Pitchvision Academy


Batting is stressful: One mistake and your game is over!

The players who can control their anxiety are the ones who are more likely to score big, even when the odds are against them. Nick Compton is one such batsman and in the newsletter this week he talks about his process for staying cool, calm and collected.

Plus we have more batting drills from MCC and Gary Palmer, alongside a new way to train to ramp up the pace of fast bowlers. You can thank strength coach Steffan Jones later.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Are You Ready to Bat: How to Deal with Anxiety at the Crease


How many times have we walked back to the pavilion asking "what on earth happened there?"

I know I have on numerous occasions.

As you read last week, England and Somerset batsman Nick Compton popped in to run a Batting Masterclass at Millfield School.

Nick asked all of the players a great question: Are you ready to bat?

Nick spoke of the strategy that he runs before he bats.

He is someone who shuts himself off from the rest of the world to his thoughts ahead of facing the first ball.

Nick told us how he visualises himself successfully facing the first ball, the first over and then his 1st twenty balls. He views himself incorporating a 'world class defence', moving well, leaving decisively and scoring off the balls that fall into his preferred scoring areas.

Nick manages his breathing during this 5 minute process as this helps him to control his emotions, physiology and aids the visualisation process.

For England, Nick opens the batting and therefore, he always had 5 minutes to do this directly ahead of his 1st ball.

However, Nick bats at number 3 for Somerset and runs through this process at the start of each day and then a more concise version when the 1st wicket falls. In the shortened version, Nick gets onto his haunches and collects his thoughts for 30 seconds ahead of striding out to the wicket.

Is this a trick you can use?

Dealing with anxiety at the crease

Nick repeatedly mentioned that he has improved his ability to manage his emotions at the crease over the past couple of seasons. This has resulted in Nick being able to bat for longer and score more runs.

Emotions and anxiety come into play at all stages of an innings. Here are a few examples of potential high anxiety points that can impact upon batting performance:

  1. Making a début
  2. Facing your first ball
  3. Approaching a milestone
  4. Refocusing after reaching a milestone (like Brendan McCullum on 302 against India at Wellington).
  5. Chasing a target down.
  6. Batting with the tail.
  7. Batting to keep your place in the side during a poor period of performance.

So how can we deal with anxiety better?

Recently, I listened to a keynote speech by Jonathan Bockelmann-Evans at Millfield Preparatory School. Jonathan is one of the UK's leading emotional health consultants.

Jonathan spoke and demonstrated a technique called 7/11 breathing.

This helps to alleviate anxiety and increases focus on the things that matter. How relevant is that for batting?

Encourage your players not to breathe into the chest (as many normally do) but deep into their tummy or diaphragm which is below the chest. The important thing here is that the out breath must be longer that the in breath.

This process causes stimulation of the part of the nervous system responsible for relaxation. This is a basic law of biology and if someone breathes in this way then their body will have no choice but to relax.

If you can pass this lesson onto your players, then you might be giving them the most effective piece of coaching advice ever.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Improve "Weight Transfer" with This Simple Drill

What are the commentators on TV really talking about when they discuss a batsman "transferring his weight into the ball"?


It's not coaching double-speak, it allows you to hit the ball harder in front foot shots. That's the miracle of Newtonian physics: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

But to get the reaction you need to have your weight forward. We used to say that you have to get your head over the ball. Nowadays that implies things we don't want to coach so we talk about getting weight into the ball.

That way, the advice applies to players with a great big stride - like Ricky Ponting - and players with virtually no stride like Virender Sehwag. They both get their weight into the shot. They both hit the ball with power and timing.

Here's an example from a club player:

All this theory chatter is good, but how do you teach it?

Some players will get it from a simple demo and some underarm feeds, but others need to feel the position before it locks into their brain.

For these players you can simply get them to stand in their stance with no bat while you drop a tennis ball at a half volley length:


The player leans forward and catches it, getting a feel for the most balanced and aligned head position.

After this you can progress the drill to a feed, where the player catches the ball.

Although this is a very simple drill, it is very effective for players having trouble with the idea of "weight into the ball" and it will help you improve their shot execution in just a few minutes of work.

Give it a try!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show S5 Episode 6: Think for Yourself

Cricket coaching has been in the mainstream media this week with articles on fitness attitudes from journalists and a concerned parent. So Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe mull things over from the coaches perspective.

We also help listeners with their cricket issues, including a leggie who has lost his modjo and a fast bowler who bowler off the wrong foot. Plus, Burners logs his roving report and we catch up with former-England wicketkeeper (and current cricket badger) Paul Nixon.


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 249.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to Train if You Are Unhappy with How Fast You Bowl

This is a guest article from former professional bowler, and current Strength, Conditioning and Fast Bowling Coach Steffan Jones.

How do you train to bowl lightning fast?

Sorry to all the traditionalist out there, but you can't "just bowl". Not if you want real pace.

Neither can you expect to do endless conditioning session that don't replicate the energy systems and effort of bowling. The sessions I'm seeing in some indoor schools and gyms are great for any other sports but not fast bowling!

So what do we do?

7 Stages of Improving Batting Technique

Gary Palmer is a batting coach and former-first class cricketer. You can find out more about Gary's coaching guides here. In this article he talks about the process of developing batting technique. Essential reading for all coaches.

Technique is the key.

Correcting batting technique is still the best way to improve your batting. An excellent technique gives you the tools you need to score huge numbers of runs in the summer. The best coaches teach the basics to the highest levels as they are the foundations of long term development.


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: 295
Date: 2014-02-21