Pitchvision Academy


Mark Garaway pleads with every player and coach this week to stop the insanity. Find out why in the lead article (and the Cricket Show during the Soapbox feature).

Plus, we look at the role of general and specific fitness training in cricket with therapist Liz Ward, get some sage advice on retaining young cricketers from Darren Talbot and even hear from a rock band!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Stop the Insanity: Coach the 3 Patterns of Improved Running Between the Wickets


Can you imagine this at Manchester United's training ground:

Sir Alex Ferguson: "Robin! What are you doing?"

Robin van Persie: "Practicing my free-kicks Boss"

Sir Alex Ferguson: "Are you mad? You know that we don’t allow that! You're only allowed to take free kicks in matches. But make sure you don’t miss."

Of course no football coach (let alone the greatest ever) would stop a player from practicing something so important.

Yet this is precisely what cricket coaches all round the world do on a daily basis with running between the wickets.

Running requires several skills to be developed, all of which are significant in their own right and need to be developed in order to maximise individual and team performance:

  • judgement of ball pace, direction and angle
  • spatial awareness
  • fielder's mobility, pace, throwing accuracy and throwing power
  • verbal and non-verbal communication
  • line and speed of running
  • stopping, turning and restarting technique

To develop these skills, I have encouraged the development of 3 patterns every time that they execute a shot in nets.

We do this even if working 1 to 1 with only the bowling machine or my sidearm delivering the ball.

1. Motor Pattern

Hit and look to run always.

A couple of colleagues of mine are experts in body and mind connections in sport. They have a saying that we need to "move to think". Not only that, they can prove it too.

So, I have taken this on board and we now ask each batter to move after contact to aid their Judgement which informs their decision making.

This comes in the form of a step through after each shot (even defending) and goes all the way through to net sessions where full singles, 2s and 3s are run just as they would in the game.

2. Cognitive Pattern

Now, the players are combining their understanding of where fielders are with the development of their motor patterns post-strike with stunning results.

Decisions are made quicker, the incidence of the players making poor decisions is lessening and the connection between movement and decision making is highly evident in the number of times that "stolen single" is being hit on our match analysis system.

3. Verbal Pattern

Players are encouraged to call with the same tone and volume in nets as they do in matches.

Every ball.

They may feel silly the first time they do it yet as the culture develops, they start of feel the odd one out if they are not calling loudly.

Consequence training

In net sessions with 1 player (1 to 1) we have 60 ball practices.

Every time a batter fails to move post-strike or call effectively the balls remaining total number drops by 10. The session ends at 0 balls irrespective of time left in the session.

In scenarios or nets with 2 batters any failure to move and call means the loss of the strikers wicket.

This increases the chances of the scenario being lost. Scenarios always start with only 3 wickets remaining so the loss of a silly run out through lack of engagement is often fatal.

These consequence sessions train the brain and boy to work optimally on a part of the game that we all do, every time we bat.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 20: Bamboozled by Spin

PitchVision goes to the bowling alley this week, and we also chat about Irfan Pathan's actual bowling (not the ten pin variety).

And the mailbag is stuffed, as usually with your questions. This time it's all about a new leg spin variation and a crunch decision about when to decide to cricket as your career. We get a deep insight into Burner's journey along the way.

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:

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This is show number 213.

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Why Cricket is More than Batting, Bowling and Fielding

This is a guest article from Liz Ward.

Peter May once said, "the best preparation to batting, bowling and fielding was batting, bowling and fielding."

I am not going to disagree with him.

However, lifestyle today is alien to the rigours of the current game. Sitting at the computer, in cars, in front of the TV and communicating through technological wonders leave the body unprepared for cricket.

Performance is like a tunnel, the likes of Steffan Jones stand at one end.

You will find me and my therapist colleagues at the other.

We are the "go to" guys who will pick you up, dust you off and if you are lucky, send you back on the field of play.

Of course, it is possible to stick dogmatically to the views of Peter May, close your mind and walk past Steffan and his colleagues. But your time in the tunnel will be shortened as you come out to meet me and my colleagues at the other end.

I take no pleasure in seeing the physical and often psychological pain caused by rehabilitation, or telling young, unfulfilled potential that their playing days are over.

Reaching your potential has a great deal to do with training very hard. But it's not the full answer. If so, every dedicated player would be on top form.

In fact I see far more broken players than those who reach the highest level in their game.

That's why how you train is as important as how hard you train.

Smarter training for cricket

So, remember the cardinal rule to improving performance; be specific.

Performance gains are only achieved when your training closely mimics the actions necessary in your sport; when the body postures and neuromuscular patterns are specific.

Fortunately, Steffan has produced a really top Strength and Conditioning Online Course for you here at PitchVision Academy, eliminating the mystery.

His exercises are specific to the actions and forces encountered during pace bowling.

However if you do find you have picked up an injury you should not suffer in silence. The longer you hang on to any injury or niggle the harder and longer recovery will be.

"Overuse" injuries are not caused by doing something too much; they are caused by doing something incorrectly and without the necessary strength.

Sports injuries often fail traditional management with recreational players. Rest alone will not work.

In this instance the first port of call should be a therapist rather than popping anti-inflammatories. Masking an injury or niggle will not work either.

More often than not, these injuries involve muscle imbalances, tension, adhesions, myofascial trigger points and a whole gambit of issues that occur from incorrect training. You need to get specific issues identified and treated at the same time as eliminating the cause. Then you can undergo a specific strength and conditioning programme.

Why not go straight to the programme and pass all the pain and heartache?

Liz Ward is Director of Sport Injury Management working with elite, professional sportspeople and prospective Olympians/Paralympians as a biomechanist, soft tissue therapist and strength and conditioning practitioner.

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What Fountains of Wayne Can Teach You About Fast Bowling

Being a rock n roll hero is a long way from ripping through batting orders, but the American band Fountains of Wayne seem to have found a link between the two.

Specifically the track All Kinds of Time, from their third album, gives an insight into the mind of a sportsman at the peak of his performance.

You should give it a listen

When you do, you understand what it's like to be perfectly in the moment and flowing with ease as if you are in complete control of the game:

Retaining Young Cricketers: When to Play Senior Cricket

This is a guest article from Darren Talbot of Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching and Head of Coach Mentoring at Surrey County Cricket Club.

It's never been more difficult to retain youngsters in cricket. The numbers leaving the game from ages 14-18 are increasing every year and club senior numbers are dwindling as a consequence.

Growing pressure on young people to pass exams is a factor, but clubs are often missing tricks to make that transition more attractive and keep some of these young players in the game.


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: 256
Date: 2013-05-24