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They say you should look after your eyes as you only get one pair. This week I talk about the differences between cheap and expensive sunglasses for cricketers. It's not all a matter of style either.

There is also a big feature on how your body type can affect your diet and cricket training, a feature from our latest contributor, 10 year old Gideon and a news series starts on field settings for any situation.

The new miCoach Cricket Show is available in iTunes now so if you want to get it every week just subscribe through the podcast directory. If you want to download it yourself you can get it here.

Finally, ex-England player Jeremy Snape is giving you the chance to benefit from his experiences at the top level with a brochure all about how to strive for excellence. Worth a read if you want the inside track from the highest level.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

The Secrets of Buying Cricket Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an essential accessory for cricketers at every level. Are they just expensive fashion accessories or an important tool?

You can't watch a first class or international cricket match these days without seeing several pairs of Oakley's scattered on the player's heads. The professionals have good reason to wear high quality sunglasses:


Modern sport shades offer protection against harmful UV light. For players spending several days a week in the field at the height of summer this is essential. UV protection can help prevent cataracts, cancer and other eye damage.

While you may not spend as long in the sun as a professional a pair of UV protective glasses can do the same for you.

What else can sports eyewear do for you?
  • Protect from impact eye injuries, especially for higher risk fielding positions like wicketkeeper and short leg.
  • Polarised glasses reduce glare, stopping you from squinting.
  • Prescription lenses can reduce blur, which has been proven to reduce performance in ball sports
  • Some models can enhance red colour against green background, making it easier to pick up the ball.

It's worth noting that dress/street sunglasses offer good UV protection but are dangerous to wear on the pitch as they are not designed to stay on under pressure. They also are more likely to shatter on impact. Stay away from them and stick to a sports pair.

So, if you play cricket regularly it makes sense to wear sports sunglasses because they protect your eyes. If you take that as an essential element, it raises another question.

Will wearing the wrong sunglasses reduce your performance?

The problem of clarity

There is a massive disparity in prices between makes and models of sports eyewear despite offering UV and impact protection of roughly equal levels.

Some of it is branding but - according to leading manufacturer Oakley - lens quality is a major difference. In other words, cheaper lenses distort your viewing clarity.

There is no doubt that blurring is an issue. In a 2003 study, tennis players who had their eyes artificially blurred saw a 25% drop in performance. No study has been done on cricket as far as I know, but it's safe to assume roughly similar results.

Even top of the range shades will blur a little compared to the naked eye, so there is always some compromise.

Expensive lens manufacturers - Oakley and Adidas - claim lenses make a significant difference to clarity, distortion and eyestrain compared to other makes. It's important to take these results with a pinch of salt. After all, these guys are hardly going to make their product look bad or go out of their way to highlight cheaper lenses that perform just as well.

That said, most people I have spoken to personally who own Oakley frames sing their praises from on high. Additionally, top coaches such as Mark Garaway have told me they have seen impressive research from Adidas when the began supplying England. There is certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence to back the manufacturer's claims.

Whether the claims are true or not, are cheaper lenses so poor as to hurt performance?

The jury is still out on that one, as no research has been done.

What sunglasses are best for cricket?

I would recommend some form of eyewear for all cricketers for UV ray protection. If you go with cheaper lenses you may find a compromise on clarity, although it's unclear if this enough to reduce performance.

That means, if you can afford them, Oakley glasses seem to be the best for cricketers.

Which models are best? That is largely a matter of personal style preference. Radar, and M-Frame are popular because they offer a wider viewing angle. Design is a matter of choice.

There is also a large selection of lens types for different conditions. In general the best choices for cricket are:

  • G26. Which are designed for target shooting and enhance reds and oranges against greens and blues. They are not quite as effective in very bright light.
  • VR28. For sunny conditions. Reduces glare and enhances colour perception.

Of course, this does not mean you should only buy Oakley. The benefits of cheaper glasses like Sunwise are still important, especially UV protection. So base your decision on the best performance you can afford, and remember the most expensive isn't always the best or most needed.

Which glasses do you have, and which ones do you lust after?

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Get your hands on performance tips from elite sportsmen

Rugby World Cup winner Martin Johnson, world ranked tennis star Tim Henman, England cricketer Jeremy Snape. These are just three examples of the high performance contributors in 'Striving for Excellence'

You see, it's testimonial year for Jeremy Snape.

Most professional cricketers produce a glossy brochure to celebrate their career, but Jeremy has gone one better making his brochure a goldmine of tips on how to improve your sporting and performance.

It's certainly a break from the usual "Jezza is a great bloke" back slapping articles. This is a million time better. This is a manual to your success.

Jeremy has made this unique brochure because he is a unique cricketer. Combining years of success with Gloucestershire and Leicestershire with a Masters degree in sport psychology he decided to make a document that can help people improve through what he has learned.

Jeremy is a long term friend of the site, providing great advice here and here. He wants to offer the brochure to you the miCoach reader.

