Pitchvision Academy


Amazing news this week; Graham Gooch - the Runmaker General himself - has joined the PitchVision Academy coaching panel!

As part of the run up to the lauch of his online coachign course, this newsletter will contain exclusive content from Goochie. That all starts this week with a piece of coaching batting technique.

Plus there is plenty more from others including Mark Garaway and Ross Dewar. It's cutting edge stuff to give you a razor edge this summer.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Graham Gooch on Coaching Batting Technique

This article is an exerpt from the Graham Gooch Runmaker eBook available on PitchVision Academy. For more details, click here.

I want to talk a little about working on technique with a batsman, one to one.

Every time you practice you need to discuss with your player about how your session wants to go: What things he wants to work on, what he's concerned about, what emphasis you want to give. There will be times where a certain technical element needs to be the focus for the whole session.

So with that in mind as you go out to practice, you throw balls. You might vary between throwing it over the wicket, around the wicket. You might try and put some spin in that for a while. I look to work in sets of overs, because I think that's realistic to any match. That's the concentration span of a game.

When you start working with a player and you're going through the period of assessing their technique, you quickly spot some things that don't seem quite right. But as we have said, there are different players that do things in different ways.

That means it's important not to make too many judgements early on.

I think it's folly to look at someone for the first time and make firm conclusions. You need to build a relationship with that player and you need to see them bat, you need to see how they move, see how they play. It's easy to watch someone once and formulate some ideas, but that's premature. Consider your position after maybe four, five or six times where you've seen them play or practice. It's then - possibly - you start introducing some ideas to that performer. You've got to build trust and the relationship.

So, formulate your ideas before you start putting them over to the player. You see a lot of coaches go in first time, they stop the session, go down the net and talk to players a lot. I don't think that's right. I think you have to be a bit more measured, a bit more considered with when you start introducing your ideas.

Batting set up technique


The first thing I look at is the set up, or the ready position. It's not the same for every player. There's no right or wrong way, you just have to be comfortable in your set-up but there's a few basics that we need to make sure we're adhering to:

  • Get your head over off stump
  • Get in a position to react off the balls of your feet so you can move backwards or forwards.
  • The back swing is level with the back thigh, ready to move.

This is where we go from ready to move to moving. It's important that as you raise the bat, the shoulder dips and the head goes towards the target. That's a very good ready position.

From this position you can move forward with your bodyweight going towards the ball or you can push back off the front foot. It's important that whatever you do, it's repeatable. Like a bowler's run up, like his delivery stride, like a tennis player, or a golfer's swing, it has to be repeatable.

I believe the end goal for any player coming out of any practice session is to feel like he enjoyed that and it was beneficial. He needs to feel that he got something out of it and he wants to practice again, the next day, the next day or wherever, before his match comes. You want it to be enjoyable above all else, because if you're enjoying your practice, if you are getting satisfaction from practising, you're more likely to want to do that again. And creating a structure where it's not regulation, it's not the same every time. That stimulates players. 

Transferring technique to matches

An important thing about technical coaching sessions is to transfer those skills into the middle: Whatever habits you bring to a net you will take them to the middle.

If you have good habits in the net practice you'll take those good habits out with you. And conversely, if you have bad habits, you don't discipline yourself, you let yourself get away with things in the net practice and don't think anything of it because it's "only practice", you will also take those bad habits to the middle with you.

It won't be bad luck if you execute those bad habits and it causes you to get dismissed.

This article is an exerpt from the Graham Gooch Runmaker eBook available on PitchVision Academy. For more details, click here.

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Inspire Your Team by Using Golden Moment Speeches

How important is a speech to rally your players?

According to Jolyon Finck, it's crucial. Jol is the Director of Swimming at Millfield School and was the successful coach of the England Squad in the Commonwealth Games of 2014.

Recently Jol spoke about having to deliver those "Golden Moment" speeches to his athletes ahead of each heat, semi-final and final.

