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Although this week has all the usual articles you would expect as well as the miCoach Cricket Show, I have also tried a little experiment.

Tucked away at the bottom of this newsletter is a link to a 1 minute video explaining the tactics for different lines and lengths for bowlers. It's a new thing for me to try so I want your feedback.

Take a look at the video and tell me if you prefer seeing stuff in that format, or as a more traditional article.

If you do prefer articles we have plenty for you. Shaaz has his latest diary entry up, there is a fitness Q&A session and I discuss the need for batting trigger movements.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How important is a trigger movement to your batting success?

To move or to keep still, that is the question.

Almost every first class batsman has a trigger movement of some kind: That shuffle of the feet just before the bowler delivers the ball that gets you into position.  Yet the coaching books are adamant about keeping still.

Who is right?
Should you be using a trigger move?

As with all great cricketing questions the answer is 'it depends'.

Head still, eyes level

Batting, like any ball striking skill, is about being balanced and meeting the ball in perfect coordination with the body's movements. That is what timing is all about.

It all starts as the bowler releases the ball and you have that fraction of a second to decide where the ball is going and what shot you are going to play. This becomes much easier to do if your head is still and your eyes are level.

The ball is already moving, if your head is moving side to side at the same time it takes the brain valuable extra time to predict line and length: Time that can make the difference between sound defence and nicking off first ball.

So it makes perfect sense for coaches to tell you to keep your head still and simply be relaxed and balanced at the crease.

The advantages of trigger movements

To a 10 year old learning to play, keeping still is good advice. It is a fundamental basic of batting that can be confused easily with the complications of triggers.

But there are obvious benefits to a player with the basics down already: Time, rhythm and balance

  • Time. All well executed trigger movement is able to buy you time. You are already halfway to playing a shot before the ball is out of the hand.
  • Rhythm. If you move a little at the right moment your big movement shot becomes easier, almost like you have played a tiny practice shot first to get into the swing of things. Like a metronome ticking back and forth in perfect timing.
  • Balance. A movement pre-delivery can get you onto the balls of your feet with your head over your toes. You are both ready to move but also stable and balanced.

We also know from other sports that a trigger movement helps you focus mentally.

All this is possible without a trigger movement, but is a lot more difficult. The trigger gives you momentum into whatever shot you select.

The problem with trigger movements

Like a lot of newer ideas in cricket, the trigger movement is a misunderstood technique. Yes, it has huge advantages when done correctly but when done wrong you are staring down the barrel of failure.

I think what may happen is that players are influenced by what they see on TV, but attempt to recreate the trigger movements of their heroes without access to high level coaching (or any coaching).

Your setup is crucial and adding or changing a trigger movement out of context can lead to:

  • Loss of rhythm. Moving too early can upset that delicate metronome of rhythm that all good batsmen need.
  • Less time. If you move too late and your head is not still when the ball is delivered it will feel as if the ball is on you much more quickly.
  • Unbalanced. Getting caught off balance when the ball is bowled because you have moved incorrectly will limit your range of shots and timing drastically.

In short, getting a trigger movement right is hard work. When Rob Key adopted one in 2003 he said:

"To get it I had to hit hundreds of balls on freezing mornings at Canterbury three or four times a week on a pretty dodgy surface in an indoor net. I'm a work in progress really, but you have to work hard at something like that because it's not something you can think about when you're batting. It's got to be natural."

Still or moving?
Where does all this leave us?

I think it makes trigger movements a highly personal thing, and not something to be entered into lightly.

First, the basics. No matter what your personal style, to succeed you must have:

  • Head still at the point of delivery
  • Eyes level in your stance and at the point of delivery

If you have not achieved much success with the bat yet my advice is simple: Focus on keeping still for now. It's doubtful the bowling will be of a speed a trigger become more important anyway.

You may have a natural trigger movement. As long as it is not away from the stumps and it gives you confidence then stick with it. If not, focus on keeping still again. Go back to basics.

Most people don't have one naturally and make a conscious decision at some point to adopt one. If you want to do this, remember Rob Key and how much work it took him, a very fine batsman. As long as you are prepared to put in as much work as Rob to do it there are a number of options. Try them out and find a comfortable one, then get to work:

  • Back foot back and across towards off stump, transferring weight back onto the front foot as the ball is bowled.
  • Front foot forward (not across).
  • Widening your stance, back foot back, front foot forward.
  • Taking a pace down the wicket

Generally the back first movements are better for pace and the forward first movements are better for spin. Moving down the wicket is a good strategy to get your feet going but is best avoided every ball, especially when the keeper is standing up.

