Pitchvision Academy


We lead this week with the story of how a researcher is taking sport science from the lab to practical application. It’s a lesson for all coaches and players.

We also look at the slog sweep, junior coaching and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Have a great weekend,  

David Hinchliffe

The Journey: From Sport Science Research to Real Life Results

Over the past 3 years PitchVision has been integrated into sport science research as part of Laurence Houghton’s PhD at The University of Western Australia. As this research program draws to a close we’ve taken time out to review our journey with the sport science community and the resulting partnership with ACE cricket academy. So sit back and enjoy this exclusive inside story.

Laurence’s PhD involved the development of a prolonged, simulated batting innings (named BATEX) for testing and training in cricket.

There were two main reasons for the development of BATEX:

To ensure sport science in cricket gains ground with the extensive research already done in other team sports (particularly football). The unique demands of cricket batting made it necessary to replicate the typical running patterns of a one-day hundred in a standardised research protocol. BATEX was then used to investigate possible factors that contribute to fatigue during prolonged innings.

To address some of the shortcomings of traditional net training. For example, in the late Bob Woolmer's book (“Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket”) some of the inherent problems with net training were highlighted, including, the issues of batting:

  • in enclosed nets for < 20 min
  • on a different surface to match-day
  • using old balls
  • without fielders
  • with bowlers alternating after every delivery
  • with ball delivery times not reflecting the timings of a match
  • with batsmen not running-between-the-wickets
  • while focusing predominately on execution of correct technique rather than tactical decision making

In light of the above, BATEX was designed to include six, 20 min, 5 over batting stages with running-between-the-wickets requirements reflective of typical scenarios that occur in matches (e.g. Stage 3 is ‘Fighting Back’, Stage 4 is ‘Powerplay’).

PitchVision technology was integrated with BATEX to allow field settings to match the requirements of the six batting scenarios. By providing batsmen with feedback of shot placement in relation to the fielders (via a computer screen), a more realistic environment was created for testing and training.

Running-between-the-wicket demands were cued in BATEX using audio files (similar to the ‘Beep’ test) which are now available as part of the PitchVision online academy course: "How to instantly improve net practice with BATEX".

The running-between-the-wicket demands of BATEX were determined from extensive analysis of data from T20 and ODI World Cups and several Test match series.

Further checks were done by using GPS tracking to ensure the movement patterns during BATEX reflected real matches. It was concluded that BATEX reflected the demands of a high-intensity ODI hundred. BATEX was then used to assess the physiological and biomechanical responses to prolonged batting. Various parameters were measured during the simulation, including:

Running-between-the-wicket-times (including turn times and sprint times)

  • Heart rates
  • Jump height fatigue
  • Changes in elastic properties of tendon (Achilles)
  • Body temperature
  • Sweat rates
  • Blood lactate
  • Blood glucose
  • Ratings of perceived exertion
  • Concentration tests
  • Ball line, length and speed
  • Percentage of good bat-ball contacts

 Throughout Laurence’s PhD a large database of the BATEX performance parameters have been collated from grade cricketers in Western Australia. This data allowed comparison between high- (1st and 2nd grade) and low- (3rd and 4th grade) grade cricketers. For example, high-grade batsmen had a greater percentage of good bat-ball contacts during BATEX (70%) when compared to low-grade batsmen (58%).

To allow a fair test, PitchVision was used to make sure that all batsmen received deliveries of similar line, length and speed during BATEX. It was not surprising that better batsman more consistently and effectively executed shots when under physical stress, but it’s reassuring that BATEX was able to discriminate between playing level.

From the lab to the academy

The BATEX performance database, in particular, the running-between-the-wicket times, has been a valuable asset to ACE cricket academy (within The University of Western Australia). The ACE academy runs across 6 months (full-time program) during the Australian summer and typically has players between the ages of 18-21 (often from the UK). Batsmen of this age are frequently marked as having ‘potential’ but have yet to get into the routine of batting for prolonged periods and making ‘big daddy’ hundreds (perhaps due to always batting in the nets for less than 20 minutes without being physically tested?).

BATEX has been used to address this issue at ACE cricket academy.

Academy players also receive a full report of their running-between-the-wicket times and physiological responses, and are ranked in relation to the BATEX performance database. ACE cricket academy is world-class academy and their use of BATEX and partnership with PitchVision has ensured they stay at the forefront.


An example of the ACE cricket academy program at The University of Western Australia. Note the integration of BATEX and PitchVision into the program.


PitchVision™ technology being used at ACE cricket academy. The players have the luxury of instant front- and side-on video feedback and are able to review their video online after each session. Inset: Inside the analysis van!

The ACE cricket academy strength and conditioning program has also benefited from research on plyometric training from Laurence’s PhD.