In total, Jolyon gave 57 speeches.

In these moments the coach aims to focus, relax, motivate or positively distract the athlete to help them get into their ideal performance state.


As Jolyon was speaking, my mind started to drift towards the Golden Moments that cricket coaches have with their charges throughout a given day:

  1. Motivating the team ahead of fielding and bowling.
  2. Last words of encouragement, motivation or focus to an opening bowler.
  3. 5 seconds or so with the batter as the previous wicket falls.
  4. Drinks break opportunities to refocus or to positively shift behaviour.

And the effects can be very powerful indeed.

I can think back to 2005 when I was coach of Somerset. On three or four occasions, Graeme Smith would deliver a 10-15 second rally call that always got his team going. On one occasion, we needed to beat Gloucestershire in our last T20 group game in order to progress to the ¼ finals. Graeme Smith rose to his feet and said,

"It is days and times like these that can define any man and any group of men. These opportunities are rare and we have one today. Let’s go and be brilliant."

On paper it reads like any quote. In the context of that moment and with that group of players, it meant everything. Smith and his opening partner strode to the wicket. Somerset scored 228 that day and won by 96 runs to go through to the quarters.

24 days later Smith held the T20 trophy above his head at the Oval.

That's certainly not the only example.

England were in trouble on tour of New Zealand in 2008. After being bowled out for 253 on a first innings road of a wicket in Napier, England were up against it. New Zealand had cantered to 93 for one at lunch on day two and the game and the Test Series was in their hands.

Peter Moores realised this was the moment to inspire. Mooresy made the biggest impact on a game of cricket that I have seen from any coach:

"As support staff, we aim to take the pressure off of you guys as much as we can. This works in the main as it allows you to relax and play your best cricket. Now is not the time for that. Now is a time for you to put yourselves under pressure, to raise your own individual because as unless you do this now, in this next session, then this series is gone."

I watched as some of the players looked shocked by the directness of the feedback, but that quickly passed and a newly found focus spread across the team.

An hour later, New Zealand were 137 for six and eventually 168 all out.

Ryan Sidebottom had followed his coach's lead and picked up seven for 47 in a MoM performance. England ended up winning the Test Match by 121 runs and the Test Series 2-1.

These are examples of how two leaders nailed some 10 second team based Golden moments. Can you be as good as Smith and Moores? Of course. It just takes practice and desire to make a real difference in a short space of time.

Limit yourself to 10 seconds and see what positive impact you can make on team performance.

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 6: Cheeky Run Competition

Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery join David Hinchliffe as the panel talk cricket coaching and playing. Adn there is great mystery in the show as Garas refuses to reveal his top secret tactic for running between the wickets.

If you can guess what it is, tweet or email (see below) and win a prize!

Mark Garaway wonders how important an inspiring speech is for a cricket team. Garas talks about it on the show and writes about it here. And the team is delighted to get some feedback from Emily, a young bowler who struggles to recover when she bowls poorly. It's a unisex problem, but it's rare to get a question or comment from female players or coaches. Please send more!


There is also a discussion around a new technique to help spinners get more revs on the ball. Not everyone is in agreement, so we talk through how to evaluate and tweak things to get the result you want: more wickets with spin. Here is that twitter discussion:

Plus, all the usual banter. Don't miss it, listen now!

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

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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 297.

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Who's Job Is Cricket Fitness?

Unless you are a professional or academy cricketer, there is noone responsible for improving your strength and conditioning. And that's hurting your game.

But fear not, there is a man on a mission to help solve this problem for you and for millions of players who don't get access to good training. That man is Ross Dewar.

Develop Your Very Own "Runmakers" with England's Greatest Run-Machine: Graham Gooch

PitchVision Academy are delighted to announce today England record-breaker and batting coach Graham Gooch is sharing his knowledge by joining the online coaching panel.

Click here for full details.


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: 346
Date: 2015-02-13