Pitchvision Academy


It's the time of year for fresh starts: The start of the IPL and the start of the long English season are all high on our minds.

So why not start this period with some world-class cricket advice?

Mark Garaway, Steffan Jones and the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy are all knocking about with ideas to help you play or coach better cricket. Plus we show you how to take better notes so you can learn even more from the Academy archives.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Bowl Faster with Better Training Timing


This is a guest article from Steffan Jones.

You're bowling speed can drop in a just a week.

It's no good training all winter for speed, coming to the start of the season and losing the vital physiological qualities that enable you to bowl quickly. That's why understanding the timing of training is crucial if you want to stop wasting your off-season.

So, for weekend warriors that means a simple rule:

Do not have Friday off before your Saturday game

The short residual effect seen with speed means you must always peak as close to game day as possible. Friday seems a good day to me.

Make your session speed specific. Use weighted ball training to activate your nervous system and have a direct carry over to your bowling.

In season - and especially before a game - is not the time to lift heavy with squats and bench pressing and so on. That type of training has a place as it develops the potential to be athletic. But that is useless unless you make those gains transfer where it can influence performance.

It's part of your job as a fast bowler to understand how to train different qualities at different times.

Change training for maximum speed

I think the best way for me to explain what I mean regarding both "residual effect" and the importance of periodisation is by showing you my Speed Demon timetable from last season:

As you can see, I alternate a strength phase with a power phase. Due to the short residual effect of speed (you lose it more quickly), each phase has speed work in some form or another.

On the other hand, maximal strength takes much longer to decline (long residual effect). That means by the time strength ability begins to decrease its reintroduced to training. This approach is continued all winter until pre-season where to focus switches to weighted ball training. The purpose of the early phases is to gain some strength and perhaps even hypertrophy. Then as the winter progresses the training shifts towards more explosive work while keeping the muscles fresh.

Aerobic stamina has a long residual effect as well. I build this up starting with extensive tempo running and changing to intensive tempo running as we get closer to the season. It's taken out 3 weeks because we know that your capacity begins to taper after 18-23 days. However by the time the gains start decreasing, bowling is introduced to ensure the bowler has "miles in their legs" to cope with a tough cricket season.

Train at the right time

Remember, you don't lose the benefits of training if you take it out of your plan. Knowing this is so important in order to peak towards the start of the season.

If your season starts soon, good luck and remember to train on Friday!

To get the Speed Demon eBook from Steffan Jones, click here.

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Cricket Show S5 Episode 14: I Can Hear Garas Wind

David Hinchliffe and Mark Garaway are joined by Sam Lavery and Burners to chat about wind. It's suprisingly interesting. But even if your boat is not floated, the team also cover finding a way to play, and going from net sessions to games seamlessly.

Burners sums it all up nicely though: "tosh!"

We just hope it's tosh that helps you improve. Listen in to find out.


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

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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 257.

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The Coaching Kitchen: Create Better Cricketers by Becoming a Chef

Are you a cook or a chef?

I was asked exactly that at a recent symposium on talent identification. Weird?

A cook follows a recipe and ends up with a result that looks and tastes as intended.

A chef understands blends of flavour and textures. Chefs like Nigel Slater, Micheal Roux and Madhur Jaffrey balance a dish through experienced know-how by adding the right amount of "this", with a specific amount of "that" to end up with a taste sensation.

In the coaching world, 'cooks' read up on various coaching tools ranging from technical advice to biomechanics, psychological strategies, NLP and who know a bit about personality profiling. In fact, everyone on PitchVision Academy does this.

I congratulate you for investing time in your development as a coach.

The speaker would say that these types of coaches are excellent cooks: Capable of coming up with a good coaching result by following the sage advice picked up through reading and listening to experts across many fields.

Move from cook to chef

The speaker challenged us to be the "chef" instead.

Just as great chefs do, we can use all of our knowledge in an integrated and individual fashion dictated by the needs of the player, team and the conditions.

This balancing act requires experience, skill and patience. Three essential traits that both the worlds best coaches and Chef's possess.

So my questions to you are:

  1. How good are you at inviting other coaches and support staff into your coaching problems and challenges?
  2. How accepting are you of others challenging questions and critique when assessing your coaching style and interventions?
  3. How good are you at blending or integrating, S&C approaches with say, fast bowling technique, bowling craft (swing,seam, pace variation etc.) tactical skills within a flexible communication style?

If, like me, you think that there is one or more answers where you would like to be able to do that, yet you're not quite there yet, then keep up the good work and strive harder.

Turn yourself from a 'coaching cook' into a 'coaching chef'.

The last question

When was the last time you asked your players for feedback - positive and negative - about your coaching?

This is one of the most effective feedback tools when establishing if you are a cook or a chef in the coaching world.

I'm undertaking one this week.

4 players, 4 work colleagues in the coaching team and my boss all answer a questionnaire based on my coaching performance.

I have had 3 of these in my coaching career to date and they have given me the best feedback that I have ever had. Each time, this feedback has fuelled the next phase in my development for the immediate future.

I'm on my way to becoming a 'coaching chef'.

How about you?

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Can You Really Use Notes to Make You a Better Cricketer?

The pen is mightier than the bat.

Actually, it's not; but it's darn close.

I'm talking about the power of taking notes as you learn: Well established in the academic world but ignored in cricket.

Think of it this way: Wouldn't you like to better learn and retain the tips you read and watch on PitchVision Academy? When you are standing in the middle and wondering exactly what to do next, it would be great to use the computer in your head to produce a solution. Notes are a vital part of that process of getting stuff to "sink in".

In fact, it's a common theory that the main factor distinguishing good players from average players is their ability to learn.

So pick up that pen or iPhone, and start taking notes.

How Freddie Flintoff is Helping to Build a New Cricket Education Tradition

30% of English professional cricketers are private school educated, despite only 10% of people going through paid-education. The system works. It's a wonderful tradition.

That's a system that the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy (AFCA) has decided to bring to colleges with no cricketing tradition. A new scheme is set to have cricket at the centre of a fully rounded education, without the need to pay high fees.

I'm not going to lie, I wish there was a model like this when I was 16.


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: 303
Date: 2014-04-18