Pitchvision Academy


Please welcome the latest contributor to the newsletter this week: "The Fitness Doc" Dr. Deepak Hiwale. He discusses the best ways that fast bowlers can stay fit. And he should know!

But let's not forget the other great names too: Steffan Jones gives us more secrets of bowling at 90mph, while Mark Garaway has a drill to improve batting decision-making. You can't get better advice anywhere else on the net.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

What Fast Bowling Science Boffins Tell You About Preventing Injury


Dr. Deepak Hiwale is "The Fitness Doc", a medical doctor, sports scientist and cricket lover with a special interest in preventing fast bowling injuries. In this article, The Doc tells us about the pitfalls of bowling fast, and how you can stay on the park.

Fast bowlers have always been thought of as unintelligent by batsmen. However, nothing can be further from the truth. Fast bowling an intelligent art but it is also downright hard work. What's more is that more intelligence and planning go into the making of a fast bowler compared to a cricketer with other skill sets.

This intelligence and planning is not only to make a fast bowler but to also increase his shelf life.


The sheer physical effort involved in fast bowling coupled with the fact that fast bowling is such an unnatural act, it doesn't come as a surprise that fast bowlers are constantly at risk of getting injured. Fast bowlers are the only breed of cricketers that are likely to get seriously injured both at a younger age and when approaching the 30s.

Comparatively, batsmen, bowlers and wicketkeeper are relatively safe from the injury risks.

How realistic is the injury risk when bowling fast?

Fast bowling injuries are career threatening - especially those that occur early on - yet research has show that most injuries are likely to be missed by physios and clinicians during the initial stages. A high degree of clinical and diagnostic suspicion is required to prevent further worsening. Injuries missed in the initial stages, therefore, may go on to become chronic and may severely hamper performance.

For example, injuries to lower back do not heal completely. A residual component of disc degeneration and nerve root compression is a very likely scenario.

Fast bowling is risky!

So, what does all that suggest?

Fast bowlers need to be fitter and stronger than other players. And, how do you get fitter and stronger than the rest of the guys in the team? The answer is by following a stringent fast-bowling specific strength and conditioning (S&C) program and a diet plan that complements it.

This kind of S&C and prehab training should be done off-season; which brings us to the next crucial question.

How do you prevent fast bowling injury?

With fast bowlers, a double peak (or J curve) for injuries exists. Younger fast bowlers are prone to injury on account of two principal mechanisms:

  1. Immaturity of the skeletal and cartilaginous components
  2. Bowling overload

So, strengthening the musculo-skeletal system (muscle strength and power included) and working on endurance – especially sprint endurance over shorter distances - will prepare the body for the rigours at hand.

A progressive S&C program consisting of a mix of strength training exercises (like squats), power movements (like high pulls), sprint intervals and exercises to strengthen fast-bowling movement pattern will not only see you progress in the pace department but also enable you to bowl long spells without risking injury.

Take home message

If you are aspiring to be a fast bowler, hitting the nets most days of the week isn't enough. In fact, there is a risk of over-bowling as a youngster.

If you are targeting bowling quick, long spells and lasting for many years in the international arena, you have to get top-notch strength & conditioning (and nutrition plan) under your belt.

A physically weak fast-bowler – no matter how quick or good he is – will have a very short shelf-life.

Reference List

  • Bali, K., Kumar, V., Krishnan, V., Meena, D., & Rawall, S. (2011). Multiple lumbar transverse process stress fractures as a cause of chronic low back ache in a young fast bowler - a case report. Sports Med Arthrosc.Rehabil.Ther Technol., 3, 8.
  • Dhillon, M. S., Garg, B., Soni, R. K., Dhillon, H., & Prabhakar, S. (2012). Nature and incidence of upper limb injuries in professional cricket players a prospective observation. Sports Med Arthrosc.Rehabil.Ther Technol., 4, 42.
  • Dr Dennis, R. Evidence-based injury prevention for repetitive microtrauma injuries: The Cricket Example. 20-8-2007. Univeristy of Ballarat.
  • Orchard, J., James, T., Kountouris, A., & Portus, M. (2010). Changes to injury profile (and recommended cricket injury definitions) based on the increased frequency of Twenty20 cricket matches. Open.Access.J Sports Med, 1, 63-76.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Use This Simple 3 Stage Drill to Improve Batting Decision Making

Last week I talked about the missing two thirds of batting and focused on helping batters pick up visual cues. The next phase of the batting process is to build up our decision making capacity.

One of the ways that works for me is to build up the number of resources available to the individual: That is to say which options can be used.

I then to test which ones are most effective in a variety of scenarios and match conditions. This way, the player starts to decide for themselves.

I ran a session based on this today around playing spin using the Merlyn spin bowling machine variation mode which subtly shifts lengths by 10% either way.

The session went a little bit like this:


1. Divergent stage: Building a variety of solutions

Each set of 6 balls was given an intention "strap line".

The intentions that we worked with were:

  • The intention of hitting into the spin
  • The intention of hitting with the spin
  • The intention of hitting every safely ball over the 30 yard circle
  • The intention to sweep every ball
  • The intention to hit every ball behind square

Sometimes, a player would stay on a set of intentions for a couple of 6 ball periods, and then move on.

Other players would do a set of 6, move on and then return to the initial set of intentions after a few minutes.

All of the time, players are organising their bodies and their thinking in order to meet the intention. As they are doing this, they are playing shots (comfortably) that they would never have tried before.

As well as this, the player is formulating which options work best to him and which ones could be used in different situations.

2. Experimental stage

The players were asked to refine the potential solutions (in the divergent stage) down to a smaller number of intentions. The aim was to establish which intentions and options work best for them.

Some players narrowed their list of shots to 3 or 4 options within 2 of the intentions. Others had 1 shot from 4 intentions.

It was fascinating to listen to the individualised approaches and then even more fun watching them test each option as part of an overall game plan.

Some options were confirmed as highly viable, others were worked on to make them viable and some were thrown out as being ineffective.

This phase lasted 20 minutes with very little coach intervention.

3. Convergent stage: Scenario/consequence

A scenario was set -score, field, standard of fielder and so on - and the players were asked to play using the resources that are best suited for them and under that specific set of playing conditions.

Players that match or exceed the set scenario were free to go at the end of the session.

Any players who fall beneath the set scenario helped to tidy the Cricket bubble before the end of the session.

When the player succeeded, I asked him what he did in his decision making that led to achievement.

If he didn't succeed then I asked him what he would do differently if he could jump in the time machine armed with the findings from their recent experience and do the task again.

It is important to support any player in that review so that they come to the next test or session more informed and inspired.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show S5 Episode 4: Moving Forward

There are big changes in cricket, so Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe discuss what the end of Pietersen and Flower means for England and for your cricket team; there are lessons to be learned for sure.

And speaking of changing, we answer reader's questions about stopping overthrows and ending a bad run of run outs for an unlucky batsman. Could the cause be that he is a "harmoniser"?

Listen to the show to find out the details.


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 247.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Quick Tip: How Old Can You Spot Talent?

Richard, a doting father, has written in with a question:

My 7 year old son trains at county level with the 7-10 group but one of the coaches have asked if he would like to train with the 11-13 year old players. He lives and breathes cricket and has been training since he was 3. At what age do you think someone has potential?

If I could answer that with any accuracy I would be a rich man!

The Road to 90mph Bowling from the Man Who Made It

This is part 3 of and autobiographical training guide Steffan Jones, professional fast bowler. Can he achieve his aim of reaching 90mph through innovative training methods? For part one click here, for part 4 click here.


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.


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: 293
Date: 2014-02-07