Pitchvision Academy


Batting drills are super-popular here, so we lead in this newsletter with an exciting new drill from the pros at Sussex. You can adapt it to your needs easily.

Plus, we discuss Harbhajan Singh and doosras. We also reach out and ask for your help for another reader who wants to bowl really fast. What does the hive mind think? Leave a comment and help a community member out.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Sussex Sharks Batting Drill


During my ECB Level 3 batting modules, I always ask the fellow coaches to throw up any ideas or drills that they have to add value to the module.

Last week Sussex Sharks Cricketer, Chris Nash, demonstrated a great drill that was intended to challenge decision making. The drill achieved its aim and opened up other vital elements of batting.

The basic drill

Get a batter padded up and ready to receive a ball. As a coach you stand 7 metres away from the crease.

Armed with a ball, the coach walks in 2 paces before delivering a fast-paced underarm delivery into either:


  1. Mid stump height: aiming to bring the batter forward
  2. Rib to head height: aiming to get the batter playing off of the back foot

Ideally, the batter will pick up the change in trajectory from the underarm feed and make the appropriate decision before initiating movement into the shot.

  • If the batter makes an inappropriate decision then the coach wins the point.
  • If the batter makes an appropriate decision then he/she wins the point.

It’s a race to 5 points with a consequence for the loser.

Consequences should be non-cricket and non-physical. An example being clearing the ball up at the end of the session or putting the nets away/rolling the mat up.

Other elements of batting that may come up:

Pre-delivery routine consistency

As the pressure mounts (pace of the ball increases and competition increases) players generally speed up both their physical movements and their thought processes. The time between each delivery reduces, and everything is rushed.

Encourage your player to use their pre-delivery routine and aim to keep it consistent. Test your player by trying to rush them and then take more time than they need in between each ball.

It will be interesting to see how they react.

Does the player receive the ball when they are ready or do they allow you to bowl when you dictate?

Check and challenge a batters weight distribution

This can occur as a consequence of inappropriate decision making, yet sometimes be a technical flaw.

This drill highlights this and exposes any weight distribution issues. As a result of that exposure, it allows a coach to work with the player on their transitions into the ball on the front and back foot.

So use this drill to check and challenge weight distribution and then, if necessary, revisit movement patterns from ready position into each type of shot using less challenging drills.

Progressing the drill

Incorporate scoring zones and fielders into the drill once the player has come become accustomed to the drill.

  • Each game lasts 6 balls.
  • The player scores a point for an appropriate decision
  • The player scores a point for hitting the ball into a scoring zone
  • Maximum of 12 points on offer and as coach you can define the win vs. loss number.

If I am working with an England U19 player then I may set the bar at 8 out of 12. 8 or more means I tidy up at the end of the session. 7 or less means it’s the player responsibility.

Give the drill a go and see if your batters can be developed like a Sussex Shark!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Harbhajan Singh Dispels "Overs Under the Belt" Bowling Myth

Mumbai Indians spinner Harbhajan Singh has knocked critics who say modern players don't bowl enough these days. He took 4-32 in the CLT20 Final and won man-of-the-match. All without doing a jot of practice.

The Indian spinner said after the final,

"I didn't practice at all. I was travelling to the US but I didn't practice much before this."

It makes you wonder if you need to do any practice at all.

I mean, if you could rock up after a 4 month holiday, and bowl your team to victory, why would you bother with nets or practice games?


For me it's not quite as simple as all that. It's certainly not a model that every player can follow to guarantee success. In fact, it's not even a model Harbhajan has followed for most of his career.

The better your method, the less practice you need

The key element with Harbhajan was that he has a well established technique built over 17 years of cricket at the top. He has bowled over 18,000 balls in competitive cricket. Who knows how many more he bowled in matches as youngster and non-professional games? He knows his action and his tactics inside-out.

He doesn't need to drill his bowling any more. He is capable of picking up a cricket ball and putting it where he wants without thinking about it. It's all muscle memory and - like riding a bike - once it is ingrained you don't forget.

Now imagine that you are 15 and trying to become the next Harbhajan Singh, or Brett Lee, or Kevin Pietersen. You have not worked out your method.

You need more practice time.

Practice is about form, form is about confidence

Even if your technique is great, you might still need practice for mental reasons.

Harbhajan is all about self-confidence. He knows he is capable of doing his job even after a long break. He doesn't care about the "mystical form fairy"

But someone like Steve Harmison use to need a lot longer "run up" to competitive games to reassure himself that he was still capable. "Harmy" needed practice matches, nets galore and a lot of getting ready for the big stage.

I can't tell you his thoughts on form, but I do know many people who lack confidence also believe that form comes and goes and you have no control over it.

Which one are you more like? If it's the latter, you will want more practice and more overs under the belt to get mentally ready: To "feel in form".

You will probably also want to work on building up your confidence levels.

SO where does all that leave us?

If you are like in personality and experience Harbhajan Singh, you can get away with a long break from cricket.

If you need a little confidence, or experience, or a technical improvement then some "overs under the belt" are still a good idea.

Maybe it's not so much of a myth after all. But then, when are things really so black and white? Leave a comment and let me know where you fall on the scale.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show S4 Episode 40: The James Bond of Coaching

Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe compare themselves to action heroes on the show before getting into the nitty-gritty of cricket coaching tips. This week the focus is on limited over bowling tactics and wicketkeeping on difficult pitches. Plus Garas reveals a shock ending that leave David checking the show budget!

Plus, Sean Hooper of The Cornish Cricket Company also drops in to give us his views on cricket participation outside of the hotbeds.






PitchVision News Links

  • PitchVision and Cricket South Africa

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:

Or you can call and leave your question on the Academy voice mail:

+44 (0)203 239 7543

+61 (02) 8005 7925


How to Listen to the Show

Just click the "play" button at the top of the article.

Or, the show comes out every Friday and you can listen to it on your computer, mp3 player, smart phone, iPad or other tablet every week automatically.

Download in iTunes

Click here to subscribe to the weekly show in iTunes


RSS Feed

If you don't use iTunes, you can get the show from the RSS feed. Click here


You can also download this show onto your computer by clicking the play button at the top of the article, or clicking on the mp3 to download.


This is show number 233.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

3 Alternatives When You Can't Bowl a Doosra

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

The doosra seems to have almost become a standard delivery for off-spinners these days. If a new hot spinner breaks into the scene, you are almost guaranteed that he will be able to bowl a doosra.

Thing is, the doosra is devilishly tough to bowl. It's not for everyone. The good news is that it is not needed to become a top international spin bowler.

However, variations - used well - are as effective as ever.

Ask the Readers: Help Khalique to Bowl Faster

Khalique dropped me an email recently for some advice on his bowling. I thought you might be able to give him some tips. Leave a comment and let us know.

"I am struggling with my pace: I had good pace with natural in swing but now during the last 3 years it has all gone. I am 6.3" tall and 68kg in weight. kindly help me to get my pace back and bowl like a fast bowler."

We have spoken a lot about bowling fast, from the action to fitness to mental approach. So I thought it was time to see if you can add to the suggestion pile, and also help Khalique reach the goal that many site readers also desire: searing, destructive pace.


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.

Ultimate Pace Secrets


Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 276
Date: 2013-10-11