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Fast bowler's are supposed to be mean. But in reality there are many different personalties that go with the physical ability to propel a ball quickly. So, this week we study the nice guy fast bowler and help him make the most of his talents with an improved mental game.

Plus, we look at the new iPhone that was announced this week to discuss it's use in a cricket setting. And Menno Gazendam talks about his experiences getting smashed around the park as a spinner. Read on the find out what happens.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Be A Nasty Fast Bowler (When You Are a Nice Guy)


Picture the typical fast bowler personality. You are probably thinking of an angry, red-faced man with a face full of bristling moustache. He is bent on everything short of murder and not short of a few choice words or a bouncer aimed straight at your teeth.

But what if you have a bit of fast bowling talent without the aggressive personality?

Can you ever be a success as a quickie?

It's more common than you think. We have such a bowler at our club. He is tall and strong. Genuinely quick for non-professional level cricket, he can extract a bouncer or rising back of a length ball from all but the slowest of pitches. That is a rare talent in a world of medium pace dobblers and darting spinners.

He is also the sweetest, most generous inoffensive young man you are ever likely to meet. The most aggressive sledge he came up with this summer was telling a batsman who struggled to play him that his efforts were "not acceptable".

I'm sure you have come across someone similar. You may even be that not-so-nasty fasty.

The good news is that you can be a nice guy and still bowl fast.

Work on your "white line fever"

You may not have the fire-breathing fury of Dale Steyn, but you can learn ways to be more nasty on the field without changing who you are off the field.

In other words, fake it until you make it.

It's a well established self-improvement method to force yourself to do something every day for a month until it becomes habit. So force yourself, for 30 games, to try something more aggressive. You don't have to suddenly change everything, but pick a thing you think you can do:

  • Stare at the batsman when he plays and misses
  • Think about sending the stumps cartwheeling rather than just trying to hit a length
  • Decide you are going to push the keeper back a pace or two with your speed
  • Imagine the batsman said hurtful things about your mother

When the innings is over, you can go back to being the guy that girls take home to mother. Until then, you are after blood and are insulted by the batsman surviving more than 2 balls.

Be a ninja: The silent killer

Of course, you don't have to shout and scream to be nasty. Michael Holding famously said very little. He let his 95mph thunderbolts do most of the talking.

But his approach was still very aggressive. He was simply calculating with it. The "red mist" bowler attempts a barrage of short balls because he wants to cause damage. The ninja fast bowler, like Holding, bowls 3 short balls followed by a yorker.

Goodnight Vienna.

You can trust that the batsman walking out will pass on his shell shock to the next few coming in. Make the next guy wait. Stand at your mark and stare him down. Build up his tension and let him be afraid of what is next. It's all drama and you have not said a word or even bowled a ball to the new guy. Reputation precedes you.

You can let the ball show what a nasty bowler you are, as long as you have the right attitude: Aggression is just a tactic to exploit to get results.

Being true to yourself is a powerful weapon

These tactics can be effective, but only if you know the overarching truth...

A bowler who understands himself can match tactics to his personality. This is crucial because the wrong tactic just will not work. The extrovert is different from the introvert. The neurotic doesn't have the same approach as the emotionally stable.

Learn to bowl with your personality and the rest looks after itself.

That's easy to say but very difficult to work out. It takes years and some players have finished playing before they really get to "who they are". So take your time, play with methods and keep going until you have built up confidence in your game.

Eventually you will, and only then will you truly be the nice guy who finishes first.

image credit: barryskeates

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How to Become a Professional Cricket Coach: Formal and Informal Pathways

This is a follow up to last week's question from Paul Wood asking how he can progress as a coach. I recommend you read last week's article first.

Last week we looked at the formal pathway through to "performance" level (rather than helping beginners). This week we are going to go one step further and look at both elite coach education, and informal options that are available to all coaches, irrespective of qualification or coaching environment.


Master Coach

The ECB coaching pathway has an elite arm. This comes in the form of the UKCC Level 4 or Master Coach qualification. Most County, State and International coaching roles require a minimum of UKCC Level 4 (or equivalent from other countries) to be considered as a viable candidate.

This course has a very robust course roadmap. Initially, you have to present to a panel of 3 about your coaching practice and philosophy. Then there are questions on the presentation and set questions that all potential candidates are asked. The panel moderates and reduces the initial numbers in the group from 34 to 16-18.

This 16-18 make up that year’s Level 4 cohort.

The cohort travels through 10 modules ranging cricket skills modules through to advanced communication, psychology and performance analysis with and a series of supporting assignments over a 2 year period. At the end of this period, the candidate submits a final portfolio and is assessed and quizzed by panel of experts before being awarded their UKCC Level 4 and Post Graduate Diploma.

This is a potential option for Paul if he wishes to be considered for roles with professional and emerging professional cricketers. It's a tough path but worth the experience.

Formal vs. informal pathways

You benefit from the formal ways of developing yourself as a coach and I am sure that you have qualification to your name already. Yet, how can you develop without going on a course?

This is where the informal pathway comes in. And you are already on it!

By reading this article and the great content that is on PitchVision Academy you are already committing to your own Continual Personal Development (CPD) as a coach.

PitchVision Academy offers great resources in the form of online courses from greats:

As well as a host of lesser known but equally skilled coaches. Get on board by purchasing some of these resources to continue your learning online.

Plus you can always listen for nothing to the online coaching radio show - the PitchVision Academy Cricket Show - send in a question to improve your knowledge and get the chance to win a free course.

So whatever your ambition, there is every chance to develop as a coach and take one step closer to making it your full-time career.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 36: Mid-Season Batting Blues

Mark Garaway drags us into his personal batting hell as he relates to a Reader's Question on the show. The solution is is creative as always, so download the show and get listening!

We also discuss the success of Irish cricket in recent years, the Kanga league, and the myth of weight training to get bulky (hint: you won't).


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This is show number 229.


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The Reason Cricketers Need the New iPhone 5

Face it, your head has been turned by the new iPhone 5. It's the new hotness. It's sexy. It's GOLD.

Most of all, it's a game changing device.

Whatever you do as a cricketer, or coach, having a tiny but powerful computer right in your pocket opens up a world of opportunity. And with the new iPhone about to hit the shops, is the perfect time to buy.

So why exactly should you buy an iPhone 5 if you want to play better cricket?

The Day I Understood Spin Bowling

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

On one of those typical scorching hot South African summer days I was being smacked around the park. Not pretty.



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: 272
Date: 2013-09-13