Pitchvision Academy


It's a sad time for cricket with the death of Phil Hughes touching everyone in the game. We provide our own tribute in this newsletter with thanks to Mark Garaway. And while we all mourn this loss in our own way, we thought the best tribute would be to move forward and keep striving to help you play and coach better cricket. So, the newsletter continues, saddened but determined.

That means there are articles on bowling at batsmen in nets match analysis for all. We are also proud to announce a new series that updates and brings back content from the archives in case you missed it sometime in the last six years. We start with the classic fielding drills section with new drills and advice alongside all the original parts.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Philip Hughes

This has been the most tragic week for the game in my cricketing lifetime.

The passing of Philip Hughes has shocked and stunned both the International Cricket community and affected even those who do not consider themselves followers of the game.

The outpouring of support, emotion and tribute that followed the awful news has been incredible. The #putoutyourbatsout tribute to Philip has spread around the world. I have been in tears on viewing each one that is posted on Twitter or Facebook. It demonstrates that we are involved in an amazing game, played by fantastic people from all corners of the world.

Some pupils at Millfield School led their own spontaneous tributes last Saturday morning. Each of the boys and girls who laid their bats on the picket fence outside of the Wilson Pavilion were emotionally connected with a person that they had never met.

Today it's time to talk about the wider implications.

There has been significant debate about the design of batting helmets in recent days. Medical experts have informed us that this was a freak accident. There have only ever been 100 reported cases of this type of injury. Only one of those was caused a cricket ball. Dr Tony Grabs, Head of Trauma at St Vincent Hospital, Sydney where Philip does called the incident "very rare, very freakish".

My initial reaction on hearing that was that we don't need to change the design of helmets. There was enough evidence to suggest that this kind of incident is unlikely to happen again.

However, two days on and with lots and lots of reflection time, I have changed my view. I started to think about the different circumstances where a helmet is used in the modern game:

  1. Batsman facing a short pitched ball
  2. Sweep shot top edge
  3. Pull top edge
  4. Ramp shot in limited over cricket. Offside and leg side
  5. Wicket keeper standing up
  6. Short leg
  7. Silly point
  8. Poor and unpredictable pitches

Helmets are largely designed to withstand impact coming directly into the face/eyeline. Whilst the Craig Kieswetter and Stuart Broad injuries last summer were very nasty, the combination of grill and peak of the helmet took enough pace off of the ball to prevent devastating injury.

When you look at the list above, there are a number of roles for the helmet.The ball isn't always coming into the eye line. There can be deflections off edges for both batter and keeper which mean that often unprotected areas of the head and neck can be exposed to the ball.

I'm thinking of some of the ramp positions that batters get themselves into, which turns the body. Contact from the ramp shot changes the ball flight. Some batters have an instinctive reaction of turning their head away from the shot at the the point of contact.

Also think of the wicket keeper, standing up to the stumps, who is directly behind the ramp shot trying to cover the original line of the incoming ball.

We can now see so many potential challenges to the present helmet design. So many potential opportunities for deflections or poor technique to expose unguarded areas of the head and neck.

This throws back 3 sets of questions for me.

Helmet design

  • Should helmets that cover all vulnerable areas of the head and neck be the industry standard?
  • Do we need specialist helmets for each specialist position? Presently we use a batting helmet for all disciplines.
  • In Ice Hockey, players have outfield and goal tender specific helmets. why shouldn't cricket follow suit?


  • Should we be more attentive when coaching specialist skills: wicket keeping, short leg and silly point techniques, ramps and sweeps).
  • I fielded in both short leg and silly point positions without receiving coaching to hone my evasion technique. The only real practice I had was in match play. This would never happen for a front row position in Rugby, why is it OK for cricket?

Helmets: Consumer considerations

We now know that the helmet that Philip was wearing was not the latest model from that particular manufacturer. Obviously, it passed the safety standards for helmets within the game yet it's dimensions and construction were different to the manufacturers updated model.

The model Philip was wearing is known for its comfort and lightness. Many players chose to wear them because of the perceived batting performance gains over a longer innings.

This said, there is every chance that even the most up to date model would not have changed the awful outcome.

However, many players prioritise spending their money on securing the latest top of the range bat over getting the best possible protection for their heads.

I hope now that extra thought and consideration goes into buying the best helmet that you can afford.

It is also vital to ensure that the helmet fits well. If the helmet sits loosely on the head then it is likely to offer less stability if it is struck.

