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Kevin Pietersen dominates the newsletter this week like he usually dominates the bowing attacks of world cricket.

Of course, you might say he’s not doing much dominating at the moment, so why listen to a word he says? Well, this week we look at the sticky issue of form, and what KP is doing to get back to the form that made him the world’s best batsman.

Plus we look at judging how aggressive to be, talk about India playing Australia and finally decide who is the best coach in the world.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Crisis, What Crisis: The Kevin Pietersen Way to Get Back Into Form

Not being able to score runs is painful. I’m sure you have experienced something similar to Kevin Pietersen and his slump as England play Pakistan.

59 runs in 6 innings? Awful; especially when you decide the best form of defence is attack and hook straight down deep square leg’s throat.

So what are KP and his coaches Andy Flower and Graham Gooch going to do about it?

Right now the England boys are keeping their cards close to their chest, but PitchVision Academy has spoken to KP very recently when filming for his online coaching course.

And of course we talked about form, and getting it back.

Here’s what I found out from the man himself.

Don’t call it a slump

KP is a confident guy, he knows a big score is just around the corner. This isn’t a loss of form, just the normal run of things. You will get low scores you will get out. As he told me himself, “so what? You will always get another go.”

KP scores a hundred in Test cricket on average every 7 innings. And boy he knows it. He’ll be reminding himself that he is due. It was only the previous English summer that he scored a double century and a  big hundred against India.

Work harder

“Always be the last person to leave the nets” was another rule KP told me he lives by. Nobody practices harder or longer than KP.

That’s not just a cliché for the press either. You only have to ask PitchVision’s Head of Coach Education Mark Garaway who coached KP for a long time as England analyst. He has told me many times how sore his shoulder got from the endless throwdowns he gave back then.

Work smarter

KP’s coaches, especially Andy Flower, don’t guess anymore; they know. Gone are the days of conjuring up a theory. It’s now all about analysis and evidence and highly specific practicing. The “no stone unturned” style is well documented.

And nowhere is that easier than the ICC Academy in Dubai where PitchVision, Bola and ProBatter technology makes practice as close to game intensity as possible.

Meanwhile everything is analysed and strategies are formulated against specific bowlers on the specific venues that matches are played.

And you can absolutely do the same at your level. You don’t need millions to invest in a high-tech centre. Some old scorebooks to review scores at your ground, a video camera, PitchVision and your nets (some places even have PV built in) is all the tools you need to make your preparation better than any other team you play.

Stick to your guns

KP did a great session in the nets with us talking about playing spin. We got it all on camera of course, but critics might ask what he really knows as he struggled against Saheed Ajmal.

Well, he knows quite a bit about playing great spinners. He succeeded many times against Shane Warne in those Ashes battles. But it goes back further than that, as he told me himself,


“I never ever fought against my technique and I never fought against my talent or the way that I play. I was very lucky to have coaches called Harry Brown and Graham Ford in South Africa who just coached me for me. There were never ever coaches who forced me to comply with a certain technique to be successful. They saw me, they saw my talent, and they told me to just play. As long as you do the volume of work then there's no way you should change anything.”


That’s why I know KP won’t be making any huge technical changes to score the runs. He already knows he can do it in the way that he plays, so why change?

That’s a truck we can all learn; work hard and find a method that works for you. That way you can ignore the criticisms, even if you make a mistake.

Form may be temporary, but with modern methods employed by KP, poor form is a much shorter spell to endure too. 

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The Ultimate Guide to Video Analysis Gear and Software

 I wrote in a previous article about using the equipment that we all have around us and the cameras on our mobile phones are more than adequate for most of our coaching needs.

