Pitchvision Academy


Mark Garaway has a great tip this week for all fielders with weak throws. Read on to get a better throw quickly and easily.

And that's not all. We also interview Makhaya Ntini, ask you for your views and find some coaching advice from the London Schools Cricket Association.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Makhaya Ntini Brings Cricket Back with Big Picture Thinking

Have you ever thought about the wider impact of cricket outside of the nitty gritty of techniques, tactics and results?

Makhaya Ntini has.

For Ntini, cricket is opportunity on a wider scale. He knows from personal experience. He was plucked from nothing as a boy in a Cape Province village, and went on to play a hundred Tests for South Africa. Recently, I spoke to the fast bowler about his new Academy, and it's clear that this passion continues.


He didn't want to speak about net practice or streetwise tactics, he wanted to say right from the start; sport is a way for society to grow as a whole.

And when you think about the "big picture" for a moment, you realise how important the game is to the world.

Makhaya Ntini Cricket Academy

Makhaya's academy might have cricket in the title - and it's certainly state of the art - but the truth is the goal is about helping young people in rural township areas of South Africa. Of course, cricket is the start of it all. Sessions are run in schools for beginners with the aim of developing a passion for the game. It's how Ntini himself came into cricket, yet the old structure has vanished leaving a void for the youngsters of today, and a decline in cricket in rural areas.

So while better players are identified as talent for the future, the academy goes about building up the next generation of cricket lovers on a much wider scale. Makhaya told me, "it's about taking people away from the streets and giving them the chance to put bread and butter on the table."

Makhaya Ntini Academy is no elite, unobtainable fortress of cricket. Those on the programme are filtered into society in a number of ways. Through scholarships the academy is creating doctors, lawyers and a host of other much needed professions alongside cricketers.

That can only be a good thing. "Though sport," the Proteas' legend revealed "there is so much you can achieve."

From most people's mouths that would sound trite, but coming from a man with his history, you believe every word. It makes the Makhaya Ntini Cricket Academy a unique place.

Cricket as social good

It's not a well covered subject here at PitchVision Academy, but it's important to think about cricket outside the world of cricket occasionally.

Ask someone why they play or coach cricket, and the answer almost always has a social element. Perhaps you pray to become a professional because it means a better life. It may be that you coach youngsters because you know it "keeps them off the streets". Cricket is about a lot more than having fun with friends and meeting the challenges of the game.

The great thing is that you can have fun and the rest falls into place behind you.

Makhaya Ntini's academy brings that to life.

You can find out more about the work done, and how you can help through cricket at the Makhaya Ntini Cricket Academy website.

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Make This Technical Change to Turn Slow Throws into Rockets

I can remember a player coming from the County game into the International ODI squad for the first time with the a real fielding problem.

His throw was completely ineffective.

It was as if he was throwing slower balls!

The ball was revolving like a spinner as it hit my catching mitt in practice. If the ball hit the ground it would react off the surface like an off cutter.

The player was creating lots of energy through the legs and the torso, yet no output at the end. It was something that I had to change quickly for him or it would have become a reason for Duncan Fletcher to consider him to be non-selectable.

So, out came the slow-motion camera and within 5 throws, the answer was staring me straight in the face.

It was very clear on the camera screen that this star had the ball facing the target at the top of the arm circle. This resulted in his fingers being behind the side of the ball at release point.

The lack of force being applied to the back of the ball was the reason why the throw was coming out as a slower, off cutter rather than a rocket!

As we know from coaching bowlers to deliver slower balls, this is one of the methods of maintaining arm velocity yet bowling the ball slower which helps bowlers to deceive batters. Lasith Malinga is a classic example of this with his slower ball.

So what did we do?

We got him to present the ball away from the target at the end point of his stretch (preparation phase). This was very important because when the thrower rotated his shoulders he was able to throw the top and back of the ball rather than the side of the ball.

Here is a picture of what I mean from a thrower in school who had the same issue.

He made the adaptation of presenting the ball away from the target at the top of the throwing circle. This led to throwing the back and top of the ball and made exocet rockets.

In both cases both fielders now had the confidence to throw the ball on a flatter trajectory from anywhere on the boundary. The ODI player began to demand more and more fielding practice to show off his new found throwing skill.

How many of your players could benefit from you looking at their hand position at the top of the throwing circle?

My guess would be that at least half of them will have their hand pointing toward the target at the top of their throwing circle.

That's great if you’re trying to throw slower balls, yet not so good if your intention is to develop a world class fielding unit!

We talk about 1% marginal gains in sport constantly. This coaching tip is more like a Ten-percenter: nothing marginal about that!

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Cricket Show S5 Episode 37: Playing Up and Out of Your Skin

The team of David Hinchliffe, Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery tackle the sticky topic of "self help". The category doesn't sit well with tough cricketers and hard nosed coaches, but is there something we can take from all those books? Find out on the show.

Plus, there is the usual mailbag with questions on running between the wickets, blindfolds and stepping up a level as a young bowler in adult cricket. Can we help this young player play up and out of his skin?

There is something for everyone who plays and coaches cricket in the show.

Have a listen and give your feedback!


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, smart phone or tablet every week automatically. Simply choose your favourite podcast player and do a search for the show:

Or subscribe manually with the RSS feed. Right click here, copy the link and paste it into the appropriate place for adding new feeds in your podcast subscription software or RSS reader.

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 280.

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Ask the Readers: What's Your Perfect Cricket Game?

If you could choose any format for your cricket, what would it be? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

One of the great things, and one of the frustrating things, about our game is flexibility. The professionals play up to five days. Even at lower levels we can easily play two day, limited over and Twenty20.

We all have our preferences for playing, coaching and watching formats, but today I want to know something different. I want to know what structure is best for your level as a coach or player. So, leave a comment and reveal your thinking.

Making One Chance Into More: The Example of London School Cricket Association

One of the biggest frustrations of cricket is missed opportunities. I'm sure you have felt it yourself.

I'm not talking about that half volley you smashed straight to a fielder, or the dropped catch on the boundary that cost the game. I mean missing the chance to make the best of your talents as a player. It happens all the time because of frustrating reasons.

Late developers are overlooked for squad selections and miss the their chance. Players from poor backgrounds can't afford good coaching or equipment and fall behind richer peers. It's awful because he may have as much skill as the next person, it's just they got a foot in the door, and now the door is firmly closed.

All is not lost.


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: 326
Date: 2014-09-26