Pitchvision Academy


We have a couple of cutting-edge drills for you this week. One from Mark Garaway on distance hitting, and one to help fast bowlers with a no ball problem.

We also look at short leg for spinners and the on drive.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Batting Drill: Driving Range Hitting


Here is a drill that provides huge gains in distance, power, placement and tactical awareness for all of your batters.

The inspiration comes from the golf driving range. It got me thinking about how we could apply a similar concept to the practice of batting skills.

Here is the range driving drill.


Basic drill set up


You will need:

  • Bowling machine (preferably with a protective stand for the feeder)
  • Lots of bowling machine balls
  • 30 plastic cones to make up target zones

The 3 coned off areas are the safe zones on a cricket field for good trajectory cricket shots (over the bowlers head/over straight mid-wicket/over extra cover).

These areas are generally unguarded, therefore, if a player becomes effective at hitting these areas then he/she can hit them with a significant margin for error in their favour. As long as you clear the inner ring then even the worst hit shots into these areas are worth 2 runs.

How many times do you see well hit shots to deep mid-off and deep mid-on result in dismissals? Precise practice in missing these fielders result in maximal performance.

Full toss hitting

To start, deliver 45-50mph (Under 16's) or 60mph (16+) full tosses into half way up middle stump and ask the striker to hit as many balls into the coned circles as they can. Give no technical instruction at is point as often the player will work it out for themselves after a few goes.

Count the number of balls in the bucket and asking the batter to keep a tally of the number of balls that end up going into or over the target areas.

Divide the number of successes by the number of balls in the bucket, multiply that by 100 and you have the Success%. Make a note of the score and track the progress of the player as he/she works through the buckets of balls and through the drill progressions.

Once the player is used to this drill and has increased their Success%, then you can move on.

First, increase the pace of the full toss within reasonable and safe parameters. Then you can lower the height of the full toss; this makes the player work harder to access the coned target areas

Half volley hitting

The next progression is to set the bowling Machine to hit a half volley length and ask the player to hit the same 3 areas.

Inform the player that they do not necessarily have to stand on the crease in a conventional manner, they have license to roam. For example, deeper in the crease to use the upward bounce of the ball to get under it and launch balls.

Again, keep a Success%. The fact that the ball bounces in this drill often means that the Success% progress is slower than the previous drill, stick with it: Rome wasn't built in a day!

When this is mastered you can then build up to throwdowns or Sidearm as the natural variation in lengths (with a human throwing) simulates exactly what you are going to get in the game.

Keep a track on the Success%.

Again, the increased task difficulty often means that numerous sessions are needed to mirror the successes on the bowling machine. This is normal, so stick with it.

We worked through a couple of these progressions when I was coaching in Finland and the rate of progress was outstanding: A real confidence boost going into a tournament.

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Bowling Drills: Don't be Like Sreesanth, Make No Balls a Thing of The Past

The no ball is the bane of the fast bowler. Just ask Sreesanth, who is infamous for overstepping.

You charge in, trying to exert every last ounce of pace onto the ball, finally get the edge you want into the keeper's gloves.

And the umpire calls the dread two words; "no ball!"

The worst part of it is that although you only have yourself to blame, you have no idea how it happened.

It's a terrible habit, but like all habits it can be broken.

You just need the cricket equivalent of a nicotine patch for a smoker; you apply it and - with a bit of work - the problem fades.

And you never have to see the umpire raise his arm to the side again.

So what is the patch you need?

Stop ingraining the bad habit

The first step is to make the effort.

You will be surprised how many bowlers go into nets and ignore the front foot line. Many over-step by a long way.

Maybe it's because most bowlers can bowl like that in practice and be fine in games. Maybe it's born from the shortened run up you get in indoor nets.

Whatever your reason, it has to stop. You have to make a conscious effort to land your foot somewhere between the bowling crease and the popping-crease.

Which leads us nicely onto the second point; you don't even need to get close to the line, you have some room to move.

Pace bowlers try to get to the line to make them seem fast. The reality is that the batsman can't tell the difference in pace unless you are a long way back. Ask one of your top batters at the next practice if they notice, they will tell you it's not even on their radar.

So aim to land your whole foot behind the line and you have several inches of "overstep" with which to play.

Your patch is applied and your problem goes away.

Track your improvement

The problem is that you wont see things vanish right away, and while you improve it's impossible for you to monitor where your feet are landing.

So you can use PitchVision to track it for you.

Place fabric crease sensor at the popping crease line end of the pitch. Like the picture below, you can see the sensor is large enough to detect a foot along way behind the crease. This is what you want.

In the PitchVision software on your laptop, use the Front Foot report to look into the exact landing spot of your foot (and anyone else who is bowling).

The report will track how many times you bowl a no ball. Over time, this number will drop to zero.

But the key is still the no ball. You will be surprised how quickly the problem stops when you have the motivation of every ball you bowl being watched by the silent electronic 'umpire'.

If you need even more incentive, every no ball you bowl in practice also gives the batter a free hit the next ball you bowl.

More on this drill in the video below:

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Cricket Show 177: Indian World Champions (Again)

With India becoming Under-19 World Champions alongside the senior win, we look at the future of Indian cricket and the influence of the IPL. Plus there is follow up on taking stumpings, and a quickfire comparison the chances of success for a young player in a full member nation vs. affiliate countries.

We also open the mailbag and answer questions on spinning the ball from a leg spinner, and implicit vs. explicit coaching.


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!

Send in your questions via:

Or you can call and leave your question on the Academy voice mail:

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Ryan Maron Batting Tips: On Drive

This interactive diagram is part of a series from Ryan Maron's Cricket School of Excellence. This time we look at back foot defence. To see Ryan's previous tips, click here.

Ryan Maron - the former Western Province player - is one of South Africa’s leading coaches, running his famous Cricket School of Excellence in Cape Town for over 10 years as well as being Head coach of the University of Cape Town.

Why a Short Leg is Like A Delicious Dessert

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


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: 218
Date: 2012-08-31