Pitchvision Academy


The Ashes are blazing, and so is this newsletter with another edition packed with coaching tips. Ian Pont talks common sense to all fast bowlers, Mark Garaway hits a technical bowling issue head on, and Sam Lavery talks about the relationship between batting and poker.

Plus, if you get time, take 5 minutes to fill in our questionnaire about your cricket club.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Fixing Fast Bowlers: Back Foot Contact


This is the first series of troubleshooting to repair inefficient or physically dangerous fast bowling technique.

The bowling action is complex and prone to breaking down. While we want bowler's to bowl with natural actions, in many cases when we see a flaw we will be quick to try to iron out. This is because injury, and reduction in pace and performance is often associated with the flaw.

One of the most common of these flaws is; as a bowler comes out of her bound and into her back foot contact (BFC). We often see the back leg sweeping underneath the body and then land in a position towards the return crease. As the action is a chain of events only one thing can happen: A misalignment between BFC and front foot contact (FFC).


A common error is to work with the the bowler to concentrate on where their back foot lands at the crease. This is laborious and non-effective. Instead we find that the root cause of this deficiency comes further back in the bowling process; In the approach to the bound. If we deal with the root cause, the symptoms right themselves without direct interventions being applied to the "problem area".

We use video to confirm that most bowlers who sweep their back foot under themselves in the bound are people whose feet fall underneath their bodies as they run into bowl.

So do we need a high tech solution to this issue?

No. The technical toolkit for the remedy couldn't be easier or cheaper for that matter: A piece of string!

Lay the piece of string on the floor between the start of the run up and the point on the crease that you wish for the feet to align in the delivery stride.

Ask the bowler to run up placing their feet either side of the stride and not to step on the string or cross the string with their feet.

This will train the bowler to maintain an appropriate gap between the feet as they run in. This is really important as the action of sweeping the feet under the body in the approach is one of the main reasons why the back foot wants to come under the body in the bound.

Retrain the body in the approach and often, you will see the body continue towards its target in the bound and into the delivery stride. All this without having to explicitly coach or work on that phase of the bowling action.

So there you have it: A bit of knowledge, one long piece of string and all of a sudden you become a more effective fast bowling coach.

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Your Chance to Bowl Fast in India

Ian Pont has launched the Ultimate Pace Foundation in Bangalore: The chance for any Indian fast bowler to learn how to bowl faster. Ian explains why he set up his fast bowling academy, and how to join.

Every fast bowler would take an extra yard of pace.

Yet, India has not produced genuine fast bowlers. There is no genetic or physical reason for this. The only thing it can be is that young bowlers are not encouraged to bowl straight and fast like in Pakistan.

That's what I want to change at the Ultimate Pace Foundation.

I want Indian bowlers to come and take their chance to become a fast bowler. I want to have bowlers who have a heart for bowling fast. I want to break the tradition of being satisfied with being a trundler.


Bowl like Steyn, not Kumar

The youngsters that I speak to around India all idolise bowlers like Dale Steyn, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait.

No-one wants to be Kumar or Sharma.

They all want to be Kohli or Tendulkar with the bat, but nobody wants to be an Indian bowler. They don't have anyone to look up to like in Pakistan where you fall over three fast bowler's walking to the shop. The difference is expectation.

At the moment cricketers are destroyed by the 40 year history of being told they can't bowl fast. They think they need to slow down to be accurate. You don't see coaches in India tell bowlers to try and hit batsmen on the head. You can see how effective fast, short bowling has been on English batsmen during the Ashes.

Hitting line and length is fine, but why not hit it 20kph faster?

Most coaches tend to say "I would rather you hit your length at 120kph than miss it at 145kph". I wouldn't: I rather you bowled at 155!

That way, when you get it right you destroy teams. It takes a lifetime to prove you are accurate, but it takes one ball to prove you are quick. The West Indies of the 1970s dominated the world for 15 years with that strategy. Pace is king.

What with increasing restrictions on bowlers in cricket, speed is the one area where there is no limitation. Use that fact to your advantage.

You can learn the attitudes and secrets of how to bowl faster at the Ultimate Pace Foundation; my 7 day fast bowling academy that will set you up for a lifetime of pace bowling.

The facility we are using in Bangalore is ideal for fast bowlers. You can wear spikes in the nets, and the monsoon rains tend to stay away. That means it's cricket all year round. And fast bowling at maximum pace.

Click here to take your one chance and become a cricketer.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 49: The Mitchell Johnson Problem

Listen to the show to get the inside track on fast bowling. Whether you bowl it like Mitchell Johnson, play it like England or coach it, there's audio gold for you from Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe.

There is also a guest appearance from Menno Gazendam, author of Spin Bowling Tips who talks back spin, side spin, classical finger spin and taking wickets. And we discuss the idea of batting with your strong hand at the top, or to put it another way, should right handed batters all bat left handed?

Download the show now to listen in.


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.

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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 242.

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Are You Batting Like A Blind Poker Player?

I am a very part time spinner. Yet I've claimed the wicket of many a first-class batsman in the nets following an ill advised premeditated advance towards one of my oh-so-friendly off breaks. Lets be honest, we haven't just heard about this, we've all been there ourselves.

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Click here to fill it in.


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: 285
Date: 2013-12-13