Pitchvision Academy


The newsletter is leaning towards fitness this week what with the gyms filling up with people hopeful of a fitter year. There is plenty for you this week if you are in that camp.

If you want other content we also have spin bowling tips and a poignant moment from Mark Garaway that makes you think.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How Club Mentors Launch International Careers


In my first ever article I wrote about my early coaching influences which started at Ventnor Cricket Club on the Isle of Wight.

On Christmas Day I heard the news that one of those mentors from VCC had sadly passed away earlier that morning.

Malcolm Sketchley was one of my heroes.

His extensive knowledge of seam bowling, slower balls, different ways of holding the ball to get different responses from the seam and surface was legendary and 'Sketch' was always happy to pass on that knowledge to young cricketers.

I'm not sure if he ever knew how far his influence spread.

In 2006, a young man called Stuart Broad started to play ODI Cricket for England. Instantly, the two of us got along pretty well and we started to discuss tactics and different deliveries that would keep Broady in the game on flat wickets around the world.

One of those deliveries was a cross-seam ball that would either hit the seam and stand up on the batter, or hit the smooth leather and skid-on bringing LBW and bowled into play. This delivery became particularly useful in sub-continent conditions as the batters would be making contact with the ball at different points thus reducing their control and creating wicket taking opportunities.

Broady became our best exponent of that particular delivery and he learnt to mix it in with his other options brilliantly. He used this ball alongside his slower ball bouncer to great effect as England won their first ever World Event in 2010

'Sketch' taught me the cross-seam delivery when I was 11.

'Sketch' talked about consistency in length being the more important than line a long time before analysts started to present the numbers to support that view and the 'wobble ball' was a variation which 'Sketch' demonstrated to young bowlers way before Stuart Clark bamboozled England with it in the 2006/7 Ashes.

'Sketch' wasn't a tracksuit coach.

In-fact, he didn't consider himself to be a coach at all. He did all his mentoring in the pavilion, or down the local pub.

He taught me that you can learn as much, if not more, about this awesome game outside of coaching sessions and matches.

Those times with 'Sketch' led me to seek out opportunities to learn from knowledgable people in less formal environments.

As a result, I have been fortunate enough to share significant time with thinkers like Botham, Marshall, Ponting, Warne, Smith, Vaughan, Fletcher and Woolmer. Each informal conversation adding new understanding and strategy that I could then use within my coaching sessions with talented cricketers.

Rest in Peace 'Big Sketch' and thankyou for being a great team-mate and advisor to the young 'Garas'. You will be sorely missed.

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Cricket Show: Series 4, Episode 1

The 4th season Cricket Show kicks off with a blast into 2013, and it's set to be the best series yet as we head towards our 200th show.

Burners, David Hinchliffe and Mark Garaway talk about the real way to make changes and why resolutions are not the best place to start. But it is a new year and people's minds turn to fitness so we also answer your questions on resistance bands and training late at night.

Remember, you can participate in the show, improve your cricket and win a prize!


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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USA: +1 347 722 1981

How to Listen to the Show

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Or, the show comes out every Friday and you can listen to it on your computer, mp3 player, smart phone, iPad or other tablet every week automatically.

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You can also download this show onto your computer by clicking the play button at the top of the article, or clicking on the mp3 to download.


This is show number 194.

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How to Bowl Spin on a Flat Pitch

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

Why would anyone prepare pitches that do not take any spin?

It's a great loss for the game when the beauty of spin bowling is neutralised by flat pitches. It is a modern day trend at the top level cricket that will hopefully change.


Luckily, at club level the pitch usually just is what it is.

No groundsmen spent weeks preparing it to the exact specifications of the home team. And so, you will find more turning pitches at lower levels than at top levels.

Yet, it does happen that you arrive at the game on a Saturday and you are met with a flat looking pitch that looks like glass. One that will not take even a little turn.

What do you do?

  • Spin as hard as possible. This does not make sense at first, as why would you spin the ball as hard as possible when the pitch is not even turning? Well, the more revolutions you put on the ball the more it will dip as a result if the Magnus Effect. When you are faced with a pitch that does not turn it becomes even more important to beat the batsman in the air. So, rip it as hard as possible.
  • Bowl more top spin. Top spin will make the ball dip even sharper than usual. You will lose drift, but that is OK.
  • Bowl a straighter line. Remember your old lines - based on big turn off the pitch - will not work as the ball is staying straight on the pitch.

So, as you can see your tactic becomes one of beating the batsman in the air rather than off the pitch.

What happens in the air is not influenced by the pitch and so is always a good tactic for those flat non-spinning days.

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

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Don't Make This Mistake in Your Quest for Cricket Fitness

The new year brings new hopes for getting fit, and for cricketers that means very specific things: run faster, bow faster, hit harder, throw longer, keep up stamina and prevent injuries.

All worthy aims of course, but there is a trap waiting. If you fall in you can forget about your dreams of improved fitness this year.

What is this trap?

3 Lies India's Cricketers Like to Tell

We look to our heroes for advice, and group has more hero worship than Indian cricketers. How could they lie to their fans?

Be it mis-information, spin or taken out of context, these are the truisms taken as gospel by the fans that, in fact, won't help your game if you are trying to emulate the stars:


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: 237
Date: 2013-01-11