Pitchvision Academy


One very popular topic in recent weeks has been the use of the hips for spin bowlers. As a result, PitchVision Academy popped into Millfield School to spy on a tutorial on that very topic. The video is out this week and is in the newsletter, so take a look.

Plus, Mark Garaway talks about catching culture, and Graham Gooch gives us some amazing advice on how to bat with concentration. He should know, he scored a Test triple century. Talk about focus!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Graham Gooch: How to Coach Batting Concentration

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

Anyone can score 30 if they can play a bit, but to make a big score your concentration has to be better and stronger. Whether it's a long match, one day match or even Twenty20, it doesn't matter. If concentration is sharp, alert and in tip top nick, then you make less mistakes.


Mistakes normally come in batting from the batsman. Sometimes you get an unplayable ball, but generally it's batsman error that causes a wicket. Often that is from a lack of concentration; lifting the ball in the air, playing a wide ball, playing outside the plan that you set yourself. So it's a skill, not a by-product. It's something you can work on.

The first thing about training for concentration, is that you've got to institute in your player the same system in practice as is done in the middle. The player has to create a mental system at the crease. I, or any coach, can't give the player a complete system. You can't tell someone what to do between balls because everyone's different. It's like your technical set up. Creating a "concentration system" is also individual.

But one thing is right, it is absolutely certain you have to have a system where you can refocus each ball.

Whatever words you say to yourself, you've got to be able to step back in, clear your mind and deal with that ball. Then you create the same thing for the next ball. So, you can highlight that for the player. You can't give him the exact things that's going to work for him, but you must make him aware that he has to have some system to stop silly mistakes.

Sport is about enjoyment, sport is about fun. If you play well, you have more fun and more enjoyment, and that's the cycle. Generally, if you have a cycle of hard work, it will give you confidence. The harder the work, the more confidence you will have. And the confidence will help you be successful. Not only in your practice and in enjoyment, but also it will cut out lapses of concentration. Understand that it's not a defined art, working on these things.

What are the things you can do to start this cycle of work and concentration?

You can find your mental triggers. You see lots of superstitions in cricket. Some people I've played with will walk around the stumps before they bat. Some people walk off to square leg. Some people adjust their gloves or cap. They do all sorts of things. The common factor is that they get you in the right frame of mind. If you watch golf, you see golfers have the same ritual before they putt the ball, and it's very similar for a cricketer. It's more than superstition when it gets you focused.

Another thing that helps is being fit. If you're fitter and stronger, you're a lot more likely to have more mental stamina. You feel fresh and alert, you feel more alive, and you feel good about yourself. These attributes fit well with concentration because if you're unfit and you're not in shape and you're listless, you're likely to fatigue quicker. And if you fatigue quicker, you're likely to lose your concentration quicker. If you lose your concentration, you make a mistake and as a run maker. it's one of those jobs where one mistake and it's the end of your day.

The way I like to describe batting with confidence and concentration is that you're in your own little world. You need that ability to shut everything out when you're batting. So when you're out there it's you, and the bowler, and the opposition, and that's the contest. Your player must shut out any outside influences off the field, in the dressing room, in the crowd or something that might be going on on the boundary.

It boils down to the ability to focus on the ball, but that takes a lot of work.

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

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Video: Spin Bowling Coaching Session

Here's the next cricket coaching video filmed recently at Millfield School. This time it's all about the spinners.


In this session, Level 4 coach Steve Wilson helps two young off spinners get more spin by tapping into the latest research into use of the hips in spin. He uses PitchVision to check how much the ball has turned as the players work on their techniques.

Here's the video:

If you can't see it, click here.

And remember, if you want more of these videos, get the free PitchVision Academy newsletter to be the first to get them in your inbox alongside weekly articles and a podcast dropping knowledge from a great height!

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 8: Waggle That Joystick

Mark Garaway reveals his misspent youth to Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe on the premier cricket coaching podcast. It's all about hitting AB on that old school console controller!

There's also plenty of cricket coaching chat. The show begins with a discussion on "Action Types" and how they can help cricketers. We cover the basics, and to find out more, go to the action types site here.

Then there are questions on batting in 1.5 day cricket (4 sessions) and how to clear the ropes when your shots fall 10 feet short.

As always, the team would be delighted for you to listen and send in your feedback.


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
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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 299.

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Save Your Season By Making Your Culture Worth Catching

Malcolm Marshall coached a team I played in as a pro. We had played badly for the 3rd game in a row. The great man asked us if "our attitude was worth catching?"

We were being challenged because our professionalism and character had been lacking. It was a great question which made most of us reflect and - ultimately - turn our season around.

As coaches, we should have a good attitude. We are leaders whose role is to inspire and shape teams and environments.

So, the question that I ask of coaches is not about attitude: I ask "is your culture worth catching?"

Three Myths You'll Hear When You Lose (And How To Handle Them With Facts)

"Of course, you know why you lost..."


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: 348
Date: 2015-02-27