Pitchvision Academy


The Big Bash League is over with a great win for Perth. So, Mark Garaway looks back at the tournament to find out if we can take any lessons. Spoiler alert: We can!

If that is taken from the headlines, the rest of the newsletter is all about classic, timeless topics. Want to bowl faster? Wondering why you are not a cricketer yet? Want to know what to learn next? It's all here, ready for you to settle down with your favourite beverage and get stuck in. There are 3,000 words, 30 minutes of audio and a bunch of images and tweets in this newsletter alone!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Two Big Lessons from the Big Bash League to Create a Whole New Ball Game at Your Club

The Big Bash League has been magnificent from start to finish: The quality of the cricket, the size of the crowds and the production on the TV has made it a spectacle.

Here are some things we can learn and take back into our clubs, academies and cricketing associations.


Mix the old and the new

The BBL franchises have done a great job of recruiting a combination of recently retired (or sacked!) International cricketers with the next crop of young talent. The learning opportunities are incredible.

Any senior player who sees their role as part development and part performance is a brilliant person to have around your changing room. I have seen this at club level when 'club legends' drop down a playing level to free up time for family life or to ease the workload on their ageing body. I have also experienced this phenomenon in professional cricket.

Internationals such as Raul Dravid (Rajasthan Royals), Ricky Ponting (Surrey), Justin Langer (Somerset), Adam Gilchrist (Kings XI Punjab) and Brett Lee (Sixers and KKR) still performed to the best of their ability yet their positive impact on impressionable young cricketers and cultures within a team or club cannot be measured.

I loved watching the way that KP worked with his team-mates at the Stars in BBL4. His verbal and body language was positive throughout, he talked up team mates, he helped batting partners through tough times out in the middle. You can hear how much he enjoyed that experience in his interviews and tweets.


Young talent needs opportunity, backing and support. Experienced players who have chosen to play at a lower level than their peak - not always true with the ones who have been dropped - often put their own ego and preparation to one side. They open up facets of themselves that may have been hidden throughout the peak times in their career.

It can be a cathartic experience for the more senior player and a hugely positive learning opportunity for the talented youngster.

Do we get the most out of our experienced players after they go over their peak?

Can we use BBL4's example to look at utilising our club legends in a more proactive fashion to inspire and educate our next generations?

Tye up an end

One of the most impressive cricketers that I watched during BBL4 was Perth Scorchers Andrew Tye. His 14 wickets were one side of his story, the other is that he has consistently closed out games for his team.

Andrew is big and strong and has a imposing presence. The beard helps. Yet the thing that stands him apart is his ability to nail down a limited number of deliveries with fantastic levels of skill.

Tye them down deliveries:

  1. Heavy back of a length ball over middle stump
  2. Straight Yorker (bowled to an appropriate field)
  3. Wide Yorker (bowled to an appropriate field)
  4. Knuckle ball slower ball
  5. Back of the hand slower ball
  6. Bouncer (mix it up ball)

He mixed these up brilliantly and always bowled them to his field. He very much worked to Geoff Lawson's adage of

"be sure what ball your bowling, make sure your field is set appropriately, then commit!"

The flashing bails, the trio of funny commentators, the marketing, the set block of fixtures and the limitation of teams all helped to raise the bar in T20 cricket. Yet from a cricket perspective, these two things stood out for me.

Can we learn from them?

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The One Secret Exercise You Need to Improve Bowling Speed

Exercises to Bowl FasterYour hips are the powerhouse of the bowling action: You have leapt to the crease, landed with a braced front leg and there is a surge of energy heading up your body like a pole vaulter's pole sends them over the bar.


But wait.

Before the energy can get into the ball to sear it down, it needs to get through your body. This is where your hips snap through with perfect timing. Coaches like Ian Pont call it hip drive. Every single super-fast bowler has it because it works.

Your hips are the first place to look if you are not bowling fast, and if you want to bowl faster. So, how do you learn to drive your hips effectively? It's a complex movement that involves the thighs, glutes, core and lats. It takes coordination and power.

