Pitchvision Academy


Mark Garaway is on the ball again this week with a great article about a batting drill he learned from the great Bob Woolmer. It's one to try at your next session for sure.

Plus we welcome Harry Shapiro to the newsletter to talk about leg spin, and offer you a 3 month trial membership of his Leg Spin Association. Click here for details.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

PitchVision Academy Recommends: The Cape Town International Cricket Academy


Here at PitchVision Academy we rarely take the time to recommend a coaching camp. We get a lot of requests, but we are obsessed by quality and so leave most by the wayside.

However when Ryan Maron - long time friend of PitchVision and the mastermind behind one of Cape Town's longest running coaching schools - got in touch we knew we had to back his brand new Cape Town International Cricket Academy.

The Cape Town International Cricket Academy is a high quality 2 month coaching camp for anyone aged 18-23 who wants to become a professional, or international, cricketer.

And we have no hesitation in recommending it as a coaching hot house for ambitious cricketers.

You can now place your deposit and book your place right here on PitchVision Academy. Click here to find out more from Ryan.


What is the Cape Town International Cricket Academy?

For the lucky few, a complete immersion into cricket and life awaits in one of the most scenic cities in the world: Cape Town.

Training is lead by Brian McMillan (South African International), Andy Moles (Warwickshire and Coach of New Zealand) and Ryan Maron (Head of Cricket School of Excellence). The camp includes training on:

  • Cricket technical work
  • High quality competitive matches
  • Fitness, injury prevention and nutrition
  • Life skills

All personalised to your exact needs through detailed session planning and feedback from the team. Quite simply, it's your chance to find out what it takes to live as a professional cricketer.

The Academy programme is, however, not confined to cricket: during your two months in Cape Town you will have opportunities for such recreational activities:

  • Learning to surf, surf-ski and sandboard
  • Cycling and hiking round Cape Point
  • Visits to Robben Island and the winegrowing districts.

The Academy will coincide with Proteas Test and South African domestic programme at the scenic and beautiful Newlands cricket ground, a five-minute walk from the Rondebosch Manor guest house, where the you will be staying.

It all comes back to one simple idea: That when you come to the Cape Town International Cricket Academy you can try yourself out as a professional cricketer to see if you have the required skills to make it.

Click here for full details and to reserve your place with a deposit.

How to book

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Bob Woolmer's "No Feet" Batting Drill

One of Bob Woolmer's batting drills was the one-legged drive which I featured right at the start of the Coaching to Win series.

This gem of a drill helps players who lead their forward movement to the ball with their heads. (Not your Pietersen, Amla or Gayle who lead with their feet but more like the Bell, Ponting and Strauss).

Bob would ask the batter to not move their feet, yet wait for the fuller ball to bounce and move their head towards the line of the ball.

What does this drill develop?


Late contact

Because the batter can't step forward into the ball, the more advanced head position encourages the player to let the ball come all the way up to him before making contact.

We now know that any player who leads with his head needs to make later contacts in order to control the ball and gain maximal power in his shots.

This drill encourages late contact. So if you have a player who tends to hit the ball too early then this one for them.

Tracking the ball into contact

7 out of 8 batting dismissals occur through error in visual perception. The batter is:

  • not focusing on the ball optimally
  • has not been able to watch the ball into contact effectively
  • struggled to access the ball with their most preferred motion tracking eye

Guys like Bell and Strauss need to track the ball into contact by playing with their heads down. Coaches will notice that the top of the helmet rather than the grill will be most prevalent when the ball is struck crisply.

This allows the batter to track the ball all the way into contact. If the head doesn't lead and doesn't nod the ball into contact their their field of vision will be looking above the height of the incoming ball. If you can't track the ball in its last couple of yards then effectively, we are playing blind.

Increased timing

Players will report that they are surprised how much power they can generate considering their lack of foot movement.

By letting the ball reach them, many players will be able to use the pace of the ball, are able to meet the ball with a square bat face and as a result they will feel the the sensation of timing.

Drill progression

After a while, the batter will have mastered the techniques of:

  • an exaggerated head lead
  • -nodding the head into contact
  • -making late contact.

These are all good things for players that lead their forward movement with their head.

The drill progression is to retain these elements of technique and then add in foot movement.

Ensure that the player understands that the foot is only there to stop them from losing balance rather than to reach the place on the pitch where the ball bounces.

The final result

  • Increased timing
  • Increased control of the contact zone
  • Increased timing
  • Repeatable performance

Give it a go in throw down sessions, using bobble feeds and as part of your bowling machine practices.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 41: Leg Spin vs Fielding

The greatest cricket coaching podcast on the planet returns with a feast of advice for cricketers and coaches. This week Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe talk about diving in the field and balance it out with leg spin: the art of coaching it, and how to bowl it in a big pressure match.

Plus - with PitchVision's installation in Cricket South Africa - we discuss the implications of using data in coaching, from the granular to the big trends.


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 234.

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Stop Insane Mistakes With Sane Post-Game Reviews

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Yet how many times after a game have we "reviewed" performance with a bunch of fleeting clichés about bowling better, taking our catches and taking responsibility as a batting unit?

How many times do we actually do something about this complaint other than hope things will change next time?

Harry Shapiro's Leg Spin Primer

Leg Spin Coach, and Head of the Leg Spin Association, Harry Shapiro has written this guest article on the basics of leg spin. A great primer for new and experienced bowlers!

The ability to bowl leg spin is a gift which is in the wrist and fingers but in order to develop to his full potential, the bowler needs a sound basic technique just as much as batsman or fast bowler.


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: 277
Date: 2013-10-18