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The search is still on for a case study subject for 2009. If you are interested, you can give yourself a great chance of succeeding by starting a training log at the brand section of the site. See the first article for details.

Even if you are not interested, I urge you to start a log today. It can benefit by helping you improve whatever level you are already at. You see all the tips and advice in the world make no difference if you are not out there doing stuff. The training log can make you accountable, which makes me happy to see people succeeding.

We also have a feature on circuit training for fast bowlers (including a free 4 week circuit style plan). Don't tell the pacemen, but it works pretty well for spinners, batsmen and wicketkeepers too. Plus I discuss what we mean by momentum and how to turn it to your advantage.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Ask the Readers: How is your season (or off season) going?

As you know, I'm looking for someone to be the Case Study for 2009. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to get some more informal views of how everyone is playing and preparing at the moment.

So how is your season (or off season if you are in the winter like me) going?

To get things started Kevin (the co-presenter of the Cricket Show podcast) and I have done training logs. Kevin is enjoying the Sydney summer right now and I'm looking out my window at the winter rain, huddled up to a warm radiator. It should be interesting to compare.

Please look at our training logs as they develop and add your own.

There are two free ways you can do this:
  1. Click here to go to the training logs section then click "Post new Forum Topic" to start your log. You can update it as little or as often as you want. My log is here.
  2. Post what you are working on at the moment in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

You can also comment on other people's logs. The main point of this is an experiment to see if we can get cricketers from all over the world talking to each other about training that works best.

Don't worry about what standard you are at or how serious your training is, if you are doing something it's worth talking about to see if you can do it better.

Why not join the conversation?

What's your current training and how is your season going?

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Circuit training for fast bowlers
There are no great fat fast bowlers.

To me that shows how important fitness is to the art of fast bowling. Successful bowlers are strong, athletic and supple. Talent alone is no longer enough.

Circuit training is a great way to get the most 'bang for your buck' when improving your fitness. It's especially effective when you have less time to train because you can get a lot done in a short time. You can also do circuit training anywhere so you are not stuck to going to a gym: Handy if you travel a lot or don't want to pay for a membership.

If you are a fast bowler you can get a lot done in 2 or 3 sessions a week lasting about 30 minutes.

What is circuit training?

Circuits are a method of fitness training. The format is very flexible, usually involving 6-10 exercises that are completed in a row or a 'circuit' one after another. Each exercise is performed for a number of reps or a set time before moving on. There is a fixed rest period (anything from 0 to 60 seconds) between exercises and a slightly longer rest period between circuits.

This has been shown to develop muscular strength, endurance and mobility (or suppleness): Three vital elements of fast bowling success.

As you can imagine this saves a lot of time compared to the traditional 'sets' method of, say 3 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest between sets. However, because of the reduced rest times, the circuit needs to be designed to rest muscles while others are being worked.

A fast bowling circuit

After a good warm up, the key to a good circuit is to design it around the main movements of the body. This gives each group of muscles enough rest:

  • Power: Examples include squat jumps and clap press ups.
  • Knee dominant: Squats, Lunges.
  • Pulling: Rows, Chin Ups.
  • Pushing: Press Ups, Bench Press.
  • Hip Dominant: Deadlifts, Exercise Ball Curls, Glute Bridges.
  • Core: Planks, Medicine Ball Work.

As you can see, you can use equipment or do it with just bodyweight. If you want an example try the free 4 week bodyweight training plan here.

Additionally, you can customise the circuit to include more stretches and conditioning work (like sprints, agility ladders, burpees or skipping). You can do the exercises in the order above or play with the format as long as you always start the circuit with a power based exercise.

You can also combine it with skills work like fielding drills. Although it's important to make sure your technique is good under fatigue to prevent injury.

Design the work to rest ratio on your current fitness level. If you are just starting out, 20 seconds of work to 45 seconds of rest may be enough. Start with 2 circuits with 2 minutes rest between them.

It's important to progress if you want to keep improving. You can do this by:

  • Increasing the work time
  • Decreasing the rest time
  • Increasing the number of circuits
  • Increasing the resistance (if using weights)

As a bowler, the ideal work to rest ratio is 1:1 (for example, 30 seconds work to 30 seconds rest) but if you can work at 1:2 (30 seconds work, 60 seconds rest) this will make a significant difference to your performance and injury prevention.

When can fast bowlers use circuit training?

You can use circuit training any time of the training year: on or off season.

It works especially well during the season where you may not have the time or energy for a full workout if you are playing several times a week. You can also integrate bodyweight circuit training into net sessions.

Overall circuit training is the jack of all fitness trades. If you have a very obvious weakness (such as strength) it can help you to start training but long term you will need to do more specific work.

But circuits are the answer for the fast bowler who needs to get their fitness done quickly, effectively and with minimal equipment.

Image credit: whyld


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What's the missing link?

I got an email the other day from a reader telling me the miCricketCoach pages have too many tips, drills and information. As a result they are going to stop reading.

They didn't say they were going to get outside and play cricket instead, but if they did I would probably applaud their action. As Merlin Mann said:

"We can’t get good at something solely by reading about it. And we’ll never make giant leaps in any endeavor by treating it like a snack food that we munch on whenever we’re getting bored. You get good at something by doing it repeatedly. And by listening to specific criticism from people who are already good at what you do."

I've always thought of miCricketCoach as a reference guide for people who are actually out there playing, training and trying to improve. But Merlin's post made me think perhaps the tips alone are not enough.

It's a bit like doing drills.

We all know the player who is perfect when drilling or netting but when they get out in the middle it all goes horribly wrong. There is a disconnection between the drill and actual play. In a similar way there is a disconnection between the pages here on miCricketCoach and what you do in practice or in the middle.

The missing link

I know from the responses to my request for a case study this coming year that there is plenty of enthusiasm for that gap to be bridged: A feedback system if you like.

I also know many readers are coaches themselves looking for support or players without a coach needing a little more than the odd tip. For example, to be a genuinely fast and accurate bowler you can't just post a comment here and wait for someone to give you a one line answer. It takes work, practice and many hours of full commitment.

I tell you what has worked for me in the past; you try it and report back. You get better at playing; I get better at helping you.

We all win when there is some accountability.

That's the one big reason we are setting up the world's first online cricket coaching academy: PitchVision Academy staffed with big name coaches who will be able to help you take action rather than just read tips or mindlessly drill.

Just start: Even if you might be wrong

But before even joining in there, you can start taking action.

After all, even doing things wrong is better than not doing anything. At least you can learn from your mistakes. We all make them, me included.

You can hold yourself accountable here. Set up a training log and when you do something note it down. Nobody is trying to catch you out. It's actually better when you do things wrong and learn from them like friend of miCricketCoach Shaaz.

So make a plan (it can be as simple as you like) then get out there and start moving towards your goal, whatever it is. A journey of 10,000 hours (they say) starts with the first hour.

Once you have done that first hour, come back and record how it went. Tell us how you felt if you like or just record what happened. That's what I'm doing, I hope you can join me.

Make yourself accountable and then just start.
Together we are stronger in action.

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How to stop your cricket team's losing streak

Putting terrible larger events aside for a moment, England's one day losing streak in India after winning 4 against South Africa got me to thinking about how teams get themselves out of a cricketing hole.

I'm sure your own side has had similar times.

Field settings: Slow Left Arm spin, old ball, turning wicket, long format

This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.

This is a standard and easily customised field for the orthodox left arm finger spinner bowling to a right handed batsmen. With accurate bowling and plenty of turn the spinner should be able to use this field and it's variations to bowl a side out.


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: 24
Date: 2008-12-05