Pitchvision Academy

This year is going to be different right?

This year it’s not all going to go to pot because this year you are putting in the hard yards.

If that describes you, then the newsletter this week is precisely for you. We lead with 5 myths that hold you back, then go on to show you some great ways to start the year with a bang.

Because as the advert says; you’re worth it. 

David Hinchliffe

5 Myths that Stop You Getting the Runs and Wicket You Deserve

I have been coaching and playing cricket for decades. Every year I come across the same frustrating attitudes that stop people reaching their potential.

It all happens long before the season starts. People mess up their pre-season training and simply never recover when the weather improves.

If only they realised what they were saying and took positive action. It’s time we changed things for the better and started giving you the summer you deserve by giving you a preseason to be proud of.

These myths drive me mad, yet I hear them every preseason nets.

Let’s stamp them out once and for all.

1. You have to be a talented professional to train preseason

Anyone can benefit from preseason training no matter how bad they are. In fact, the worse you are to start with, the more important and effective winter preparation.

Many people say to themselves that they are not good enough to bother. These people would rather fail and have the handy excuse ready; ‘what do you expect? I didn’t prepare.’

That’s fear talking.

They fear that if they failed after taking the winter seriously by training hard they would reveal their true lack of talent.

But the truth is that we always do better if we prepare better. Anything else is just rationalising our fears.

2. The Internationals don’t bother with preseason

Technically, this is true. But it’s not the whole story.

English cricketers rarely have time for an off season of more than a couple of weeks. They go from summer to tour, to another tour, and back to summer. They are playing all year round and have no time for preseason.

But they are surrounded by coaching staff who know how to make the most of limited breaks they have. It’s not as good as being able to focus for four months without a match, but they make it work.

And I guarantee if they had a big block break they would be pushed hard in preseason by those coaches.

So you, with your months of winter nets to get through have no excuses.

3. All that fitness is not relevant to cricket

Doing squats and press ups in the depth of winter seems a long way from bowling and batting. It is no wonder some people still think badly of fitness training.

But a well tuned body is the foundation of good cricket.

Do this right and you will hit harder, bowl faster, last longer before technique fails under fatigue and be less likely to become injured.

Yes, fitness training will never replace a good technique, but it’s not an either-or situation. They complement each other perfectly.

4. It takes a lot of time to do preseason properly

The more you can do the better, but you don’t need to commit your life to preseason training to get an improvement effect.

You can net once or twice a week, hit the gym two or three times and make noticeable improvements over a few months.

Everyone has more time than they think; it’s just a matter of priority. You may have higher priorities than cricket, but you can still make time to improve your skill and fitness in the winter months with careful planning and good knowledge of what works fast.

5. You need to have an expert to guide you through preseason

Most players are not lucky enough to have access to a strength trainer and personalised coaching. If you are in that boat there is still plenty you can do without experts on hand.

You can start by buying and digesting the PitchVision Academy Preseason Bundle. Its 3 complete eBooks, an audio training guide for nets and a Preseason fitness programme all rolled into one money-saving bundle.

Click here to buy it now

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4 Shortcuts to be Ready for the Cricket Season in Record Time

If you could boil preseason training down to its most basic and important elements what would you be left with?

The answer is the following 4 ingredients that anyone can mix together to improve their game in the shortest possible time. Think of it as your cheat sheet for what to work on in preseason.

That’s something which is especially important for those of us with limited time to train.

How strong should you be? Well, that's relative, but here are some general benchmarks.

1. Get strong, REALLY strong

When it comes to fitness there are many opinions and methods. Most of them work in some way or another, but the single most important thing you can do is get stronger.

Strength is the foundation of everything we do in cricket.

If you can only nail one thing in the run up to the season it has to be strength.

That means joining a gym and progressively improving your ability to lift weight with your legs and with pushing and pulling actions.

Forgo the aerobics and start lifting heavy stuff. It will pay off come summer and is less time consuming.

2. Get Balanced

Batting, bowling or fielding; one of the most common technical errors is not being balanced. If you struggled with technical problems last summer, preseason is the chance to put your balance right.

