Pitchvision Academy


Watching the ball is a mantra as old as cricket coaching itself. But what if it is not true?

This week Mark Garaway delves into the world of vision and reaches a suprising conclusion that will change the way coaches look at looking at the ball.

Plus we examine tournament coaching and net practice from the great Bishan Bedi. And if you are one of the billion or so people who aspire to playing international cricket then you will want to learn how to get the heard start on the other 999,999,999,999. The shortcut is in this week's newsletter.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Should You Tell Batsmen to Watch the Ball?


"Watch the ball closely!"

How many times have you - and I - uttered those immortal words?

It is great information.

For some of our cricketers; but not all of them.


Research has show that it's about a 50/50 split. Many batsmen will benefit from looking hard at the ball and picking out details (the seam for example); a narrow focus. But at least half will be better with a softer focus on the ball, allowing it to come into their vision rather than forcing themselves to focus hard; a peripheral focus.

How do you determine which category each player is in?

Listen to your batters when they have played well against spin and you will either hear them say either:

"I really watched the ball closely today and could see which way it was spinning from the seam rotations."

or conversely:

"I picked his googly well today as he did something different with his wrist at the bottom of his bowling circle."

Someone who benefits from a narrow focus will say the former. Or something very similar at least.

Someone with a preference for peripheral vision will say the latter.

We all have a preference for one over the other. Using the correct focus makes your batsmen more balanced and more likely to make quicker and better decisions.

The problem comes with a lack of correct visual preference. The narrow focus player gets distracted by things other than the finer details, or broader vision person tries to focus in hard on the seam.

The quick test above is a good start to finding out which focus is best, but here are some more detailed tests you can ask players to complete:

  1. Experiment between the two kinds of focus. Have a net against bowlers where you only do one and the next net do the opposite style of focus.
  2. Rate your movement efficiency for each session
  3. Rate your decision making effectiveness for each session
  4. Speak with the bowlers and get their views on performance in these two parameters
  5. If you are being objective and you have been consistent with keeping you focus the same for each ball then there will be a clear winner.

Better still, have each player bat for 30 balls in each visual style and log the player's assessment of each shot against the movement efficiency and decision making effectiveness.

I'm sure this challenges the approach that you have used in the past. I know it has with me. I learned why my words and practices worked for one person and didn't for another.

Start applying it like I did and become a better coach.

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How to Coach at Tournaments

Gary Palmer's CCM Academy often plays at tournments with a lot of games in a short time.

As a coach this tests your skills in different ways to weekly coaching sessions and matches.

Watch the video below to find out how Gary handles the challenges including:

  • Handling Practice Sessions with Tired Players
  • Helping to Teach Player Lifestyle Management
  • Dealing with Different Characters
  • Room Sharing Issues
  • The Role of the Coach in Tournaments

Click here to watch the video now.

If you would like to experience Gary's coaching, CCM Academy is currently recruiting for the 2012-13 intake. Places are limited.

The ultimate goal of the Cricket Coach Master Academy is to take a limited and select squad of talented, aspiring cricketers who have a desire to become a professional cricketer and shape them into quality county level players.

The Academy provides a specific and proven intensive cricket coaching programme delivered throughout the year by Gary Palmer, together with his dedicated coaching team.

The CCM Academy provides a world class coaching programme concentrating on mastering the basics and fine tuning of skills. This will allow players to fulfill their potential and perform at the highest level.

The Academy consists of two Senior groups (15-20 year olds) and one Junior group (12-14 year olds) each having a 15 session programme of coaching throughout the winter followed by an exclusive fixture list against First Class County sides throughout the Summer.

"Gary Palmer's broad knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious. His ideas are innovative. In my capacity as head coach of Middlesex CCC I have used Gary on several occasions. I would fully recommend Gary to anyone looking for a top cricket coach." John Emburey, Middlesex and England

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Cricket Show 185: Challenging Conventions

The team are back to discuss fast bowling actions, bowling partnerships and getting angry as a bowler.

Plus Martin Gleeson of Cricket India Academy chats about the differences between Indian and Australian coaches.


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:

UK +44 (0) 208 816 7691

AUST: +61 (02) 8005 7925

USA: +1 347 722 1981

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How to Play Cricket for India

How do you make your debut for India at age 27?

If we look at the stories of every player who has made it to the India side in the last 5 years, there is one element that is common.

This element is the same from the spin of Ashwin to the batting of Kohi. It never changes regardless of fielding skill, personality or potential.

So if you want to be the next Sharma, Rahane or anyone else you need to know this element.

It's the only way to pull on the shirt.

What is it?

To understand it, let's go back to the first time Sachin picked up a bat.

What Bishan Bedi Can Teach You About Nets

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

The great Indian bowler Bishan Bedi use to bowl for endless hours non-stop on his own in the nets.

But none of it was mindless. It always had a purpose and it made him one of the finest spinners who ever lived. And his methods are still just as relevant today as they were when he played because the way to develop skill as a spinner has not changed.

So how did he approach practice?


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: 226
Date: 2012-10-26