Pitchvision Academy


The focus is on coaches this week as our key articles show the coach how to use video and add mental training to practice.

But don't fear if you only play, you can use the tips just as easily without a coach. And who wouldn't benefit from using video properly to improve technique and learning the tricks of a top psychologist to become a tough cricketer under pressure?

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Boost Nets with Video Analysis


It used to be the case that video analysis was reserved for the world of professional cricketers who could afford such luxury.

But with the cost of video equipment declining, it's now true that grass-roots players can use video to review technique and instantly use the feedback to improve.

But it's not just a matter of setting up your camera and filming yourself biffing random bowlers in an 8 minute session. At least, not if you want to get a true benefit.

That's because the art of skill development in batting and bowling is not just practice for the sake of it, it's practice with purpose.

Here is how you avoid wasting tape.

How to set up a video session

The key to video is that it needs to be convenient and unobtrusive. You shouldn't need to change good net practice because a camera is set up.

So step zero in this process is to make sure you are already having good net sessions with a clear purpose.

  • Goal of the session (tactical or technical)
  • Conditions (bowler, match situation, pitch conditions)

Once your purpose and principles for the session are clear - it doesn't have to take a lot of time to decide, 2 minutes before you start can be plenty - you can set up the camera.

Mark Garaway's excellent guide here can help you get the best position.

Also, consider using more than one angle, as many technical points need multiple views to get the whole picture. The set up time is barely any longer and using software with PV/VIDEO or similar, you can pull the feeds together on a laptop.

Use instant feedback

Once you are set up and rolling, it's time to get practising with your goal in mind.

But video works best when you are using it for deliberate practice, not just practice. So, you need to start getting feedback instantly.

Say, for example, you are working on your back foot drive, but you are falling over into the shot. It's a common technical flaw. So you set up the bowling machine for back of a length and start hitting.

In a usual net you would keep plugging away, hoping you would find that secret position. Perhaps the coach would throw some feedback in to help (if there is one there).

With video you can play a shot, and review it right away.

  • Was it the right ball for the shot (machines and feeds can go bad)?
  • Did you look well aligned and balanced?
  • Did you make contact under the line of your eyes?

If something isn't working you can try correcting your course. A bit like an aeroplane autopilot is constantly correcting based on the feedback loop of direction.

But without instant feedback - at least every few balls if not every ball - error correction is left to guesswork.

This is another advantage of PV/VIDEO. You could use any camera but you have to rewind and replay. PV/VIDEO logs each shot or ball bowled uniquely in your database so you can go back to it to see improvements.

Here is a great example of a young batter using video for instant feedback with his coach:















You can see before he reviewed he is clearly falling over because he is not well balanced. However after reviewing he looks way better:






















That's an example of how video can help you make those quick course corrections.

Post-net review

Alongside the instant feedback, you can use video to reflect more deeply between sessions.

This is an important part too because reviewing wheat went well, and what you need to work on next will help you make step changes as a bowler and batsman.

So make sure you go over the videos, compare them to other sessions and see how your performance is changing.

That way you can nip bad habits in the bud as well as pick out good elements you need to maintain.

Overall, video is a great tool, but is only as useful as you make it. So take full advantage by setting up the cameras right, training with purpose, using instant feedback and reviewing everything afterwards to draw better conclusions.

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Engage Autopilot: Coaching Stress Management in the Cauldron of Battle

The 2013 ICC Champions Trophy Final gave us a perfect insight into the impact that stress can have on performance and ultimately, the outcome of key matches.

The Chimp Paradox is a brilliant book by Dr. Stephen Peters (Team Sky Racing and Team GB Cycling Psychologist) which includes a section on dealing with stress in a multitude of sporting and everyday life situations.

Stephen talks about dealing with, rather than reacting to stressful situations. He then takes the reader through a series of steps which builds what he calls an autopilot.

With rehearsal and practice autopilots become innate responses to stressful situations. This, in turn, increases our chances of success.

So here is a step by step guide to building your player's cricketing autopilot:

1. Recognising stress and change it

A player will often recognise that they he is reacting to stress when he takes an option that he doesn't like, or when his body starts to tell him that things aren't operating at an optimal level.

Once we recognise and accept that stress is present we can change our attitude and mindset towards it.

One thing you can coach for this situation is to use the word 'change' to trigger his mind towards a more appropriate or viable option. Inevitably, this is one that has been practised more often and has achieved better results in the past.

2. The pause button

Another method you can present is picturing a big pause button. Tell your players to "press it" when they feel they are rushing decision making or pre-delivery routine.

This will allow time for more logical options to surface rather than emotion driving poor options and reactive decision making.

3. Escape: stepping back from the situation

Obviously, in cricket matches, we don't have time to be able to walk off the field and reflect overnight (unless you're playing first class) so an example of a stepping back mechanism in cricket is this: When you are batting, walking away from the crease slightly, taking yourself out of the stressful environment.

Collect your thoughts, slow yourself down and re-enter the crease when you are ready. Alec Stewart did this brilliantly during his career and Ali Cook is also a master of this technique.

4. The helicopter view and getting perspective

I often talk about a birds eye view of the field when batters are picturing scoring options. Our 2D view at ground level can be limiting and cause stress in itself as we can't see the scoring space clearly.

Having a helicopter or birds eye view opens up options as we see space that wasn't initially apparent.

Jeremy Snape talks about "Balcony Boy".

Talk to your players about being able to zoom to this picture. Ask them "What would you be speaking about on the balcony where you can see the whole picture if you were watching yourself?"

Again, this helps to gain a perspective on any given situation.

5. Having a plan

Going through the above points will provide a fantastic foundation to build a logical plan.

Once players change the the way they view the situation, I would be surprised if they weren't able to come up with a logical and achievable plan to deal with the situation at hand.

6. Reflection

Make sure your cricketers are asking themselves: "How will this plan pan out given the present situation?"

Once a person has decided what options are available he can tackle the challenge with confidence.

7. Smile

Nothing helps finalise the journey from stressful reactions to positive solutions better than a smile.

It helps us feel better too!

One simple method is to think back to your last stressful situation and imagine yourself going through this process.

It's clear India did this better than England at Edgbaston. How are you going to integrate methods for dealing with pressure into your sessions?

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 25: India are Champions

With the Champions Trophy all over, the team look back at the lessons from the final for England, India and those wanting to emulate the champion team.

Plus we answer your questions on spinners drift versus dip, and talk about the philosophy of coaching batters.

Remember, you can participate in the show 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:

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This is show number 218.

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Spin Bowling Tips: How to Bowl a Wrist Doosra

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

In part one we examined the role of the doosra and how to bowl the finger doosra. This article looks at the other way to bowl "the other one"

Variation 2 is the wrist variation that was pioneered by Murali and has been used to great effect by Saeed Ajmal. The ball is bowled over the wrist.

You need to get your thumb completely out of the way to make space for the ball to go over the hand. Getting the thumb out of the way also helps opening the hand and helps with the whiplash action of the wrist.

3 Reasons Why Good Bowlers Want the Keeper to Stand Up

Ego has been the downfall of many a cricketer. Consider the good batsman who gets himself out against a part-time bowler. The bowler doesn’t have to do much because the batter loses concentration against someone with lesser skills.

It’s just the same for club seamers.

A decent league cricket keeper can easily stand up to the average medium pace bowler on the average club wicket. Yet time and time again ego gets in the way.


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: 261
Date: 2013-06-28