Pitchvision Academy


Fast bowling is the main focus in the newsletter because there is a never-ending desire in the community for ways to bowl faster and better. So we look at fitness, technique and mental game.

There is also Mark Garaway’s Coach Education article giving something for the non-pacemen this week.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Don’t Do These 5 Things When Bowling Fast

PitchVision Academy has a ton of advice on how to bowl faster, but what if you are still getting it wrong? What if you still are not searing the ball down to the other end and scaring opposition batsmen?

In times like this it’s often the case that you are better off learning what NOT to do. So with that in mind, here are the 5 most common mistakes fast bowler’s make when learning the art:

1. Don’t worry about your run up

If your run up is not perfect, so what? The run up contributes only a small amount of pace. It’s less important than any other part of the action. So don’t worry too much about it. Simply get a run up that allows you to get to the crease in a nice rhythm.

You are far better spending your training time working on the “business end”: what happens at the crease.

2. Don’t slow down to become more accurate

For some reason we assume that there is an inverse relationship between pace and accuracy: the faster you are the less you hit your stock line and length. But as Ian Pont has told us for years, this is nonsense.

Players who are trying too hard to bowl fast lose their action and so they lose their accuracy. The coach naturally gets the player to slow down a bit to keep the action tight. However the keys of fast bowling are the same for pace AND accuracy.

Instead of slowing down, work on your technique; how you land at the crease, your front arm, your chest/hip drive and your follow-through.

3. Don’t trail your hips

Speaking of hip drive, one of the most common technical flaws I see in non-professional quick bowlers is a trailing hip. This leads to a massive leak in energy that you have generated from ground forces. You are wasting your whole run up, bound and front foot landing in one error!

To show you what I mean, compare the knee position of these two bowlers (the top is a still from Ian Pont’s How to Bowl Faster online coaching course):

4. Don’t be too keen to bring your arm over

After hip drive, the next technical fault is your actual bowling arm. It’s understandable that you are keen to get your arm over as soon as possible - after all, the faster your arm, the faster the ball - but that is counter-productive.

If your arm comes through before your hip you are not able to use your landing and hip snap to power through the crease. It’s another big energy waste.

So work on delaying your front arm as long as possible. Momentum will bring it through soon enough, but a slight delay gives your hip and chest the chance to drive hard towards the batsman creating maximum pace.

It also stretches your upper body muscles so they act like an elastic band pinging back into position much faster when stretched. It’s a definite feeling that you know you are getting when you find it. For more on this delay-stretch-reflex click here.

5. Don’t over-think things

Finally, after all this technical discussion, it’s important not to think too much about technique. There are times in practice when you will work on these things obsessively, but when you get to the middle, put it all to the back of your mind.

Focus on getting a rhythm and feeling like you are bowling quickly. Ignore any friendly advice from senior players on technique and just run in trying to hit that spot.

Then after the match, review your performance and take any technical work to nets.

If you want to know more about bowling faster then get the free PitchVision Academy newsletter where we update you every day with tips on how to be a better cricketer and coach.  

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Yes, Yes, Yes: How to Effectively Assess Each Shot

I don't know about you, but I work with a number of talented players who are prone to overanalysing their technique and outcomes when they are batting.

 I even did this myself!

 The result is that their over-analytical findings impede their ability to learn from the previous ball or shot yet also be focused and ready to play the next ball to the best of their ability.

I use the “Yes, Yes, Yes Game" to counteract this over-thinking.

It's a simple game that assesses the key components of batting and promotes instant feedback and assessment, thus creating enough time to put that feedback in the right place in the mind and focus on what matters; the next ball!

YES Number 1: Decision Making/Shot Selection

How many times do we make a right decision/shot selection and then get out? Not many from my experience.

So, making the right decision is vital. Ask yourself if you chose the right shot. If the Answer is YES then move on to YES Number 2, if it's a NO then quickly work out the reason. Often is that you weren't focused at ball release and had mental interference that impeded your decision.

One of the most common examples of interference is playing the bowler rather than the Ball. If we watch the ball and play the ball then our decisions are likely to be more appropriate. If we try and second guess the Bowler then our ability to make appropriate decisions is likely to be impeded.

YES Number 2: Was I balanced at ball strike?

Studies have shown that over 80% of dismissals in Test matches occur when players are still moving their feet or head to the ball as they attempt to make contact.

Batting is about moving from a balanced position at ball release to a balanced position at ball strike (the best batters achieve this consistently) so a quick assessment of this question will help inform you without cluttering the mind for the next ball.

If YES then Move on to the next question, if NO then quickly establish the reason (where is my head on release? Where is my head at ball strike? Was my movement forward led with the head or foot? Etc).

YES Number 3: Did I make contact under the line of my eyes (straight batted shots) or in line with my eyes (pull/sweep)?

On straight batted shots the maximum level of control, power and timing is achieved when the ball is contacted under the line of the eyes. If you were to drop a plumb line (a weight on a piece of string) from your eyes then that is the ideal contact position. The ball shall go along the ground with timing and control.


On cross batted shots, the eyes are generally behind the line of the ball (pull and sweeps). There are exceptions obviously (cut/hook at times) yet this concept can be applied to most cross batted shots.

If YES then well done, if NO then make a snap assessment, learn quickly and focus on the next ball.

Examples of YES, YES, YES Game feedback

The 3 decisions should be made straight away (take no more than 2 seconds to deliver) by the player and in a coaching session, relayed back to the coach.

The aim is to provide the player with a simple and defined framework for her to assess performance and identify instant feedback that can inform without distracting or interfering with the next ball.

If a player says YES, YES, NO then the batter knows that the focus should be to play it he ball later.

If a Player says NO, NO, YES then the focus should be on ensuring that the ball is watched hard, with a clear mind and that they are more likely to be balanced if an appropriate decision is made at ball release.

YES, YES, YES then crack on and repeat it!

This framework has helped many players assess performance to self-coach in practice and in the middle. As KP says, "The best coach in the world is yourself!" 

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Cricket Show 160 Fast Bowling and the Batting Simulator

The team discuss the implications of the PitchVision CRC Batting Simulator this week. Burners talks us through who can use the technology from fun to functional and Mark Garaway takes the coaches’ perspective.

The rest of the show is focused on fast bowling with questions on mental strength and correcting a bowler who bowls off the wrong foot (or not). This week’s Tailender also has a shocking revelation about a current England International bowler: not to be missed!


Submit your questions for next week's show.

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Learn to Bowl Faster from the Stars: Ashok Dinda

Ashok Dinda’s reputation is rising. He has played for India, takes wickets for fun in the IPL - despite being in a team of International stars - and has been endorsed by no less than Allan Donald.

He may not have a perfect bowling action, but he is certainly successful as a fast bowler. He can keep speeds up near 145kph and can swing the new ball. What is it you can learn from a player like this?

I put it down to two key elements. One is technical, the other is mental.

How to Bowl Fast when you are Already Strong

Recently we had a question posted on PitchVision Academy asking this:

“I am trying to increase the speed of my bowling. I am already a keen gym goer and quite strong. I bench 150kg, deadlift 180kg and squat  170kg. So what can I do now to become faster?”

It’s a great question because, as we already know, strength is a crucial element in bowling fast.

But it’s certainly not the only aspect.


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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Date: 2012-05-04