s good to know, even if you play village cricket.

And that’s my big 4.

Will deadlifting make you an international cricketer?

Absolutely not.
Can you become a star player without deadlifting.

It’s possible (although it’s getting harder every year).

But look at the big picture.

Deadlifting in the off season will give you that at a time when perhaps you can’t work as hard in the nets.

Then in-season you can focus on maintaining your gains with a couple of gym sessions a week.

It’s no great imposition considering the massive benefits for everyone who plays cricket.

Just don’t let it eat into quality skill and tactical training: you can do both and everyone should in my book.

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Ask the Readers: Give Your Pace Bowling Coaching Advice

We get many coaching questions emailed to us here at PitchVision Academy. Today, in the spirit of rebuilding community, I want to ask for your advice for a fast bowler.

The question comes from long time reader and podcast listener Alek, and it’s all to do with the position of the back foot.

So, over to Alek for more explanation:


“Through previous discussions on the show and the website, we have established that side on bowlers have the potential, at least in theory, to bowl quicker that front on bowlers due to the greater hip rotation that occurs from a side on position.


Recently I was having a discussion with a friend who mentioned the back foot position of Jeff Thomson, who instead of having his back foot parallel to the crease, had it at an angle pointing more towards mid-on.

By manipulating the angle of the back foot, I am assuming it is possible to allow your hips a greater degree of rotation, above the standard 90 degrees if your back foot and hips are parallel to the crease.

Considering that some of the really quick baseball pitchers rotate their hips up to 135 degrees, can fast bowlers take advantage of greater hip rotation in order to bowl faster?

If in theory side on bowlers are quicker due to the degree of hip rotation, can they bowl even quicker by manipulating their hips to increase their hip rotation?”

I think it’s a great question, and one I am not instantly able to answer. That means I want to tap into the mind of the collective power of the PitchVision Academy readers to answer the problem.

So, what do you think?

Leave a comment and join the discussion. 

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Improve Your Wicketkeeper and Improve Your Cricket Team

You never see a good side with a bad wicketkeeper.

By definition a team that is taking wickets has to have a brave, alert and vocal gloveman who holds his catches and keeps fielding standards high. Despite this, wicketkeeping skills are often ignored at practice.

It takes some effort from the coach, captain or keeper to set wicketkeeping practice work up. Feeding balls is boring for someone who could be bowling or batting instead, so nobody volunteers and the keeper feels too guilty to say anything.

Yet keeping is so important to the health of a cricket team. If you want to get an advantage this summer it’s time to recognise how important your keeper is to success in the field and make sure he is getting the practice he needs.

So how much practice is right for a keeper?

No wicketkeeper can catch too many balls, but time is always limited. A simple rule applies despite the exact time varying from team to team:

The golden rule of wicketkeeping practice

A specialist keeper spends at least a third, if not a half, of his practice time working on wicketkeeping (glove work, footwork and reactions).

So if a typical club net session is 60 minutes, your keeper needs at least 20 minutes working with someone to throw him balls. Half an hour is even better.

How much are you doing at the moment?

Of course, to do this well you need to know the drills that give the biggest ‘bang for your buck’. Luckily these drills require no more specialist equipment than some cricket and tennis balls. If you are feeling extravagant you can use a Katchet, but it’s not vital.

Coming soon we will be showing you the exact drills you need. These are the proven drills from a former first-class wicketkeeper who now coaches keepers at first class level.

FREE REPORT: How to Take More Stumpings

Discover how to take more stumpings and catches with the free online wicketkeeping coaching course on PitchVision Academy. Click here to get your free report and worksheet on how to get more stumpings.

image credit: J H B

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How to Dismantle the Opposition like Strauss and Flower's England

In August 2011, England became the number one Test team and they did it by systematically dismantling the opposition.

The method they used is one that you can learn to follow to create your own success in the English way.

It will work for you because nothing about England is especially magical or flashy. There was no top order destroyer like Shewag. There was no mystery spinner like Warne.

Everything they did was based around one simple principle:

How to Bat on a Bad Pitch

 Club cricketer and controversial PitchVision Academy columnist AB is back with his views on playing on dodgy tracks.

 The "up and down" pitch is a nightmare: one moment a full length ball balloons up to chest height, and two balls later a short delivery shoots though by the shins.

How on earth are you supposed to deal with this?


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: 164
Date: 2011-08-19