BATEX was used to assess the effectiveness of an 8-week, lower body, preseason,  plyometric training program on running-between-the-wicket times (plyometric training involves explosive jumping exercises). It was concluded that the plyometric training program increased jumps heights (10%) and had possible benefits on running-between-the-wicket times during BATEX.

Elements of this plyometric training program have now been integrated into the ACE cricket academy strength and conditioning program. If you wish to get a taster check out the PitchVision online academy course:  "The Simple, Overlooked: A 5-Week Preseason Training Program to Improve Balance for Cricket".

The PhD research has seen the development of BATEX into an effective tool for assessing batting-specific fitness and for preparing ACE academy players to be able to combine the skill, concentration, and fitness demands required for a prolonged innings.

Moreover, BATEX is now ready to be used in future scientific investigations that explore innovative ways to help you bat for longer!

Further reading

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More Sweep than Slog: The Slog Sweep

The slog sweep is a legitimate boundary option. It’s hit in the air over the inner ring fielders and with the huge bats of today, often over the fence!

The slog sweep is an excellent option when the match situation dictates the need for a boundary (and the slog sweep is a practiced strength).
It can also be used when you have width between yourself and the ball (the ball generally pitching outside the line of the off stump), the field setting of the opposition captain blocks out straight batted boundary options or you need to move a boundary fielder to open up an easier boundary scoring option/area

Can any of these consideration points help you to make better decisions regarding your deployment of the Slog Sweep?

Slog Sweep Key Technical Points

  • Weight distribution: Many players look to deliberately keep their weight back whilst executing the shot and keep their head very central (in contrast with the forward head position of the hard sweep and run sweep) as they use their weight distribution to propel the ball up over mid wicket.
  • Stability: This often coincides with the back knee being placed on the ground. This back knee on the ground helps to keep the weight central in the shot. The back knee also creates a solid base from which to swing.
  • Creating a hitting space: The front leg is often pulled more to the leg-side to create space for the bat to swing. Watch players such as Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh and Shane Watson create this hitting space when looking to sweep the ball high and far over the heads of both the inner ring and outer ring fielders.
  • The bat swing path: The swing of the bat differs in the slog sweep from the hard sweep as hands stay low whilst the body forward so that the swing of the bat goes from "low to high" and through the bounce of the ball. The trajectory of the shot is determined by the bat path and therefore, if you have a player who is hitting his/her Slog Sweep too flat then have a look at the Bat path from the start of the swing through to the end of the shot. It is likely that the player would benefit from a lower starting position with the hands which will enable the player to hit from "low to high".

Variations of the Slog Sweep

Recently, we have seen a few players hitting a slog-sweep over mid on and straight over the bowlers head rather than over midwicket. Shane Watson (Australia and the Rajasthan Royals) is the best example of this.

  • The Shane Watson special: Shane opens up his front side of his body to create a vacant hitting area for the bat to move into (often the line of his front foot is on or outside the line of legs stump). Shane hits up and through the ball as normal, yet the line of the bat path goes directly over mid-on rather than over mid wicket. The shot is hit with excellent balance and control and as a result, Shane has been able to hit balls off of the line of the stumps for 6 on a regular basis against spinners in all formats of the game. Usually, players will hit from outside off stump as this width provides the leverage for the player to make good contact and a full swing. Shane is creating that leverage himself with that initial front foot movement towards the leg-side. This makes Shane very difficult to bowl at and puts the pressure well and truly back on the bowler.
  • The switch hit: The off side variation of the Slog Sweep. I was merely the guy who threw 1000's of balls at the creator of the shot so I suggest you hear it straight from the horse’s mouth and join KP for a lesson in switch hitting by clicking here

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Cricket Show 154: Chances of Winning, Shades and Chiropractors

The show has never been more eclectic than it is this week.

Burners is live from Dubai at the ICC Qualifiers as we discuss associate cricket, we talk about the use of the “Chance of Winning” stats to see where you are in a game and there is an interview with an optician and cricket sunglasses expert from Airdale Opticians.

We also answer your questions about the bowling action and osteopathy, and whether it’s possible to play cricket and baseball at the same time. 

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5 Steps to Better Junior Club Coaching Sessions

This is a guest article from Head Coach of Twenty20 Cricket Company; Darren Talbot

1. Make sure that there is a suitably qualified coach with each group

Without a fully qualified coach it is unfair to expect a lesser or even unqualified coach to deliver a meaningful session, it just won’t happen. 

Even experienced cricketers are unable to deliver a proper session for your juniors as there is a massive difference between coaching and being a qualified coach.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica School of Cricket Coaching

The Encyclopaedia Britannica is stopping its print version after over 200 years.

It’s a sign of the times.

There has never been more information available more quickly. The web makes it easy for experts in every field - cricket included - to put out their advice to anyone with a connection. Twitter and facebook and their ilk are making it possible to get cutting-edge stuff in real time.

There’s no more appetite for a book that sits on your shelf and gets out of date.


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: 195
Date: 2012-03-23