So if you want to boost your feedback to your players and add a coaching application to your phone or iPad then take a look at these options that i have tried out recently.
iPhone: Cricket Coach Plus and Cricket Coach Free
Both are excellent packages that enable the user to film a player from different angles, synchronise the footage together (particularly good for bowlers) and insert angles, lines and shapes on the screen to highlight points to your players. You can then email the footage to your players for review.
iPad: Cricket Coach Plus HD
This is the bigger brother of the two applications for the iPhone and offers greater clarity on the excellent iPad screen. The increased screen size is very good when giving instant feedback to the players on the side of the ground or at the back of a net session.
SwingReader or Excelade
Initially designed for golf analysis yet offers excellent feedback for all sports. Does everything that Cricket Coach Plus HD does yet incorporates a means of high
Igniting stills of the footage and applying text which can then be emailed to the player along with the video footage. I have received encouraging feedback on the reports that were sent through to the players that I worked with last week using the applications.
The best two software packages that I have worked with on my laptop are Quintic and SiliconCoach which offer an incredible number of analysis and report options. These systems are ideal for coaches who use video analysis on a regular basis and have a bigger budget as the laptop and high quality video camera will also need to be purchased to complete the system.
Compact Camera: Casio Exilim EX-FC100
This camera is absolutely brilliant, can record HD quality video at 1000 frames per second, fits in your pocket and has a screen big enough for feedback to to players. It is relatively inexpensive for the features that it possesses and is a permanent member of my coaching back.
Digital Camcorders: Sony DCR-SR15E
Excellent features, cracking zoom for taking video from the boundary edge and works excellently with the Quintic and SiliconCoach software packages that are listed in this article. 
Integrated System: PitchVision
As well as getting instant video feedback and frame by frame, the vision is supported by fantastic animations of ball trajectories, pitch maps, bee-hives, graphs, tables and rankings. All that a coach would ever need to develop the next Kevin Pietersen, Sachin Tendulkar or Shane Warne.
Feedback is everything and PitchVision provides the ultimate in feedback for cricketers and coaches.
So there are my recommendations which hopefully provide all coaches, irrespective of the size of your pocket, some video analysis options to help your continual development as a coach. 

Let me know of any other video analysis applications or products that you use within your coaching. 

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Kevin Pietersen on: The Best Coach in the World

This is first of a new regular series of coaching questions PitchVision Academy put to Kevin Pietersen during the filming of Keep Calm and Smash It.  Here is what KP said when we asked: Who is the best coach in the world?

I can only answer that question from my own perspective. Who has had the biggest influence on my game: who is the person that I own the biggest debt?

I think about Graham Ford, the new Sri Lankan coach, who toughened me up back in South Africa.

I think about Andy Flower; who helped us win the Ashes in Australia.

I owe those guys a lot, they are great coaches.

But that’s not the answer I want to give.

Because I believe the best coach for every player is themselves.

You have to know your own game inside-out. You have to have your own tactics, use your own technical methods and come up with your own ways of dealing with playing in front of thousands of opposition fans who have come just to see you get out.

The only person who can teach you that is you.

If you want to learn shortcuts to learning your own methods of batting success get Keep Calm and Smash It, the online coaching course that gives you instant access to videos, drills and worksheets. 

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The #1 Rule for Top Order Batsmen (Even if you are Aggressive)

The key to batting early on is more about the shots you don’t play more than the ones you do.

From the opposition’s point of view, bowling with the new ball at new batsman and not making them play is wasting the chance to get wickets.

So as a batsman you must forget what shot to play next, and just consider what shots you aren’t going to play.

Preparation is the key; before you even face your first ball of the innings you must decide to play it safe, at least to start. 

Cricket Show 146: India vs Australia

The team looks at some of the coaching issues surrounding the Indian 2012 tour of Australia. We discuss David Warner’s unusual road to the top and the difference between IPL and Indian national coaching methods.

Plus we answer your questions on the importance of psychology in cricket and what to do if you are a short fast bowler. Themes that are universal but both came from Indian correspondants this week.

Finally, our interview this week is Surajit Lahiri; highly respected club cricketer from Kolkota who has also played and coached in the UK.


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: 187
Date: 2012-01-27