Graeme Smith would always have his chin strap the rubber cup on his chin strap perfectly placed and tightly bound to optimise the safety of the batting helmet on his head. Some mocked him as they thought it didn't look cool.

There will be changes in and around cricket helmets over the coming weeks, months and years as a result of Philip Hughes tragic passing just two days before his 26th birthday.

Will those changes come in their design or a shift in our perceptions? I hope both.

Rest in Peace Philip Hughes.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Fielding Drills

cricket fielding drillsHere is your one-stop for cricket fielding drills.

These drills are the fastest way to improve your essential cricket fielding skills. There is nowhere with a more comprehensive set of free fielding drills than here on PitchVision Academy.

Below you will find cricket fielding drills for all aspects of the game: Stopping, throwing and catching, infield and outfield. These drills are hard tested in the real world with cricketers across a range of skills and experience. So, whether you are a total beginner, a professional cricketer, or somewhere in-between you will find something that you can use right away.

This is a free resource for cricket coaches and players on a mission to improve their fielding. Here are the fielding drills:

Stopping Drills

These drills improve your ability to stop the ball travelling along the ground efficiently.

Underarm Throw Drills

underarm throwing drills

When you are looking to quickly hit the stumps from close in, an underarm throw is the skill to drill. These drills make underarm throwing fun.

Overarm Throw Drills

overarm throwing drills

Overarm throwing is a marquee skill: Improving power and accuracy is vital to how a fielder performs, and how a team looks. Theses fielding drills are all about developing the skill:

High Catching Drills

high catching drills for cricket coaching

Close Catching Drills

close catching cricket drills

Fielding Drill Games

This section is less about closed cricket skill drills and more about open ended games and situations where you can test your abilities under pressure or for fitness reasons.

How to use cricket fielding drills

These drills are great, but to get the best from them you need to get some context too. That means understanding when and how to incorporate them into practice sessions.

There is no best time to do fielding drills, most coaches will put them in as part of a warm up or extended warm up into skill work at the sttat of a session. That's a great idea if you need to work on fielding while fresh and focused. Plus, it's good for those players who find fielding a chore to "get it done" before they sneak away after having a net.

However, its also just as valid to use drills later in practice. They can break up a session, give batters and bowlers something to do during downtime. Just be sure you know the dangers.

On top of this, it's important to know why you are doing a drill. Is it for skill development, honing technique, fitness, fielding under pressure or something else? If the drill doesn't fit your needs, do another.

Finally, try and keep fielding drills short and focused. Drills that go on for too long end up becoming dull and not developing skills. It's better to do a fielding drill for five minutes and get a little better than to try and do it for 20 minutes to get a lot better. It doesn't work like that!

Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on drills, and don't forget to bookmark this page and check back as we add new cricket fielding drills.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show S5 Episode 46: Sixty Three Not Out

Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe are moved to speak about their feeling over death of Philip Hughes and the incredible outpouring of tributes in recent days. The cricket community have rallied around in a tragic time.

The world also keeps turning and so there are also discussions on cricket coaching and playing for the main part of the show. There is feedback about how to train to score a hundred, and questions about how to cut out looseners as a bowler, and how to be more consistent as a young player.

Download the show to listen in to 30 minutes of cricket audio on you phone, tablet or laptop.


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 289.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Should You Bowl at Batsmen in Nets?

Every team has one.

The staunch one. The guy who says bowlers should always bowl at batsmen in nets. It more realistic and anyway, nets are more for batsman than for bowlers.

This is frustrating. You know how it goes. The batter who is timid in the middle feels like KP in the safety of the net. There are wild swings, switch hits and all manner of unreal shots. You know they would never be played in a match.

Your practice is wasted.

Worse; there is nothing you can do about it while the staunch one looms over you telling you to pitch it up and give the batsman a chance to work on driving.

And besides, you want to give your team some batting practice too. It's not like you are totally selfish.

Do you fight hard against the staunch one to get time to bowl at a target, or do you give up an resign yourself to being a bowling machine?

In fact, you can keep everyone happy quite easily with a simple trick.

Are You Missing A Vital Part of Playing Better Cricket by Discounting Match Analysis?

What image do you make in your mind when you think of cricket coaching?

You might be thinking of a coach working in the net with a player. Throwdowns, cones and poles, plenty of discussion and demonstration of technical pointers. This is a common sight. You would not be wrong.

But perhaps a more important picture is one that is often missing at club, school and academy level.


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: 336
Date: 2014-12-05