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There are a load of drills in this week's newsletter because, well, because drills are awesome.

But to drill without understanding what you are doing is pointless, so we also take some time to talk about some important underlying reasons why you should drill: Building resilience, keeping things simple, and making practice constructive. Please take some time with your favourite beverage and get right into it.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Make Cricket Practice Constructive with this Boxing Drill

This is a guest article from Matt Thompson, Cricket Performance Director at Cardiff Metropolitan University. For more of Matt's work, find him on twitter and read his blog.

Picture the scene. It's time for training. You, as a batsman, have your regular opportunity for a constructive practice session with your coach or fellow team mates. Before you put your pads on, consider what does constructive actually mean? What does it look like for you?

Too many times at club, academy and university level, "constructive" takes the form of the batsman playing a glorious array of inappropriate shots without a game context in mind, inevitably squandering their wicket on a host of occasions.

I would be lying if I said I’ve never had one of these before myself as a player!

That is not constructive. So what is? Following on from David's article on having clear goals at open nets, here is one example of what "constructive" looks like.


As many of the best ideas, the following session was stolen from Millfield School's Director of Coaching Mark Garaway. We called it the "Froch vs Groves session" as I first saw it in action last year – the day after Froch shrugged off the threat of Groves for the second time to retain his WBA and IBF boxing titles. Very simply, this is how it goes:

Froch vs Groves Batting Session

  • 12 rounds of 6 overs (72 balls)
  • Overall winner is first 7 but keep playing to 12 regardless
  • Winner of round determined by:
    • Shot success
    • Perceived person in control (batsman or bowler)
    • Dismissal/boundary

It may be an old cliché but it's true: Every single ball contributes towards the over and the result of the round; as it does in your innings. Many people might not see 6 overs as sufficient preparation for an upcoming game, but surely 72 balls of quality practice is better than 200 without a specific focus?

Finding gaps in your armour

Boxing is arguably as much a psychological game as it is physical. Your body language prior to the fight; your ability to take a punch yet still show your opponent that you can deal with it; your ability to strike a punch of your own with assertiveness and sound technique. All of these things are also under extreme pressure.

We can link all of these to batting. Your body language, the message you portray to the bowler and fielders through your body as you go out to bat is vital. Crucially also, when the bowler lands a punch (i.e. is bowling well and has you in trouble) you have to be able to show that you can deal with it and move on. In the context of this practice session, body language can win or lose you the round regardless of whether you feel like you’ve played well or not. Decision-making inevitably plays a major role as well. Your ability to execute the correct shot, with conviction, confidence and good technique is another important aspect of the batsman’s toolkit.

The great thing about this session is that your team mates – as bowlers – can do something constructive as well. They can work on the exact same things you are. You can engage in a discussion with them and your coach in between rounds (overs) to discuss what happened, and why (and how) you're going to try and improve going into the next.

Put your own spin on it and see how constructive your sessions become. I’ve used Mark's session countless times, and adapted it into a similar context using the TV show 24.

Sessions like this not only help your decision making, they help you find things out about yourself in a competitive situation under pressure. The more you can understand yourself and how you operate under pressure, the better you can deal with the demands of the match.

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How to Build Resilient Cricketers

The final piece in the mental toughness jigsaw is resilience. Players scoring high in resilience have a great ability to bounce back strongly after any disappointment. Their confidence remains bulletproof for a long period of time, which protects them from the ups and downs of self-belief.

These players have a positive attitude towards the future. Resilience high players are focused on finding solutions and taking steps forward: Dwelling on problems is not something you will see in these characters.

These players experience disappointment, but they quickly move their focus on to regaining control and taking positive action.


My most Resilient player ever: P.D. Collingwood

Paul Collingwood has more resilience than any other player that I have worked with. Colly faced selection questions every time he played for England - particularly in the longest format - and my favourite examples of Collingwood's huge stores of resilience can be seen below:

  • In the 2006/07 Ashes, Collingwood stood up to the Aussies when other England batters were being steam-rolled. He scored a dogged second innings 96 at the GABBA and then a career best 206 at the SACA five days later. Colly was often the only player that stood toe to toe with Australia in that one sided series.
  • Colly lifted heavy England hearts with his trophy-winning performances in the CB Series of 2006/07. He scored 120 in a play-off match before dominating the three match finals with 106* and 70 in back to back matches.
  • With his Test career on the line, Collingwood took South Africa to the cleaners with an aggressive 135 at Edgbaston in 2008. He was visibly emotional as he hit the 6 that took him to his first Test match ton in 26 Test innings, Colly saved his International career.

Developing resilience

So, here are some resilience based coaching strategies to emulate those performances:

  • I sometimes give a poor umpiring decision to test a player's resilience: A tight wide decision against a bowler or a dubious LBW in nets against a batter shows you how they react. Review the behaviours and subsequent performance shifts of the player to extract learning.
  • Change the rules. Start a net with one set of rules; let them get into the session and then change them completely. See which players accept and move on, which ones get flustered quickly. Again, review behaviours and reactions to impact upon future performance.
  • Video body language/verbal language following a setback. This is great in matches especially. Start the video straight after a batter plays and misses, a bowler gets hit out of the park or a fielder drops a catch. Do they come back quickly with their same intent, focus and bulletproof confidence or not? Often, the visual impact of the video is enough, especially if someone has displayed poor resilience to a setback. There are no coaching words required. The camera never lies.
  • Use opportunities such as poor performance, non-selection and injury as a catalyst for developing resilience. I use examples of performers who have come back from poor form, being dropped, injury and then gone on to been hugely successful.
    • After Bagging a pair on Test debut, it took Graham Gooch 36 Test innings to register his first Test ton. Gooch went on to score 20 Test match 100's averaging 42.58.
    • F1 racing driver, Niki Lauda almost died after a crash at the Nürburgring in 1976. He raced again within 6 weeks and won his second of 3 World Titles the following year.
    • Michael Jordan was not selected for his High School basketball team because he was deemed to be too small. Jordan is now widely regarded as greatest basketball player of all time.

Build your own resilient role model list. Make them relevant to your playing group and the resilience based learning will be fast tracked.

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Cricket Show S5 Episode 45: Cutting and Pasting Bowling Actions

In half an hour of audio cricket chat, the team cover a range of topics and questions. First up is the influence of the IPL on the wider cricket world, especially in the light of news that English cricket has seen a drop in participation.

Then Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe go into specifics about bowling fast and reducing injury. Following a question, Lavers and Garas analyse the techniques of Tino Best and Keemar Roach and discuss how much you can emulate, copy and paste.

Finally there is a discussion on the power, and tyranny of thinking positive. Can just thinking about being good make you good?

Find out on the show.


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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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 288.

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How to Reach Your Genetic Potential for Cricket

Is there anything more tragic than the talented player who wastes his ability?

This person plays effortlessly when everything is working, but too many days on the pitch are missed with low scores or average bowling spells. If you can sum it up in one word it's "enigmatic".

Maybe you are a person like this.

You can feel that you have talent, but you are frustrated by your inability to consistently and drain every last drop. The route to becoming a cricketer feels frustratingly just out of reach and the difference is simply tapping into your genetic potential.

Here's what you do to get the most from your talent.

Play Better Cricket by Simplifying, Not Reducing

Simplicity is good, but you can over-simplify and that's a barrier to your best performance.


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: 335
Date: 2014-11-28