Pitchvision Academy


It's a star-studded newsletter this week with articles from Tom Matcham on how to bowl at 100mph, Hampshire staffer Iain Brunnschweiler has drills and we catch up with a video of Mark Garaway.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

2 Drills to Make Training Specific and Fun

This is a guest article from Iain Brunnschweiler, former professional player and a coach at Hampshire and England’s Development Programme.

How many times are you involved in a session which is just 'a hit in the nets', or 'taking a few high catches?

That is just not good enough. And I have found that players can transfer skills much more easily into match situations, if they are really specific in a training environment.

I think that it is vital that you ask yourself very honestly "What am I looking to get out of this session?" If you do not already have a good answer to this, (other than those mentioned in the first paragraph!), then I suggest that you actually stop and think before you start the training.

A couple of examples of this are below;

Running in Nets

In the nets, rather than just hitting balls, the batters can look to develop their ability to take low risk singles, in a one-day match scenario.

Gaps for singles are signified by two markers of the same colour, once the bowlers have set their field. The session works best if you have bowlers of a similar fashion bowling together, so that there are similar and realistic gaps for the batsmen.

This could be, for example, a gap for a ball hit between backward point and straight cover, a gap between wide mid-on and square leg, as well as gaps at third man and fine leg - the sort of gaps which may be present in a standard one day field.

Having two batters playing together adds even more value to this session, as they can call properly, and run properly between the wickets.

In this way, the batters have specific targets they are working towards, which are realistic in a one-day scenario, as well as having the same sort of physical load they could expect when batting in a match.

Even if this was the only change you made to net practice, I guarantee that if you do it properly you will quickly see a positive effect upon your batters abilities to rotate the strike.

Boundary rope awareness

One of my favourite practices, and always a great hit with players of every age, is doing some boundary rope awareness catching.

Now this might sound confusing, but it is a very simple and highly effective training drill, which can have a hugely positive effect upon taking important catches close to the rope.

In order to do this properly, you need to have either a rope laid out, or a chalk line on the floor to signify the boundary. Failing that, you can use markers of some sort, as long as it is very obvious where the boundary line is.

Get someone to stand a similar distance away from the rope as the striking batsmen would be in a game, and then split the catchers into two groups, about 30m apart.

Hit a high catch right in the middle of the two catchers (at the front of each queue), preferably one which would just go for six if not touched. The two players both have to run towards the ball, communicate who is going to attempt to make the catch, and then try to catch it! Two thing will happen, firstly the player taking the catch will have to be aware of the boundary so that they can get set appropriately. Secondly, you will hopefully have the odd occasion when the primary catcher takes the catch, but is heading over the rope, and has to chuck it back in for their partner to try and catch!

This is great fun and is brilliant for the communication and awareness of both players. Once players are good at this skill, simply taking a straightforward catch on the boundary becomes a thing of ease.

So, to summarise, there are many, many ways you can make training specific, with batting, bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping drills. If you really think about the areas that either you, or your players need to work on, then you will be able to get much better, much more quickly, if you train specifics. Give it a go!

For loads more training ideas, have a look at The Inspired Cricket Manual, available as an instant download eBook here.

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Cricket Coaching Case Study: How Millfield Solved its Practice Problems

If you want to improve cricketers you need practice regularly and monitor your performance.

That’s been the challenge of Millfield School and Mark Garaway the school’s Director of Cricket Coaching: even for a top English independent school, that has produced some fine first class players Simon Jones, Craig Kieswetter, Ben Hollioake and David Graveney.

The facilities are excellent, but there are still challenges to further boost the boy’s performances at the school.

First, despite a lot of indoor facilities being available, they are all multi-purpose and heavily used for lots of sports. Second, there was no way to objectively track improvements.

The solution was the unique cricket “bubble”

The bubble changed outdoor artificial nets into an indoor centre. Kept afloat by two airlocks the roof protects players from the elements and allows for high temperature training ideal for fitness and players going to play on the sub-continent.

Cricketers at the school can now get in quality deliberate practice year round.

The bubble also contains the school’s PitchVision ball-tracking system, which solves problem number two at a stroke.

Over to Mark Garaway for more information:

Having a tool like PitchVision adds huge value to the players; we can be more concise and build valuable plans for each player.

Garaway is a big advocate of using technology to enable players to gain more knowledge about their performance.

A lot of what we do is about getting players to understand what they can and can’t do. PitchVision helps illustrate that very nicely; ball by ball

The system is located in the bubble but can easily be taken outside to the grass nets or even a centre wicket practice which is also important for Garaway.

Having a system as versatile as PitchVision is a massive positive the guys love training on grass and the system can come with us.

The experiences at the school show that it is now affordable for organisations to solve their issues with creative use of technology.

Find out more here:

As tech becomes more widespread and affordable, other schools like Millfield, alongside clubs and acadamies will realise that training quality is improved when it's combined with excellent coaching.

How is your coaching being influenced by technology?

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Cricket Show 176: 100mph Bowling

Download the show to get the latest in cricket playing and coaching advice from Mark Garaway, David Hinchliffe and Burners.

This week the team tackle 100mph bowling, causing and stopping a batting collapse, and quick decision-making as captain.


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How Finger Spin can Push RPM into the Red

Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here.

Finger spinners spin with their fingers. And so, they cannot generate as much spin as a leggies.

How to Bowl at 161kph

This is a guest article from Tom Matcham

No country can consistently produce fast bowlers.


It’s clearly desirable and clearly possible: the West Indies proved this in the 1980s. With all the science and coaching effort being put into understanding cricket, why do we understand bowling so poorly?

We are not training our bowlers correctly. We have not learnt enough from older, wiser sports, and this is evident in our variable results.

In fact, bowling over 161kph should not be a particularly exceptional achievement.


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.

4 Angles


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Issue: 217
Date: 2012-08-24