Pitchvision Academy


Cricket is the most frustrating sport. So much can go wrong and it often does. Yet you feel you are always one or two changes from everything 'clicking' and you hitting the form of your life.

And when you hit your stride, everything becomes so easy you wonder what the fuss is about.

So, in this week's show we look at some frustrations and how to overcome them, including bowling spin, batting against a good bowler and getting over fear.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

4 Fixes to Stop You Bowling Full

Menno Gazendam, author of the popular Spin Bowling Project book, begins a new weekly column on spin bowling. To keep up to date with Menno's advice subscribe to the newsletter. Please welcome Menno to the fold!

As a spinner there are times when you cannot seem to land the ball on the pitch for all money.

The main problem with this (besides that you are probably being hammered around the park), is that the ball cannot spin. And if it does spin, well, then you have become a slow bowler and you cannot call yourself a spinner anymore.

Here are four fixes though:


1. Look at where you want to bowl

Don’t look at the batsman or the stumps when you bowl, but rather at the spot where you want to pitch the ball. You are much more likely to hit your target when focusing on it.

2. Pivot

Make sure you get nice and high on that front foot when you bowl. You want to bowl down from a high height and not up from a low height. Bowling from high up makes it easier to get the ball down onto the spot you want.

3. Quicker arm speed

You must have a quick arm speed. The magic happens when you have a quick arm speed and a bowl that comes out slow. It means the ball will drift and dip with all the energy you put into the revolutions of the ball.

A slow arm speeds indicates you are straining to place the ball on a spot (a sign of nerves). It will not dip that way and most likely be a full toss.

4. Spin harder

The more spin you have on the ball the more it will drift and dip. The dip will make the ball go up above the batsman’s eyes and then fall short of a good length. So, you will also fool the batsman as it will look like a full toss to him, only to drop short on him.

For more detailed spin bowling advice, tips, tricks, tactics and training drill for spinners, get the Spin Bowling Project onine coaching course.

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The Story of Spin: How to be Adaptable with Bat and Ball

The word that sprung to mind watching South Africa’s 2012 win at the Oval against England was 'clinical'.

The one thing that was evident to me was the the South African batters adaption their individual games in order to counteract England’s spin talisman, Graeme Swann. Here are the tactics they used so well, and what the off-spinner could have done to prevent their success.


Get outside the line of off stump

Graeme Smith moved himself onto an off-stump guard, aiming to make contact with the ball with either bat or pad outside the line of off-stump.

Swann has dominated left-handers for the past 3 years by pitching the ball on off stump and bringing LBW’s and Bowled dismissals into play more than any other spin bowler in recent times.

Smith was able to use this starting position in conjunction with his strong leg side preference to push the ball into gaps in front and behind square on the leg side. Swann rarely bowled enough balls at the South African captain to put him under sustained pressure.

Learn from the other guy

Hashim Amla continued his great form with a career best 311 not out. He followed his captain and got himself outside the line of off stump to intercept Graham Swann and keep DRS from having an impact on the game.

This also suited Amla as his legside game is strong and his wrists enable him to tuck the ball past short leg and in front of square to pick up regular runs.

The only time Swann countered this tactic was when he bowled around the wicket at Amla, who then sat back on his stumps and used the slowness of the pitch to great effect, waiting for Swann to lose patience.

What can the off spinner do?

Shift in Line: With the LBW being taken out of the equation by left-handed Smith, Swann needed to bring his slip and off side fielders into play earlier. He shifted his plan to Smith when he was on 90 and by that time it was too late. The South African Captain could adapt easily, as he was set and on the brink of a 100.

On reflection, I am sure that Swann would have shifted his line earlier, bought the little rough outside of off stump into play earlier and asked the left-hander to hit through his less favoured off side.

Slow his pace down: The pitch was very dry and abrasive, we could see that from the reverse swing that Dale Steyn was able to get early in each innings.

Spinners need to bowl the ball slower on dry surfaces in order to keep the ball on the surface for longer, thus allowing the revolutions to take effect and the ball to break.

Swann operated around 52-54 mph for most of the Test and did not get the big spin that the slower Tahir was able to extract later in the game. Swann spins the ball at 2000-2200 rpm, yet those revolutions were unable to take effect because of the pace of the ball when it hit the playing surface.

Change the angle to the right-handers: It was good to see Swann bowl from around the wicket at Amla with 2 slips in place, but can this be done earlier next time round? It brings the LBW back into play as well as both sides of the bat thus increasing the wicket-taking threat. This tactic is especially good when there is still some hardness in the ball as the bounce keeps the slips in the game. This may be a good tactic on the less spin friendly Headingley wicket next time out

Are there things in here that you can apply to your team's batting and bowling games when the time is right and the challenge of the game or surface allows?

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Cricket Show 172: Going Through the Gears

David Hinchliffe is joined by Mark Garaway and Burners to discuss cricket from Kohli's run of success to Burner's club experiences.

Topics on the table this week include barefoot trainers, going through the gears as a one-day batsman, high vs. low backlifts (as discussed by Kevin Pietersen in his online coaching course) and the order for shots when coaching young cricketers.

Plus we announce the competition winner and give you Burner's Soapbox and a tale of Micheal Vaughan's public embarrassment.


How to Send in Your Questions

If you want to win a cricket coaching prize, you need to send in your burning questions to the show.

If your question is the best one we give you a free online cricket coaching course!

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Is This One Word Stopping You From Becoming a Cricketer?

If you had to put cricket into one word, what would you choose?

Some say it's about angles. Others talk about hand-eye coordination, or athleticism. All those things are important but I would choose a different word.

74 Tips for Senior Club Cricketers

This guide for senior club cricketers aged over 18 is of a series of introductory guides to PitchVision Academy, for the full list click here.

You are over 18 and playing regular serious non-professional adult cricket. There is a formal league structure and you play against your peers, overseas and semi-pro players. This category also includes serious University cricket below first-class standard.


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.

Bowl Faster


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Issue: 213
Date: 2012-07-27