Pitchvision Academy


If you are enjoying a break for new year, I hope it's going well. Here at the newsletter we are still working hard to deliver you holiday gifts like the best eBooks to read, how to fix "falling away" and another Streetwise Bowling tip.

Have a great new year,

David Hinchliffe

Streetwise Bowling: The Seamer's Subtlety


This article is part of the "Streetwise Bowling" series from PitchVision Academy. To view the full list of tactics click here.

As a seamer, you lack the subtle variety of seam and swing. You are probably not that quick. You are McGrath, relentlessly hitting your length and relying on the seam for variety.

But even the metronome needs something else.

Batsmen get well set on a flat pitch. You come up against a player who you know is a little sluggish to get forward early in his innings. The ball gets old and worn at the end of an innings.

It's time to take a wicket through subtlety.


  • Name: The Seamer's Subtlety
  • Bowling Type: Any seam up bowler
  • Difficulty Level: 6/10
  • Success Level: Moderate

The Over

Your over is spilt into two distinct parts: the setup and the pay off. First, in the setup you bowl an orthodox line, ideally back of a length to make the batsman play back rather than forward.

The subtle part of this is to slow your pace slightly and vary it within a range of about 5-8kph. You are not bowling slower balls, but you are not bending your back. Bowl within yourself but still get through your action.

After 3-5 balls it's time for the pay off.

When you feel the batsman is used to you bowling at slightly below normal pace, and has assumed that's what you are doing today, you apply the coup de grâce: a top pace yorker at the toes.

The increase in pace combined with one of the hardest balls to play should be enough to get you your man bowled or LBW.

It's a simple, yet well disguised variation for all seamers from military medium to searing paceman.

The tactic also has the advantage of being a way to get out of an expensive over for you. If you have gone for a few runs in the over, the well executed yorker is a way to get a dot, wicket or single only.

You can download a printable pdf version to take to nets from here.

Give it a try and let me know how you go! And by the way, if you have a suggested field for this tactic has worked for you  in real life, leave it in the comments.

This article is part of a series, to get the latest in the series, click here to subscribe to the free PitchVision Academy email newsletter.

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Fixing Fast Bowlers: Curing Excessive Side Bend

We now know that the most significant cause of spinal stress fractures in fast bowlers comes from excessive side bend, or "lateral flexion" in scientific speak. This is often caused as a result of the body compensating in the delivery stride for things that have not worked correctly further back.

This could be the angle of approach, the angle of bound or misaligned back foot contact.

However, we sometimes get a situation where all of the above are OK and the bowler is still displaying excessive side bend at point of release.

So what can we do about it?

Here is my solution:


1. Reduced height intervention poles

The poles can be placed in a position through the crease that is right up against the body of the bowler at point of release. If the bowler bends to the side, then his front arm, or a part of the upper body on their non-bowling side, will touch the intervention poles giving kinaesthetic feedback. This feedback will inform the body of adaptation that needs to be made.

If your supporting language is appropriate, then the bowler will start to develop strategies to solve the problem without you having to coach the action.

2. Theraband pulls

Theraband is a physiotherapy and rehabilitation resource that is used significantly with throwers and fast bowlers in cricket.

Look up images and video on the Internet of Theraband exercises. Here's a great drill:

  1. Loop the Theraband around the bowler’s chest (under the arms) and hold both of the ends of theraband in your hands.
  2. Always stand on the non-bowling side of the bowler when holding the Theraband ends.
  3. Ask the bowler to have a couple of running steps into their bound, you move/run with them as they go through the bowling action.
  4. As you move with them, take up the tension in the Theraband and pull gently towards yourself. This will force the bowler to resist the pull by using their core (transversus abdominis in particular) and this will start the process of training the body to stay more upright at point of release.
  5. Take it slowly at first and pull with just enough tension to feel the Theraband become tight at point of release.
  6. As the bowler gets used to the drill, you can increase the pull to increase the challenge.

As with any drill, the aim is to remove the coaching intervention and place the bowler back into an open environment. Test if the bowlers technique can stand up to the rigours of full pace.

If not then revert to one or both of the drills above, if all is good then crack on as normal.

If we can reduce the incidence in side bend with our bowlers then we will be giving them more chance of a healthy & positive experience when bowling fast.

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10 Best Cricket Coaching Books for eReaders

More people than ever woke up on Christmas morning to a Kindle eBook reader. Who knows how many millions got their hands on an iPad or other tablet with a Kindle app ready to go.

Great gifts, but you need something to put on them.

And despite there being over 900,000 books in the Amazon store, there is a frightening lack of cricket coaching advice for a device that you can slip into your bag.

Fortunately Kindle reads all eBooks and not just the ones from Amazon.

So here are the 10 most high-quality coaching books that you can download from PitchVision Academy and get to reading to improve your game in 2014:

  1. Michael Bevan - Finisher: Chasing Runs, Shot Selection and Consistency
  2. Nathan Bracken - Swing Bowling Masterclass
  3. Batting Lion: The Desmond Haynes Masterclass
  4. Gary Palmer - Batting Mechanics: How to Bat with the Techniques and Tactics of World Class Players
  5. Menno Gazendam - Spin Bowling Project
  6. Adrian Shaw - Wicketkeeping Drills, Tips and Training
  7. David Hinchliffe - Countdown to Summer: The Guide to Perfect Preseason Training
  8. David Hinchliffe - How to Use Mental Training to Boost Your Game
  9. Ian Pont - Attacking Batting: 8 Innovative Shots That Escalate Your Run Rate
  10. Nic Northcote - Wicket-Keeping: The Ultimate Guide to Mastering the Art

And the bonus if there is a lady in your life who wants to learn more about the world's greatest game is Point to Fine Leg - The Modern Woman's Complete Guide to Cricket by our very own convert Stacey Harris.

To get the books on your Kindle, just download them onto your PC and transfer them across.  It’s very easy (and if you get stuck, drop me a line). Any pdf file works on Kindle and iPad.

Most of the eBooks also have other content you can use at any PC or Mac too. So it’s double the fun and ten times the improvement. 

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Here's the Advice I Gave Santa This Christmas

Santa doesn't play or coach much cricket. I know because he told me one one of our regular updates to him about my kid's "naughty or nice" status.

But I told him he should give it a go.

Think about it, he's the perfect opening batsman. Sure he is overweight by modern standards but anyone who has the stamina to ride a sleigh all night, clamber up and down chimneys and lug that huge sack around would find scoring a hundred a cinch.

So I said to Santa that he should consider trying a few games when the Christmas break is over.

How to Move from Cricket Apprentice to Master

How long does it take to serve your apprenticeship?

Cricket is frustrating. You want to achieve the mastery that your talent allows but you need to go through a long and difficult apprenticeship.

Even the most naturally talented players had to do it, so you are no exception.

Sachin Tendulkar has had more glory poured on him than any other batsman. And rightfully so, his performances with the bat have made Indian's proud. He was an international as a teenager, but even he served his apprenticeship.


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: 287
Date: 2013-12-27