Pitchvision Academy


It’s a belting week for articles in this newsletter, with more practical tips and advice that you can put into action right away. We cover everything from shortcuts for batting success to making an impact in Twenty20 cricket with Ian Pont.

Plus Mark Garaway continues his series on the sweep in the Coaching to Win section.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Paddle, Run or Lap: How to Sweep to Mess Up Bowlers

The ‘run sweep’ has been called many names: paddle sweep and lap sweep.

I call it the run sweep as the a batter uses the pace on the ball and lets the ball run off the face of the bat into a vacant short fine leg position for anything between 2 and 4 runs.

It’s a shot I love to coach because you can use it to move a fielder in order to open up an easy scoring option.

You remember from the hard sweep article that I shared a number of circumstances that lead to a sweep being a good option when playing spin. The considerations for the run sweep are: 

  1. The field setting of the opposition captain blocks out straight batted scoring options
  2. You need to move a fielder to open up an easy scoring option/area

So, if square leg is blocked, the quickest way to move that man is to play a run sweep.

You will find that the square leg fielder will be moved to cover the shot. This opens up square leg and balls can be tucked into that area for singles off both front and back foot.

Rarely can a bowler afford to defend both areas. To do so leaves other boundary and single options open.

Runs will accumulate quickly and in a low risk fashion.

Some captains then move the short fine leg to square leg again; good batters instantly play a run sweep into the vacant area.

You then are in control and playing with the opposition bowler and captain’s minds!

Two of the players who do this well in the England set up are Ian Bell and Stuart Broad, watch them against spin when you next get the chance.

Now that is power over the opposition!

Run sweep technique

The fundamentals of the movement are similar to the hard sweep:
  • Head and front shoulder lead the motion to the ball - often players over-stride and lead the movement with the front foot causing problems later on in the shot.
  •  The hands look to reach as far as they can in front of the front knee; this means that batter then has the option of playing the run sweep to a larger length range. Ideally, with this increased reach, the ball can be contacted on the full toss, yet the shot can be hit from half-volley and length as well.
  • Many good players of the shot adjust the bat slightly in the hand to open the face a little prior to contact. This helps them to present more bat face to the ball and increase their percentages in making clean contact. Give it a go and see if it works for you.
  • The head position is low to the ball (more control) and in advance of the front pad. This is crucial. It enables the hands and arms to fully extend to the ball and prevents the hands from getting tangled up against the pads.
  • Many players find that they struggle to keep their heads in advance of the front knee. Often this is due to the back knee being in contact with the ground and therefore, pulls the weight and head back. Ask the player to keep the back knee slightly off the ground through their movement to the ball and contact as this will facilitate a more advanced head position in the shot.
  • The head position remains still way after the ball has been struck. Many players miss the ball as they move their eyes and head to the direction that they intend to hit the ball. It is vital that this coaching point is emphasised.

Pairing up: run sweep and tuck

In order to take full advantage of having the run sweep in your repertoire, a player needs to also have the tuck into square leg of both front and back foot. Master this shot also and then the player will have an appropriate pair of shots.  

A player with run sweep and tuck as a pair of shots is a captain’s nightmare. Make sure you are coaching this shot to all you players from openers to number 11.

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Six Shortcuts for Becoming an Excellent Batsman in Record Time

You’re impatient. You want success and you want it fast.

But batting is frustrating: You lack opportunities to practice and play in ways that help you improve. Even when you do get your chance you get a great ball first up and have to wait a week for another bat.

So here are six ways you can make to most of the chances you have and get ahead of the crowd to become a top-quality batsman in as short a time as possible.

1. Keep it Simple

Batting styles differ wildly, but one thing remains simple and true: Classy bastmen are world-class in the basics.

  • They have a setup that keeps their head still, eyes level and move to the ball in good alignment.
  • They are ready and focused on the ball as it is released.
  • They have confidence in their game-plan.

So the first thing you need to look at is your setup, backswing and initial movement. Most people think they have it licked.

Most people are wrong.