The good news is that hip drive is a learned skill. You don't need to do naturally to be able to do it. If your hips are holding you back you can do some simple work to develop the ability to snap your hips.

Ultimate exercise for fast bowlers

To me that sounds very much like an old Russian exercise recently popularised in the west; the kettlebell swing.

Using this unusually shaped weight ("cannonball with a handle") you can perform a swing exercise that teaches you - guess what - a hip snap that looks remarkable like a fast bowler's hip drive. It teaches you the coordination you need to use all that ground force energy to put into the ball.

It also improves your overall power in just two 12 minute sessions a week. And the conditioning effect is perfect for when you want to build your endurance for longer spells, or you want to come back for a second spell just as fast as the first.

If you have no gym access and limited funds to buy kit, an investment in a kettlebell is the perfect answer.

What's not to love about that?

Get your hands on a kettlebell

There are different weights to choose from, and the best way to know is to try. Here is a simple guideline if you are unsure:

  • Advanced men: 24kg
  • Men: 16kg
  • Advanced women: 12kg
  • Women: 8kg

Younger athletes halve the recommended weights for adults (depending on age, size and strength).

You can get started right away and hone your technique as you go. Start with two times a week training two sets of 10 swings.

You can build this up gradually over time, adding more sets and reps as you get stronger and better at the movement. If you want to get more snap in your bowling, you can also do a couple of sets of 10-20 swings before you bowl. It's best to do this as close as possible to bowling time, on match day morning at least.

If you are using it for conditioning you will have more reps with a shorter rest time between sets. You are trying to get gassed (and leaving time to recover before a game). If you are using it for power, you have less sets and reps, a longer recovery time and your focus is on developing the hip snap power you can take to a game.

Be it power, conditioning or both, you can expect noticeable results within four weeks. Most people notice within two weeks. Your bowling will have more snap, you will become leaner and more focused as your fitness improves. Batsmen will be more hurried and you'll get the fast bowler's swagger of confidence.

There is no one way to use the swing to your advantage, as it depends on your needs and resources, but assuming you are a fast bowler playing cricket on Saturdays, your routine could look like this:

  • Monday: Conditioning circuit: Kettlebell swings, push ups, chin ups, lunges and pallof press.
  • Tuesday: Light mobility, no kettlebells
  • Wednesday: Training, warm up with two sets of 10 swings
  • Thursday: Power training: Five sets of 10 swings focusing on a powerful hip snap.
  • Friday: Conditioning circuit: Kettlebell swings, push ups, chin ups, lunges and pallof press.
  • Saturday: Morning power: three sets of 10 swings.
  • Sunday: Rest and recovery

Proper weightlifters spend years honing their technique in exercises like cleans and snatches. The kettlebell has a big advantage: you have much less to learn to get similar results. You can use this as a low cost, simple and effective tool in your fast bowling toolbox.

Get a couple hidden somewhere at your ground and in your gym and watch your hips become super-explosive in less than a month.

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 4: Talent vs. Hard Work

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe are back together to discuss the world of coaching and playing better cricket.

In the show, there is plenty to discuss including thoughts about how to program power hitting if you want to clear the ropes,and the team's position on the debate between genetic talent and hard work. If you want to know what's better, listen to the show.


Plus we help a tall spinner who bowls too full, and a fast bowler who loses the plot in games even after having a great net session.Listen to the show to find out what to do.

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 295.

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Why You're Not a Cricketer

Does this story ring true with you?

Graphic: What Age Can You Learn New Cricket Skills?

Here's a simple graphic that shows you the recommended age to teach or learn batting skills.

It's a question we are often asked to consider here at PitchVision Academy, so here is your answer. Now, bear in mind that young players develop at different speeds, so these are guidelines rather than fixed points. That said, you can easily see at a glance where you should be for your age, and if you have any areas you can bring up to speed.

If you are a coach, you can use it as a rough guide for your players.

Here's that graphic (click to enlarge):


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: 344
Date: 2015-01-30