Pitchvision Academy


As the last newsletter of 2012, we take a look back at the year in one direction while striving forward for more in the next 12 months.

We talk about dreaming, doing, success and advice to Santa. It's been a great year for us and we hope the next 365 are going to be just as great for you.

Happy New Year,

David Hinchliffe

Dreamer or Doer: How to Match Dreams to Actions


Are you a dreamer or a doer?

The dreamer thinks big. He may be years away, but he sees himself playing for India. He is desperate to pull on the jersey and feel the adulation of the crowd when he makes his first international hundred. It is his passion.

The doer is more granular. He thinks about the simple processes of playing cricket. He focuses on technique and tactical nous. He is thinking about the next physical action.

Neither of these approaches are wrong, but the both also miss a step if they are serious about planning for an international debut.

Think it through

Neither approach has taken the essential step of thinking through the goal.

The dreamer is so focused on the big prize he has no time to define a realistic outcome that he can achieve in the next few weeks and months.

The doer is so busy on the small parts he hasn't thought through what success really looks like.

And so for both, the answer is to take some time away from their view and think on another level.

This thinking is important.

For the dreamer it's important because it clarifies your thoughts and aims and turns them into specific action that you can take.

For the doer this thinking helps you put a 'stake in the ground' about where you will be when you have completed all those specific actions.

However, most people avoid this level of thinking for one simple reason; it's scary.

When you step away and think you confront questions like;

  • Is my aim realistic?
  • Do I know what to do?
  • Am I taking the right steps?

You may find the answers don't match your view of the world, and that is never pretty. That's what has been referred to as 'the risk of the visionary'.

But take that risk, because clarity of vision allows you to focus on a realistic goal. And we all know the power of focus.

How to think

What does this thinking process look like?

Start with a pen and paper. You need to get everything down.

Then ask yourself what do you need to do to make your ambition come true.

You have to let your brain run free through all the possibilities so don't make a list. That's too organised and doesn't match how you plan natually.

Instead just think freely, write topics on the page as you think of them. Use brainstorming to throw ideas out without judging.

With everything out of your brain you can start to organise these thoughts into a list of actions to take.

These actions are your stepping stones towards your ambitions, and it's the thinking that links the dreaming to the doing.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Spin Bowling Grip: It's All About Comfort, Not Convention

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

Why is Ajantha Mendis one of only 3 international bowlers to ever use the Iverson style grip?

And why is Graham Swann the only international off spinner to grip the ball using the lower knuckle on the middle finger to impart spin?

Because it's just not comfortable bowling with those grips.


Unique grips are everywhere, because the most important thing with grips is that you must be comfortable. No matter how the grip actually looks.

As long as the game of cricket has been played spin bowlers have used unique grips. Maybe they were not all as obviously different as a Mendis or an Paul Adams, but the amount of variations in grips is almost as numerable as all the spinners that have played the game.

There is no standard grip - orthodox, maybe - but no standard.

Coaching manuals love to show you the 'correct' way of gripping a delivery. This kills creativity. Coaching manuals should rather show the different ways in which you can grip the ball.

And if they show just one method then they must label it 'orthodox' and not 'correct'.

Orthodox is simply the grip most people find comfortable.


But not everyone.

And anyway, success is not determined by type grip you use

It's what you do with your grip that will decide if batsmen fear you or lick their lips when you come on.

How to find a comfortable grip

When trying to find your grip, simply go for what feel comfortable. Remember though, your grip must enable you to comfortably spin the ball hard.

Do not worry if you do not grip the ball like your coach thinks you should. Or think you must grip the ball like Graham Swann just because he is so successful.

The only criteria when I consult a spin bowler is to ensure the ball feels comfortable in his hands.

If this stop him from spinning the ball I will step in.

But, if the ball is fizzing from a spinner’s hand then I could care less which finger he uses to impart the spin.

