Pitchvision Academy


For every good fitness plan there are at least a hundred bad ones. They might be badly designed, out of date or just not specific enough for people who play cricket.

That's why this week I have focused on helping you through the minefield of fitness training no matter who you are, where you are or how old you are. This week's main article outlines training techniques for certain times of the year. I also examine the Crossfit revolution and give you the lowdown on acceleration for cricket.

Plus there are some Twenty20 tips I learned while watching the last dregs of the English season and a way to assess your personal learning style to boost your performance.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

A full year cricket fitness plan: Your free cut out and keep guide

Planning your cricket fitness training is a difficult balance.

On one hand you know the benefits of strength, speed and endurance on your game. On the other hand you don't want to waste time training elements that have little crossover to the cricket pitch.

That's where the PitchVision Academy Fitness Plan comes in.

The spreadsheet outlines what kind of training is best for what time of year allowing you to focus on the important stuff at the right time. In sport science this is known as periodisation. However the terms are not crucial, the training is.

You can download the free plan in Excel format from here (Right click and Save target as...). If you don't have Excel on your PC (or the free Open Office) you can view it on Google Docs here.

How the Free PitchVision Academy Fitness Plan works

Your year is split into several 3-6 week periods called cycles. The name of the cycle is your focus for those weeks. For example, on a strength cycle your main aim is to improve your strength while maintaining other fitness elements.

Breaking it down further I have adapted the ideas of Vern Gambetta in that each cycle has 1-3 major training methods and 1-3 minor methods. You base your workouts around these methods depending how much time you have to train.

As everyone has different needs, time to train and equipment to use I have not included individual workouts. You will be able to get those shortly in our member section: PitchVision Academy.

What I have included is a rough guide to each training method so you can get started planning individual workouts yourself. You can also hand the spreadsheet to a qualified fitness professional or trainer to help you plan the workouts. Or use an off-the-shelf workout like Stronglifts 5x5 or Turbulence Training (both can be used at certain times of the year).

Here are some general principles to help with building your workouts:

Limitations of the PitchVision Academy Fitness Plan

The main limitation of the plan is by design: It is a general guideline to what training to do when, not a series of workouts.

That aside, the other main limitation is that I only have done plans for the UK (Northern Hemisphere), India and Australia (Southern Hemisphere). This is where I need your help.

If you live in a country that is not covered by this plan, please email me and let me know when your competitive season is. I can then extend the plan to include the whole world.

I am especially interested to hear from you if you are in West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan but if your country is not covered just get in touch.

Any Questions?

If you have questions first look at the Q&A here.

If that doesn't help, please put your questions down here I'll answer them as soon as possible.

You can download the free plan in Excel format from here (Right click and Save target as...). If you don't have Excel on your PC (or the free Open Office) you can view it on Google Docs here.

If you want a more comprehensive guide to reducing injury risk and increasing cricket specific fitness, check out county strength coach Rob Ahmun's guide on PitchVision Academy.

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5 Unique tactics to boost your club Twenty20 performance

It seems strange to think that the more limited the format the more creative cricket has to become. Yet it can't be denied: The twenty over game has thrown up some of the most unique play since World Series Cricket.

This was highlighted to me most recently during the Cockspur Club Twenty20 finals, where the best amateur teams in the UK competed. There was a clear tactical gap between the professionals and the clubs. Here are some of the tricks I would have used if my side had reached the final 4 that were missing on the day:

  1. Bowl stump to stump. While fielding restrictions are in place, batsmen love balls outside off stump to throw their arms at. They are prepared to take the risk. As a bowler it's sensible to aim for off stump or middle and off to prevent this from happening.
  2. Mix it up. Twenty20 Bowling is about upsetting a batsman's timing and rhythm.Every seamer should be able to bowl stock length balls and yorkers, but to mix it up there needs to be at least one slower ball to call on. Ideally you will also be able to dig in a bouncer to really upset players who sit on the font foot.
  3. Use the crease. This applies to batsmen and bowlers. Bowlers can go wider on the crease to upset a batsman's angles. Batsman can stand deep in the crease if a bowler is using yorkers to turn them into half volley length or stand out of the crease to upset the natural length.
  4. Attack in the field. Nothing slows the scoring rate more quickly than wickets. Yet very often a captain will resort quickly to the 'no hope' field (5-4 off side split, short mid on and mid off if the restrictions are in place). Even if you are getting pasted you still need to think. Will a couple of slips work better? Will 6 on the off side get you a wicket? You always have options.
  5. Wear a helmet. I credit Glamorgan spinner Robert Croft with this idea, although it may not be his originally. When the wicketkeeper is standing up at one end and back at the other end it makes sense for him or her to leave their helmet on all the time. This saves time between overs and also prevents the risk of the ball hitting the helmet while it's on the ground (which costs 5 runs).