Your head position is all important as where the head leads, your body follows. So get yourself on video and see if your head is tipping you over.

If your balance is wrong, spend time in preseason working on drills to correct things.

For example as a batsman you can look to get throwdowns or bowling machine feeds from right arm round position. Look to stay open and drive the feed through mid on with a straight bat.

Bowler’s with the issue tend to lack both consistency and accuracy. Spend a few minutes at every training session ‘warming up’ by bowling in a net without a batsman to get your balance right. Use some cones and the drills here to help you.

3. Start toughening your hands

The start of the season is cold. If you want to make sure you can catch the first ball of the spring you have to start preparing your hands early.

This means taking time at every session (even indoors) to catch cricket balls.

Even a simple warm up tossing tennis balls for a few minutes, followed by cricket balls to a partner helps with getting your arm and hands back in the swing of things.

The ideal is to do some catching every day, progressively increasing the speed of the catch. By the time you get outdoors your hands should have gone through the early bruising stage and have toughed up nicely.

4. Combine elements in nets

Although net training has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 10 years, it’s still not as realistic as it could be for many players because it doesn’t incorporate running or tactical play.

One simple way to overcome this problem is by using BATEX: a simple audio CD plays telling the batsmen how many runs they have to score in an over. It brings together tactical thinking, conditioning and a competitive element to the training session.

You can download the BATEX files to play at your sessions from here (and if you want to get the BATEX files with other preseason training in a bundle click here

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Fitness for Coaches: How Important is it to be Physically Fit as a Coach?

When it comes to personal fitness, there are two schools of thought within the coaching industry.

I was once told that a well respected International coach stated to his players that "you should never listen to a coach who hasn't got a 6-pack".

I disagree.

To me that’s a limited belief given that many of the best coaches in the world are over 55 and manage to win World Cups and Ashes without abeing able to appear on a magazine cover with their shirt off.

Health and vitality

My personal view is that we are in a position to become a powerful role model. We can and do have a tremendous influence on our players.

We need to promote and understand the vital element of physicality and health within the modern game of cricket. What better way of doing that than by role modelling it ourselves?

Additionally; hitting high catches, taking balls with a mitt, and providing precise catching practice for our slip fielders will only be enhanced with good fitness and health.

A Coaches fitness plan

It doesn't matter if you are young or old, we can all increase our effectiveness by keeping on top of our fitness.

You can keep your heart and lungs healthy with walking, swimming, cycling, cross-training or running 3 times per week. Keep mobile and strong by incorporating a minute stretching routine or Pilate’s session into your daily schedule.

See it as a continual development opportunity. We can learn a new physical discipline and then incorporate it into our coaching once we have mastered it.

My own plan

I have set myself a task of developing my own swimming technique (and therefore my fitness) and studying Pilates this year so I can bring these elements into my coaching programmes with Millfield School and the other teams that I am working with.

Here is some stuff to get you started too.

If nothing else, the Pilates will increase your core power in your throwing and hitting and take an inch or two of your waistline. 

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Do You Make These 5 Preseason Training Mistakes?

Cricket is a simple game, but getting good during preseason gets complex when you look at the hundreds of different methods espoused by coaches and fitness gurus.

Where do you start?
How about with a list of what not to do?

These are the things I have tried and tested over a 20 year period as both a cricket coach and fitness trainer.

Controversial? Only if you don’t follow the evidence.

I stand by every one (and have made them all at one point or another).

7 Fun Ways to Lose Weight

No one wants to be a fat cricketer or coach.

Sure, you point to the tubby players at the top level and try to fool yourself that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t work because deep down you know that being overweight just isn’t fun, especially if you want to do well on the pitch.

What stops you?

Losing weight and dieting and hitting the gym are even less fun than being fat.

Running on a treadmill isn’t anywhere near as exciting as scoring a hundred. Eating a cake at tea is plainly better than a protein shake and an apple.


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: 184
Date: 2012-01-06