For more detailed spin bowling advice, tips, tricks, tactics and training drill for spinners in all formats of cricket, get the Spin Bowling Project free 8 week email coaching course.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

5 Golden Rules of Success from Professional Cricket

This archive article was published in 2008. Republished today with an edit to bring it up to date.

Whether you aspire to play at professional level or not, there are many things you can learn from first class players.

Professional players rely on their form for a living. Without it they would be out of a job. More often than not that means they are doing everything they can to stay on top of their game. You can apply some of this determination to improve your results.

What does this look like?

1. Do something every day

Professional cricket has the luxury of being able to focus on cricket every day. Whether this is playing, training or hitting the gym. You may not have as much time.

But you can still do something every day to improve your game.  Visualisation takes less than 20 minutes, a trip to the gym is an hour.

Training is a little longer but with creativity and application you can do the same as the pros in spirit at least.

Ask yourself every week: Am I doing something every day in the coming week to improve my game?

3. Know what works for you

Top players range hugely in personality and habits. Most successful cricketers know what works for them and what doesn't. England's Alec Stewart was famous for eating grilled chicken breasts and having early nights. Other players might prefer a couple of drinks to relax of an evening.

As long as your routine is allowing you to score runs or take wickets there is no sense in changing things.

This also applies to what happens during the game.

According to his autobiography, ex-England captain Nasser Hussain was very nervous waiting to bat, but it allowed him to get his mind ready for the task and he often scored runs at crucial times. His team mate Michael Atherton, also very successful, used to read the paper and take his mind off the game totally to relax.

The point is, find out what works for you and stick with it.

4. Look like a professional

No matter how dishevelled and untidy a professional is off the field, when they train and play they look the part.

They are fortunate to have fresh kit supplied on demand, where you probably have to pay for your own whites and washing bill. That should not stop you looking your best on the pitch. Laundered and ironed whites and clean equipment put you in a professional frame of mind.

If you have ever experienced the difference in feeling between slipping on a fresh shirt and one that has been left unloved in a kitbag for a week you know what I mean.

Take the time to look good on the field and you will feel a little more like a professional cricketer.

5. Cope with failure

Failure is inevitable in cricket. Even Bradman got out for a duck in his last innings. Professionals learn to cope with this quickly.

Good players remind themselves that mistakes happen and don't let it get to them. They know that a mistake does not mean you will lose the game. You or someone else can still perform exceptionally to make up for the error.

Good pros are also quick to help players who have made mistakes.

A few positive words at the right moment can make all the difference to a player who is dwelling on their error. There is certainly no rule that says you can't do the same.

6. Use social support

As part of a team, the professional has access to good social support. Other players know what he or she is going through and can help each other.

Granted, this help might often just come in light hearted relief such as practical jokes or shared ribbing of someone else. However, strong bonds are also formed in the dressing room waiting to bat or for it to stop raining.

On the other hand, you may only see an occasional team mate once a year. You need to make up the difference. That's where online support comes in handy. PitchVision Academy's exclusive course forums exist in part to give support to you. In fact, the slightly more anonymous feeling of online help can get you to open up more than 'in real life'.

But whatever support you go for, make sure you have some way of venting your frustrations and making your goals more public with like-minded souls (it's been proven to improve your chances of reaching them).

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Here's the Advice I Gave Santa This Christmas

Santa doesn't play or coach much cricket. I know because he told me one one of our regular updates to him about my kid's "naughty or nice" status.

But I told him he should give it a go.

Think about it, he's the perfect opening batsman. Sure he is overweight by modern standards but anyone who has the stamina to ride a sleigh all night, clamber up and down chimneys and lug that huge sack around would find scoring a hundred a cinch.

So I said to Santa that he should consider trying a few games when the Christmas break is over.

Cricket Show: Best of 2012

The PitchVision Academy Cricket Show is on a Christmas break, but there is still the archive if you still need advice from the team.

So, here are my favourite episodes of 2012 for you to catch up.


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.

New PV Courses


Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 235
Date: 2012-12-28