Bob Woolmer rightly points out the longer you bat in an innings the less you find you need a trigger at all. He also advises that it's impossible to coach as everyone will have something different they find comfortable.

I admit to being sceptical about the need for a trigger at club level at all. Bowlers are not the same standard and the whole thing is prone to going horribly wrong if not taken in context correctly. If you must have one, stick to the basics of being still at the point of delivery. If you are struggling for form look elsewhere to turn it around, a trigger is not the answer.

What are your experiences with trigger movements?

Photo credit: pj_in_oz


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Diary of a future cricket star: Conditioning camp

miCricketCoach reader and cricketer is a 14 year old all rounder who has already played for the UAE Under 15's, Young Talent Cricket Academy and Talent Cricket Club. In the future he plans on a long and illustrious International career. Follow his progress here. You can also find out what he is doing on his twitter page.

This week Shaaz gets a taste of professional fitness training at the UAE Under 17 Conditioning Camp.


Today was the first day of 'Conditioning Camp'. It was fitness and fielding related coordination, mental alertness and concentration drills.

There wasn't much of jogging (our training camps give more importance speed). However, we did lots of dynamic warm-up and most of the exercises were weird and new.

Once we were completely warmed up we did lots of sprints. The coaches timed each one of us, and told us where we stood compared to international standards. We did strengthening exercises, followed by lots of fielding drills.

The first drill was about team work -and it required you to call out players' names to ensure that you did what you were supposed. The other two were on mental toughness. You were supposed to catch the ball in confusing situations. We ended with a cool down.


I didn't get as much sleep as I would've wanted. My thighs, hamstring, back, shoulders: Yeah, it was paining everywhere! I had slept at 11:30 pm and woke up at 6 am to go to school. I had to stay back at school for an extra two hours to write a test. I managed to get some sleep in the evening. That relaxed my back tremendously (I slept with a pillow under my knee).

At the camp, after warm-up and sprints we started with more fielding drills.

We played a game (two teams) where you just kept on backing up and throwing at a single target stump. Then we did fielding and throwing underarm. We were taught the technique picking up the ball at the right spot (just in front of the outside of your right leg if you're right handed) and flicking the wrists (not swinging the arm)  to avoid wasting time. I also found it helpful to align myself with the stump as I ran in to pick the ball. We finished with a cool down.


I didn't manage to get enough sleep once again and had to make up for it in the evening. My back was fine, even though my thighs and hamstrings weren't.

The camp was more fitness. Instead of sprints we were made to do a drill where there were four cones, and three cones had balls placed on top. You just had sprint and place a ball on the empty cone three times until all the balls were on a new cone and then sprint back. We were all timed.

The coaches then showed us exercises we could at home to strengthen various parts of the body. They told us which parts of the body were used while playing cricket and how much was used.

Today was a rest day and a much needed one!
Friday and Saturday

Matches on both days. You can see how I did on my twitter page.

Photo credit: Seema KK

Want to start your own training diary or log? Start one in the miCricketCoach Training Logs section today!

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Q&A: The PitchVision Academy cricket fitness plan

Since I posted version 2 of the PitchVision Academy cricket fitness plan, a few questions have come up, mostly via email. I want to answer those questions today.

If you are using the plan and need to understand a little more about it you can leave your question here. I'll answer anything you need to know.

Anyway, on with the questions:

Q: What type of exercises can I use for bodyweight training?

A:There are a wide variety of exercises using your body only. The trick with these is to pick exercises that can work the whole body when they are put together. You can split it into movements like this:

  • Power: plyometric press ups, jump squats, scissors jumps.
  • Pushing:  press ups (several variations), dips, handstand press ups.
  • Pulling: chin ups, inverted rows.
  • Knee dominant: squats (several variations), single leg squats, lunges.
  • Hip Dominant: cook hip lift, glute bridges, single leg deadlifts.
  • Core: Planks, side planks, crunch variations, leg raises
  • Full body: burpees, crawling.

There are many more, some more focused on mobility, others on strength but the key is to do 1-3 exercises from each movement so your whole body is covered.

If you want a complete program, turbulence training follows this approach and has a complete bodyweight section that you can do almost anywhere.

Q: How is interval running different from acceleration training?

A: Simply, interval training is mainly designed for developing sport specific endurance (or work capacity). A full explanation is here. Acceleration training is a type of speed work designed to improve your ability to get to top speed quickly.