It makes sense when you think about it. Restriction breeds creativity. For example, if you had unlimited funds and wanted to get from London to Rome in 12 hours it would be easy. It takes a lot more creativity to do it with £10 in your pocket.

That's one of the elements I love about the short game. While longer formats are more interesting tactically, there are few innovations. Twenty20 throws up new ideas every year and that, at least, makes it fun to play.

What unique T20 tactics have you used to your advantage when you play?

Image credit: kkalyan


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Brain power: Discover your learning style and accelerate your cricket performance

Have you given serious thought to how you learn?

Your ability to master new skills is directly related to how well you do on the cricket pitch.  But when it comes to learning we are all different.

There is no one way to learn anything, cricket is exactly the same.

If you can tap into your unique learning style you will be able to develop your technique, mental game, and athleticism faster than you ever thought possible.  

Get it wrong and you are stuck in the slow lane of learning while others move ahead.

What is learning style?

If you are used to one type of coaching or teaching, you might be surprised to learn that different people learn in different ways.

Some people can be told how to do something once and be able to do it. Some need diagrams and demonstrations. Others need to roll up their sleeves and try it until they get it right.

You may need some combination of these to have the best effect.

According to Memletics (an accelerated learning company) there are 7 different styles:

  • Visual. Learning by seeing. Visual learners learn best through written words, pictures, images and colours.
  • Aural. Learning by listening. Aural learners understand best when described things and usually have good mental arithmetic skills.
  • Verbal. Learning by talking. Verbal learners like to talk through problems and solutions.
  • Physical. Learning by doing. Physical learners like to try things and get a feel for doing something (kinaesthetic learning). They try, and sometimes fail, themselves rather than following instructions.
  • Logical. Logical learners like to adapt as they go in a clear progressive manner. Some go from specific to general (inductive) others go from the big picture to specifics (deductive).
  • Social. Learns with others. Social learners are best discussing ideas through. They enjoy being with and helping others.
  • Solitary. Learns alone. Solitary learners like to think things through themselves. They will bring ideas to a group only if they have worked them out beforehand.

What's your unique learning style?

Hopefully just by reading about the different styles you will have a broad idea of how you learn. But we want to get more specific than that. This is where we turn back to Memletics again.

You can download their excellent learning style assessment sheet that asks you a few simple questions then tells you exactly what your own learning style is.

Download the file from here (Right click, Save target as...)

All you need to do then is start adapting your plan to fit your style.

Good coaches have instinctively known this for years. They naturally adapt their coaching style to match your learning style.

What if you don't have a good coach, or don't have a coach at all?

Online coaching can meet your learning needs

An online coach can help you develop and fill the gap. By coaching and teaching you in ways you can understand more quickly you can get ahead of the pack.

Need a diagram? A video? An audio description? Discussion with those in a similar situation? Interactive online coaching is the way to go.

Put simply, online coaching will help you learn how to get more runs and wickets so you can be the best player you can possibly be.

That's where PitchVision Academy comes in. It's an online coaching tool that is launching shortly. Stay tuned to find out more soon.

Image credit: kaichanvong


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What cricket can learn from the Crossfit phenomenon

Mention the word Crossfit to 10 different people and you will get 11 opinions, but is this controversial training method something cricketers can benefit from?

Initially popularised by the US military and rescue services, Crossfit has been adopted across the word as a simple, effective way to get fit and strong.

And if miCoach has one aim it's to help people get fitter and stronger for cricket.

Acceleration is the most desired trait of a good cricketer (after skill)
It makes sense to be fast.

The quicker you can run the more singles you can steal (or save in the field). The faster your arm moves when fast bowling, the quicker the ball comes out. The faster your bat moves through the strike zone the better you time the ball.

Acceleration is useless without technique, but when the two are combined you become a significantly more formidable player.


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: 17
Date: 2008-10-17