Pitchvision Academy


Momentum is a word that gets banded about a lot in top level cricket: so much so it’s become as much of a cliché as “batting units” and “hitting the right areas”.

But understanding the shifts of pressure and power in a game is not just new age nonsense – it helps you win games.

So this week we look at a simple way to keep track of momentum in your games.

Plus we look at getting into the first team and Mark Garaway gives us more coaching insights.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

How to Keep Track of Your Momentum

Runs and wickets are limited as a way of seeing how well your team is doing in the field. There is no easy way of seeing where the psychological momentum lies.

At least, there wasn’t until some bright spark in the England setup developed ‘Match Play’

Match Play is used to judge how well a team is performing as a unit in the field without comparison to the opposition or the conditions.

It concerns the mental boosts or falls found during the game and how this affects the confidence of both sides.

Match play is an indication of who is winning the battle of momentum.

  • If your Match Play is good, then the momentum is with you.
  • If your Match Play is bad, then the momentum swings in favour of the batting side.

It’s made up of various scenarios from every ball. Keeping a mental tally of these scenarios will help your side understand if the momentum is with you.

How Match Play works

Each scenario has a value of runs.
  • A misfield for instance will be +2 runs.
  • A wicket will be -10 runs.
  • A great stop will be worth -2 runs.
  • A wide signalled will be worth the penalty runs in the scorebook as well as a Match Play score of +2 runs.

If the total is in minus figures then momentum is with you. If it is positive figures by a long way then the momentum is against you.


A Match Play score of +10 is acceptable as is the nature of the game, but if the score is above +20 then you need to claw back the momentum. The nearer the score is to 0 or minus figures the better your Match Play score is and the higher your chance of winning the game.

It will also give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your side and areas to improve on.

So give the idea a try and get an easy shorthand way of tracking momentum.

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3 Delightfully Simple Ways to Spice Up Net Practice

There no worse practice than when a set of bowlers practice one element of the game; and the batters try to work on another element entirely. 

Disjointed net sessions are counterproductive because nobody gets what they want: least of all you as the coach.

But you can turn your bog standard net session into a fun, competitive, specific and highly functional practice

Just make these 3 simple changes to your practice approach.

1. Give it a name

Rather than just have a practice session, make sure everyone knows what the theme for the day is by giving it a name.

This can be in relation to a certain game format (T20 for example), a section of the game (playing of spin or Death Cricket) or a way of shifting an approach or mind-set within you team (Innovation Net – Batters experimenting with shots and bowlers trying new slower balls of angles on the crease).

  • It gets people thinking rather than just doing.
  • It allows you to be targeted at practice.

The result is lots of conversation, talking of plans, working things out and helps to keep a discipline to longer sessions.

2. Bat in pairs

Admit it, in your sessions not everyone gets a bat.

This is deftly avoided by batting in pairs, just as you do in a match. You can get through a whole squad in a 2 hour session by pairing up players.

Rotate the strike every 3rd ball by making the pair run a 3 or a quick single and with that you incorporate many functional elements of the game:

  • The effect of fatigue on decision making and an opportunity to work on coping strategies for fatigue
  • Bowlers bowling at a different batter who may require a different line, length or plan of attack
  • You can either bat people in the order that they bat on a weekend or a good idea is to occasionally pair up a top order batter with lower order players and you find that the lower order player learns by watching his partner up close.
A great tool for this method is BATEX.

3. 10 Point net sessions

Each batter starts with 10 points and can gain a point for performing a task well and loses a point for making an error. The batting session ends when the points run out and he/she reaches 0.

This puts a price on someone’s wicket, provides competition between players and means that a player has the opportunity to bat long if they are disciplined.


Plus Points:

  • Using feet to spin and hitting the ball cleanly past/over the bowlers head in a coned out area
  • Performing a well-executed drop and run single (Batter sprints 10 yards and then returns to the crease)
  • Hitting a boundary on the floor with a good connection

Minus Points:

  • Play and Miss
  • Hit on the pad
  • Dismissal (-3)

Lower the starting number as batters get better and better at managing the task or if time is limited for the session. Increase the difficulty to keep the net fresh and competition high

Play the 10 point game with a pair of batters to build partnerships that go on to work well in matches.

Make up your own plus and minus points based on areas of the game that you want the team to develop.

I once used this when Somerset were developing their spin play on turning pitches and a well-connected and controlled sweep was worth +2 points.

So now there is no need to have a dull net in the future.

They will all be competitive, challenging and enjoyable net practices that bring improved performances and better results come match day. 

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Cricket Show 137: Winning at Left Arm Bowling Angles

Left arm swing bowlers have unique advantages and challenges, so we look at the main ones this week. If you bowl left arm or coach left-armers this is the show for you.

But it’s not all about that. We also cover:
  • The problems of selecting a new coach (from international to club level)
  • What we learned from Des Haynes
  • How to stop bowling off cutters as a pace bowler

Plus we talk to Stuart Cope, Cricket Development Officer about cricket in inner cities, playing rep cricket and ambitions for the future. 


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How to Move Smoothly Into the First Team

A 1st XI regular has gone on holiday for 2 weeks.

You have been called up for the first time. It is the chance you have been waiting for all season.

This is a real opportunity; you have the chance to be more than just a stand in for the week and a chance to stake your claim to a regular place in the team.

What do you do to make the most of it?

Find your role

The first thing to consider is your role in the team.

Why the first ball of the over is more important than the rest

Teams that score the most runs from the first ball of the over are more successful than teams that don't.

That's a statistic that English, Indian and South African fans may have missed, but not by the international coaches in the new world of every statistical nuance being uncovered by laptop analysts.


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: 176
Date: 2011-11-11