The price is £10 plus postage.

I only have a few copies to send out, so rather than using an online purchase system (like paypal) I'd like you to contact me directly. You can phone, email, twitter or skype me directly and I'll do the rest.

If you can start benefiting from 'Striving for Excellence' drop me a line.

Image credit: Roo Reynolds


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If you know your body type, you can improve your cricket

It sounds like one of those crazy fad diets, but body type training is grounded in science and growing in popularity.

Until we have genetic profiling, it's the best we can manage for personalised eating and training for cricket. You see you will react to different foods and training methods in different ways depending on your body type.

The wrong sort of training or eating can scupper your plans to become a fitter, healthier and better player without you even realising it.

Fortunately, it's quite easy to work out your own body type and adjust your training and eating to match your needs.

How to determine your body type

Broadly speaking there are three body types:

  • Endomorph. Finds it easy to put on fat. Has wide features especially the waist.
  • Mesomorph. Finds it easy to put on muscle. Wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Generally considered to be athletic.
  • Ectomorph. Finds it hard to put either fat or muscle. Often called skinny with long, thin limbs.
Here are some pictures:

Most people do not fit exactly into on category or another. As you can see from the diagram below, you can be at one extreme or be nearer the centre with a crossover of body type.

The person on the diagram numbered 1 is an almost 'pure' mesomorph. Person number 2 shows equality between all three traits. Person number 3 is mainly an ectomorph but shows some traits of an endomorph.

Think of it as a sliding scale. You will be somewhere on the scale, most likely nearer one type than another.

According to nutrition expert John Berardi, a very simple way to decide which type is closest to you is to ask: If I didn't train and ate how I liked, how would I look?

Answer that and you know your genetic body type.

How to eat to your body type

Different body types have different responses to food.  

Eating the 'wrong' way will make life difficult for you. For example, if you are an endomorph that eats a lot of pasta, potatoes and rice (high in carbohydrates) you will be carrying more fat than an ecto- or mesomorph. This, as you know, is detrimental to performance.

So, after you have got the basics down, you can adjust to your needs:

  • Endomorph. Mainly get carbohydrates from fruit and vegetable sources. Save all starchy carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, rice, quinoa, beans, and legumes) for after exercise. Eat plenty of lean protein and fat from whole food sources (nuts, meat, fish and dairy).
  • Mesomorph. Eat a roughly equal balance of lean protein (30%), carbohydrate (40%) and fat (30%) from whole food sources. Save most of your carbohydrates for breakfast or after exercise.
  • Ectomorph. Get about half of your food from all carbohydrate sources (especially starchy carbs) eaten at every meal. Split the rest between lean protein and fat. You can eat more calories than the other body types.

Adjusting the way you eat will see you meet your goals more quickly.

For example, most ectomorphs struggle to gain strength, speed and power. To balance this out, eating more carbohydrates will give you more fuel to train. Your hormonal response will most likely prevent you putting on useless fat instead of useful muscle.

It's important to remember that whatever your body type some universal principles apply: Eat plenty of vegetables, stick with lean protein, have whole foods not stuff from a packet and have the odd 'cheat'. You can read about those here.

How to train to your body type

Just as we respond differently to food, we also respond differently to exercise. Training for cricket needs to have maximum effect. We don't want to waste time doing work we don't need or even overtraining.

Follow these principles to avoid issues:
  • Endomorph. You can train harder than any other body type. That's good because you need to work harder to get results. A combination of strength, skill and endurance training is possible for you and can help you get stronger, have more work capacity and deal with body composition (as you are naturally liable to hold fat as well as muscle).
  • Mesomorph. You are the middle of the three types when it comes to training. You can't go as hard as an endomorph but can go harder than an ectomorph. That said, you will naturally get faster results than any other body type even if you do not train as hard. You can benefit more from focusing on one goal at a time.
  • Ectomorph. You are very easy to overtrain. Any intense work like speed training or Olympic lifting must be followed by plenty of rest. You usually have naturally good endurance but are less good at explosive stuff. Focus your training on improving the latter while mixing in lots of recovery days.

Remember these are general guidelines. You know your body better than I can so always be careful when taking general advice. It's important to get the basics right first. However, if you are looking to go to the next level then body type is a simple but effective strategy to get the best from yourself.

Image credit: ActionPixs (Maruko)

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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The complete guide to cricket field settings

Recently I found out there is no online repository for field settings in different situations.

That is until now.

Under the influence of Richard, the CEO of the company behind PitchVision, I have decided to collate together every field setting for any match situation. It's going to take a while.

A junior perspective on cricket coaching

Today's article is from 10 year old Gideon: A bowler from Hertfordshire in the UK. Gideon gives us his perspective on what it is like to get coached and how you can get the most from being coached.

If you want to discuss this article and share your experiences of being coached with Gideon then head over to the forum.

It's easy to tell whether a coach is good or not.


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: 18
Date: 2008-10-24