Both these will improve with general training, particularly strength and mobility. However, specific acceleration training can easily be done in a field with a few cones or markers.

Its best done in pairs so you can examine your sprint technique. Mark out a short distance (10-15m or so). Set yourself at the start line. On a cue from your partner, aim to cover the distance as fast as possible, accelerating through the second marker.

It's important to get a full recovery so leave at least 2 minutes between attempts.

Variations on this include:

  • Changing start position (lying, sideways, backwards, walking in)
  • Wearing batting equipment
  • Racing others
  • Adding a ball as a cue (i.e. Try to catch it on the second bounce)

Make it a game and they can be a lot of fun, especially when the competitive side comes out!

Keep acceleration sessions short but intense with 5 sets of sprints. Always do them at the start of a training session (after warming up) but you can integrate it in to other training types if you want.

Q: What is steady state running and how does it differ from interval training?

A:Steady state running is simply jogging. So if you were to go on a jog you would want to run about 15-20 minutes nonstop (after a suitable warm up) this helps with reduction of body fat and increases in aerobic capacity. It's not very specific or efficient to do this so it is reserved for the deep off season when the least specific work is done.

This type of training can also include 'long intervals' where you run for 5-10 minutes and walk/jog for 2-3 minutes.

Most cricket endurance training is done via the various shorter interval methods as it is more specific. The main difference between the two types is rest. With steady state you never stop, even if you just drop to walking pace. With intervals you stop between sets.

Q: Can you give me an example circuit session/simple set/super set workout for fast bowlers?

A:I have lumped all these into one question to make it easier to answer.

First, let me explain each method:

  • Circuit training is a good way of improving all round fitness and is very time efficient. Typically you move between 5-8 exercises with no rest. After the last exercise you rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat for a given number of 'circuits'.
  • Simple set training is the classic gym weights workout. You pick you exercises, how many times you want to lift the weight (rep) and how many times you want to repeat the lift (set). The classic example is the Stronglifts 5x5.
  • Super set training is a variation on simple set. You still have exercises in sets and reps but you pair two different (usually opposite) exercises together and do them without rest. This saves time and gives a slightly different effect.

I'm reserving the actual workouts for the PitchVision Academy. This is because there are too many variables (equipment, time available) to be able to cover it all in one article. The fitness section is written by a first class county strength and conditioning coach and will give you position specific workouts.

You can do all these training types with dumbbells or a barbell. Mix in some bodyweight stuff if you like but still stick to the exercises based on movements:

  • Power
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Knee dominant
  • Hip Dominant
  • Core
  • Full body

If you want sample exercises for this I recommend the excellent Men's Health Book of Power Training which has over 300 pages of exercises to put into circuits, simple or super sets, sorted by movement type. It's a brilliant resource.

Q: I don’t have access to a fitness trainer, can I still do Olympic lifts?

A: Olympic lifting (OL) is a very good way of developing speed, strength and power for cricket. You are moving weights with great speed and coordination which translates well to batting, bowling and fielding.

The problem is that they are very hard to learn. It's dangerous to do OL without proper coaching so forget about attempting power cleans or snatches without a coach. That said you can still get a great deal of benefits by using the safer OL variations.

Variations are a single part of full OL, so are safer but still allow you to perform explosive movements and get the benefits. You can safely perform the following moves without a coach (although you may want a training partner to watch your form):

  • Squat jump (with and without weight)
  • Hang jump shrug
  • Clean pull
  • High pull

All cricketers serious about improving their fitness should have some variation in there as the power generation benefits are very applicable to cricket. For explanations and pictures of these take a look at the Men's Health Book of Power Training.

That's all the questions about the cricket fitness plan for now. If you have any yourself you can post them here for me to answer.

Image credit: reemer

If you want a more comprehensive guide to reducing injury risk and increasing cricket specific fitness, check out county strength coach Rob Ahmun's guide on PitchVision Academy.


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Free video reveals how bowling 3 different lines can get you more wickets

There are a variety of different lines and lengths to bowl. Many club bowlers sick doggedly to the 'corridor of uncertainty'.

While this is a good area to bowl, Sticking to one line and length reduces you chance of wickets.

In this short video, I show you how to adapt your bowling to different situations.

This "situational" style bowling will give you better results.

Field Settings: Right arm fast, inswing, new ball, fast wicket, long format

This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.

The fast bowling inswing field is even more rare than the outswing field, however it can be effective for a genuinely fast bowler (at club level that is around 80mph or 129kph) on a pitch that is very quick.


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: 21
Date: 2008-11-14