Spend time in the nets and be totally sure about it. Get someone to watch it or video yourself.

Where is you backlift going?

Are your eyes level?

Is your trigger move keeping you aligned?

To help, here is a worksheet to download and take to nets. Use deliberate practice and that sheet to start making a super quick difference.


2. Use a Coach

There is no denying that a good coach is essential to a cricketer who is frustrated by form. Knowledge and experience builds confidence and hones technique.

There are many coaches doing great work face-to-face and if you can get hold of one you should grab the chance with both hands. Every minute is worthwhile.

But what if you can’t afford a coach, or have no access to one?

What if your coach is not of the standard you desire?

Then you can use online coaching. With PitchVision Academy you can get access to players and coaches you would never be able to talk to before. Kevin Pietersen is the perfect example with videos, an eBook and worksheets all in one place with unlimited lifetime access.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Every player has strengths and weaknesses. If you know yours you can take full advantage (while playing down the weaknesses).

This is a great shortcut. Stop thinking you need every shot in the book. As KP says, he really only drives and pulls seam bowling. With a couple of shots and plenty of hard work you will get a bucketful of runs without wasting time working on unnecessary shots.

Plus, while only using your best shots, you will stay in longer as you will make less technical errors.

4. Stick to a Plan

Once you have decided your shots, you need a game plan that is adaptable to any context you are batting.

Opening in a two day game is very different from the last five overs of a Twenty20 match, but your skills are not. So you must be adaptable.

This is where a prompt can help you. Ideally this will come from a coach or senior player, but you can easily do it yourself.

In every Chapter of Keep Calm and Smash It there is a worksheet that you can download and fill in. They are designed, over several pages, to help you think about your own game and come up with your own solutions. This is because no matter how good advice is, you can only ever succeed if you work out your own method:

worksheet sample page

If you are struggling to do that, you need to get into the worksheets on KPs course.

5. Learn by Watching

Back in the old days, coaches used to recommend going to professional cricket matches to watch the players from the sidelines. This method of learning by watching was highly effective.

Yet modern time demands mean there is less and less chance of seeing players in the flesh.

So fill in the gaps by watching them on TV, or even better, watching them on coaching videos where you can get breakdown and analysis of exactly what is happening all the time. It’s like having the most detailed ever analyst on the best players.

All the streaming videos on PitchVision are exactly like that - here is an example of what it looks like:


If you can’t learn something from Kevin Pietersen you are in the wrong game!

6. Make the Most of Downtime

We are all very busy, but we all also have moments where we are waiting or travelling that we can exploit.

For example; if you take the train or bus to school or work you have 20-30 minutes every day to kill.

Why not use it?

You can listen to coaching advice on your iPhone or read a coaching book. It’s no substitute for actually being in the nets with a real coach but it’s a million times better than staring out the window and wishing you were playing cricket.

No matter how many shortcuts you take, becoming a good player is still a hard and long road. But make it easier for yourself with some good coaching and self analysis.

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Cricket Show 153: Lessons from Dravid’s Career

There is plenty club and school cricketers can learn from Rahul Dravid. As the classical batsman has retired recently the team look back at his career and work out what we can take from his game into grass-roots level.

We also answer your questions about concentration and how to raise your personal fielding standards.


How to Get in Touch With the Show

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Confound your Critics, Tear Up the Form Book and Bounce Back From Defeat

Before the England Pakistan limited over series I read a tweet. It said reading the form guide is all you need to know about the result.

But England confounded recent form - and that opinion - by thrashing Pakistan in both T20 and 50 over formats.

What happened, and what can you learn for your own team?

What Ian Pont’s BPL Success Can Teach you About Twenty20

PitchVision Academy’s Fast Bowling Coach Ian Pont knows a thing or two about coaching sides to Twenty20 success.

His team - the Dhaka Gladiators - romped to an 8 wicket win over the Barisal Burners to secure the BPLT20 title for 2012 at the National Stadium in Dhaka.


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: 194
Date: 2012-03-16