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Coaching catching has come a long way in the last few years. If you are out of the loop, you can get back into it with a thorough guide from Mark Garaway.

Speaking of coaches, one of the common criticisms of modern players is that they rely on the coach too much. So, we show you in this newsletter how to use the coach to benefit without becoming too reliant on anyone except yourself. Meanwhile we also look at net fillers and a terrifying batting drill.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Become a Self-Sufficient Cricketer

Do you need a coach to be a good cricketer?

Shane Warne didn't think so. He was famous for scoffing at coaching and encouraging players to rely on themselves to get better. He had a point. No one can help you once you walk onto the field, can they? You might as well learn how to do it yourself.

So what does the self reliant cricketer look like?

Learn critical skills

No one is an island. You need people to help you, even Shane Warne had Terry Jenner to tune him up. The difference is that good players are thoughtful about what advice to take, and what advice to ignore. You need to have e eyes and ears of an analyst.

You hear it time and time again from players with great talent: Kevin Pietersen talked to me about it, Mark Garaway talks in glowing terms about the mindset of two players he has coached, Alistair Cook and Graeme Smith. These players, alongside many others, challenge and question their advisors. They will try things if convinced but they will be secure enough to ignore things they don't see working.

Discover your character

It's a lot easier to do this if you have a better understanding of how you 'tick'. Your character is just as important as your talent, so understanding yourself will help you to know what will make you a successful cricketer.

What does this mean practically?

Say you are someone who is reluctant to change. You like your routines, you know they keep you level headed when others are losing their cool. It would be bad for you to make a large technical correction because you don't like feeling that way. You would be more inclined to keep your flaw and feel calmer at the crease, at least in the short term.

On the other hand, perhaps you love to tinker. Changes are part of improvement for you. You would adjust your grip five minutes before a deciding match if you felt it would help you. You are happy to go back if it's not working out, so can make these changes and still feel happy.

This is just one example. The point is that learning your character leads onto practical things; the best types of training, the fastest ways of learning and the most success. The first step - the very foundation - is who you are deep down.

So, how do you do that?

There's a lot been written on the topic, but in my mind it all boils down to putting in the hard work. Not in the nets (although that's crucial too) but in reflection.

Work out how you respond to things; both in feeling and in action. Chances are that you will spot some trends by simply keeping a journal.

Alongside this, look to expand your experiences. Learn new life skills that are not taught, especially if you are moving from child to adult life. Everything feeds back into reflection, review and understanding.

Of course, if you ask Warnie how he did it, he won't answer the same way.

But if you look at what he, and others, have done it is all about respectfully challenging ideas and learning about yourself. Warne understood that from an early age and made the most of himself. You have the power to do the same.

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Find the Best Catching Style for More Catches More Often


Have you ever thought about the many different ways that a person can move and position themselves ahead of taking a safe catch?

I was taught one way of high catching when I was a young player: The "Aussie" style catch with the hands reversed and the ball taken as high as possible with my hands in front of my face.

But I have only ever taken four catches in my life with this method.

I always messed up my footwork ahead of catching the ball!

This experience of difference between my taught method and my actual method has impacted upon my coaching of high catching over the years. As a result, I ask myself the following questions when watching each fielder's methods and before I intervene with coaching points.

High catching checklist

1. Do they catch the ball consistently?

  • If so, what’s their method of choice?
  • If not, then can we try a different method and see if that has a positive impact on catching performance?

2. Do they prefer to take the ball in front of the eyes, level with the eyes or beneath the eye level?

  • Some players prefer the Aussie style because they can see their hands and the ball in front of themselves. This makes this type of catcher feel in control as they have a visual reference point for both the ball and their catching area.
  • Some players prefer to let the ball drop further and take the ball as close to their eye line as possible. This is often taken in what some would call an English style with the palms facing directly to the sky.
  • Some players like to let the ball drop further and make contact with it beneath their eyes and as close to their centre of gravity and tummy as possible. This "COG" style is where they feel most secure.

Movement and position differences

Each of these approaches has an impact on movement to the ball and the position that the catcher takes ahead of ball contact.

  • Aussie Style: It's essential to get under the flight of the ball as early as possible. This helps judgement of ball flight and early preparation helps to get the hands high with fingers up ahead of ball contact. We often see a player rolling backwards when taking a catch. It's more preferable for this player to get too far under the ball rather than short of the flight of the ball as a result.
  • English Style: The fielder will often stand off the flight of the ball by a pace as he/she wants the ball to fall in front of their body so that the hands can meet the ball at eye level. If this person was to get too far under the ball flight then the catching style of preference would be compromised leading to late repositioning and adjustments with the hands. This type of player would prefer to have to fall forward, rather than back so being a pace or two off the flight of the ball is more preferable to being too close.
  • COG Style: Early preparation under the line of the ball, under the ball flight. We often see a player like this rolling backwards when taking a catch. Again, it’s more preferable for this player to get too far under the ball rather than short of the flight of the ball as a result.

Watch you players closely remembering that "The coach is the student; the player is the University".

If they catch the ball consistently with their chosen method then help them to master it.

If they are not consistent then try the other 2 methods and see which one fits them best. Learn about the individuals preferences and apply your flexible coaching points around each catcher.

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Cricket Show S5 Episode 41: Bowl, Eat, Drink, Sleep, Bowl

Feats of amazing athletic fielding are in the mind of the team this week. Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe discuss exactly how to throw down the stumps in spectacular fashion like Matthew Wade did.

There is also a discussion on the question of coming back for a second spell, or bowling two days in a row. There is plenty of advice, and foam rolling is mentioned. Plus Garas is throw a dog-eared old ball and asked to get some wickets. How will he do it?

Listen to the show 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

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 284.

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Use These Better "Fillers" at Nets to Improve Fitness and Keep Injuries Away

It's a simple and effective training method to add "filler" exercises to net sessions to help with fitness training. You know the type of thing; adding in press ups and sprints between balls to increase fatigue and bump up fitness. Here is a perfect example. We have done this kind of work for years.

I'm sure if I asked you to name a few simple things players could do, you quickly think of exercises like press ups, chin ups, squats and lunges. How about we add a few more into the mix that will also prevent injury. Plus, it gets a bit dull doing lunges, so why not mix it up?

Naturally, you won't want to run fillers at every nets you do. It depends on your goal for the session, but the fact is that these movements tick a lot of boxes: They save time, they reduce injury and they test your technique under fatigue. If you want to do those things, get going!

Dare You Use This Terrifying Batting Drill?

This is a guest posted drill from Laurie Ward of Complete Cricketer Academy.

This is the most terrifying batting drill you will ever experience. We call it "The Nazgul" because in Lord of the Rings, nothing is as scary as a Nazgul!

For the coach, it brings out the inner sadist. For the players, it's a way to work on hitting the ball into the right areas, even when you are exhausted and just want it to stop. It won't because there is no respite.


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: 330
Date: 2014-10-24