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Sometimes we forget that the heart of sport, cricket included, is not techique, tactics or mental toughness. It's something a lot more basic: Passion.

Coaches and players who show passion, enthusiasm and inspiration to others are the ones who do best. To find out what I mean, read this week's lead article from Mark Garaway where he shows us all how passion drives excellence.

Plus we look at some more practical, nuts and bolts elements from bowling spin to deciding if its worth learning a new shot.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Coaching to Win: Inspire Cricketers with Lessons from Lions Legends


This week I am working in Sardinia with Rugby World Cup Winners Will Greenwood and Austin Healey. We run holidays for families which included world class coaching in both rugby and cricket.

So I have had the great pleasure to spend my days alongside International and Lions legends such as Scott Quninnel, Shane Horgan, Will and Ian Salisbury.

You know I am always looking to learn, well here are the things that the Legends have imparted on me this week:


Passion is a significant driver of excellence

The passion that these legends emit is incredible.

Scott Quinnel's voice is full of it when he gives any coaching advice to relative newcomers to Rugby or to players with lots of experience. His passion for his sport and for that person whom he is working with is infectious.

The same goes for 'Greens' and Shane too.

They are totally into each moment with each participant and never miss an opportunity to light a spark in someone which builds into something special over time. Their collective approach has inspired me this week.

Use your mind to fuel the power hitting fire

Ian Salisbury worked with a lad yesterday who was struggling to hit the ball with power in his Pull-Shot. The 8 year olds technique was good yet the ball would not travel far from the bat.

'Sals' asked the lad to think about something that he really didn't like, something that annoyed him. Then said to keep that image in his head as he was preparing to strike the ball.

It was brussel sprouts if you're interested.

The result was incredible.

The next shot was crunched, technique maintained and the ball disappeared between the two scoring cones that we had set out on the pitch as a target area.

The boy beamed and the spectators applauded.

What a positive experience that was for the young batter and all came from a piece of advice which connected the mind and the body as one.

Picture your intention, see it clearly, then do it

Scott Quinnel led a session on taking the ball into contact the other day on the rugby field.

He asked each player to run at him and try and imagine the contact area 3 feet behind the tackler. Not where the first touch is made.

Scott is an immense physical being yet after each young player had engaged that image in their mind, they we able to knock the Welshman backwards whilst protecting the rugby ball. All through the power of positive intention.

It got me thinking,

How can we use our language to positive impact upon someone's intention when they are practising?

  • "I would like you picture the ball hitting the cone that your aiming for then the cone splitting in half because the ball your bowling is so fast!"
  • "Imagine the ball hitting the stump clean out of the ground when you complete that direct hit run out"
  • "Picture the bowlers face when you paddle sweep him twice at the start of his spell? What changes would he instantly have to make that he doesn't want to do?"

These guys aren't just legends because they were talented on their respective sports fields.

They are legends because they are hugely passionate about everything that they do, never miss an opportunity to positively impact upon others and use the power of the mind to support any physical or technical interventions.

I believe that, as coaches, we can all be legendary if we follow suit.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 30: Drill, drills, drills

It's a bit of a drills special on the Cricket Show, with the team of Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe discussing how to evaluate a drill before and after you have used it.

The panel also look at ways to stop shuffling across the crease, and drills to improve fast bowling (especially against bowling in nets). While David gets on his soapbox about draw cricket.

Download the show to your phone, or listen right here in the browser. Half an hour of a cricket party with Garas!


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This is show number 223.

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How to Bowl Spin on Batting Tracks

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

This is not an issue that should bother amateur bowlers too much. Pitches generally turn, as they should.

Professionals though all play on interstate highways that are meant to cater for the batter. We will not get into that debate now. It’s just a fact.

What has happened though is that modern spinners have started developing skills to cope with non-turning pitches (and big bats and hitters). They had to do it otherwise no one would pick spinners. That is not the case as spinners have constantly been under the top bowlers in the IPL (which is a scary place for bowlers).

So, what skills can you learn from professional spin bowlers that bowl on batting paradises that do not spin? What do they do when the ball turns less?


  1. They bowl wicket to wicket, and vary their angles in the crease. So, they deliver the ball from different angles
  2. They focus on pulling the batsman forward and making the ball moves just a little bit. You see, the only way to catch a batsman against spin on the back foot is because he is trying to give himself more time to see the ball. If your ball is not spinning you really need to draw the batsman forward
  3. Focus more on top spinning balls. The ball will not spin more, but all the revolutions will work towards very sharp dip (as all your drift is focused on making the ball dip - unlike normal stock deliveries where you make the ball drift sideways and make it dip). So, what you lack for in help from the pitch you make up for it in the air with sharp dip

Just watch the IPL spin bowlers closely. The era of darting into the batsman's legs are over. The best spinners - Narine, Herath, Ashwin and the rest - work the batsmen over in the air.

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Is it Worth Learning These New Fangled Shots?

One of the common tropes of modern cricket is that batsmen have a wider range of shots than ever. While it may be a cliche for commentators to throw out when they have nothing to say, it's also true.

So do you need to learn them; or if you coach do you need to spend time coaching them?

Lets look at each new shot in turn and decide.

No Plan Survives Enemy Contact: So Why Plan?

Helmuth von Moltke was a Field Marshall and brilliant war strategist in the 19th Century. He first coined the term "no plan survives contact with the enemy". He was absolutely right and his ideas are still used in war planning.

It's just the same in cricket as it is in war. No matter how much you plan, theorise and try to stick to a strategy, the game always takes it's on direction and momentum.

Which begs the question; why bother to plan at all?


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: 266
Date: 2013-08-02