Pitchvision Academy


There are plenty of drills for you to get your teeth into in this newsletter. From bowler to batters, there are things to keep you very busy at nets without ever resorting to purposeless practice. So, ditch the mindless nets and get some good progress this net session.

Plus, Sam Lavery gives us some ideas on how to adjust your thinking around wet weather. Can you get stuff done in the rain? Read the article to find out.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Target Batting: How to Use a Bowling Drill to Score More Runs

Here's a simple way to adapt a bowling drill so it can be used by batsmen.

The idea of "target bowling" is a classic for bowlers. So much so it has become a standard at every level. It's simple and easy: Run up and bowl at a cone on the pitch. Repeat until skilful. It works well because it's repeatable with instant feedback and results that can be tracked over time.

So it's about time the batsmen got on some target action too.

Lets call it target batting.

How do we set it up?

Just like the bowler, the batsman can set out a target and try to hit it. This is different from working on the technique of a shot. The goal is not to produce technical perfection, but to find ways to hit the ball into certain areas.

Set markers in the target area and have a feeder deliver the ball into the same place. You try and hit the ball into the area. If you hit it, you get a point. If you miss you don't.

There are two important elements:

  • The feed must be consistent.
  • The result must be instantly tracked.

If you try to do this with bowlers - either in nets or middle practice - then you get a mixture of speed and accuracy that will prevent you from getting the right kind of feedback. So, for this drill the feed has to be consistent. It can be throwdowns, a bowling machine or even simple underarm feeds.

Secondly, the outcome must be a pass or a fail. Unlike technical work, where you can do some things better than others, there is no middle ground. This is because the key to success is the ability to adjust based on the outcome. If you are improving your score will go up over time, if your method is not working your score will stay the same (or even go down).

Other than that, you have a lot of flexibility in the drill. You can do it in nets or in the middle. You can target any area, including over the top. You can do it with any kind of accurate feed. You can still work on technical things, as long as these things are designed to get you to hit the target area more often. The target area can be set by cones, mats or fielders. You can do it whatever your age, skill or level of technical perfection. Do the drill, note down your score and repeat over time.

The noting down is really important because we are very poor at remembering how well we did over time. Memory is not built for such things, so don't rely on it. Instead use a simple scoring system that you can review every week without trying to remember.

Drill progressions

For most of us, the basic drill is plenty. However, if you are looking to adjust the elements you want to improve, consider these changes:

  • Mix up the feed a little bit by throwing in the odd different line or length ball. It's important this is occasional but enough to prevent premeditation of shots.
  • More targets. If you want to improve your decision making, you can set larger areas or more areas to try and hit, but keep the ball feed the same. For more on this, click here.

It's important to stress these progressions change the point of the drill rather than make the drill more "advanced". The basic drill is advanced enough for even the best players.

Wouldn't it be great to see this drill at club nets?

The bowler's have target bowling, the batsmen have target batting and both get together at the end for some scenario practice. Much better than the usual "all bat all bowl" method.

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Move from Indoor Nets to Outdoor Skills with This Batting Drill

The transition from indoor - with the ball coming on to the bat, being able to hit on the up - to outdoor surfaces with slower decks, seam and variable bounce is a tricky one for any batter.

Here is an indoor drill (elements can also be used outdoors) to help batsmen build skill and a precise mental approach.

It really works.


You'll need the following equipment: an indoor mat (or 2, one on top of the other to slow the surface down), an (optional) whiteboard and a feed (bowling machine, throwdowns or bowling).

Each batter bats in sets of 10 balls.

The round ends when 10 balls are reached, the batter loses a point or the batter is dismissed. Each batter starts with two points. If a point is lost then that round is finished and a new round starts from ball one. If the batter loses all of their points then they have to take off their batting equipment, reflect for five minutes and then return to the game (starting with two points again).

Positive points

  • One point if the batter survives or thrives in their 10 ball set without losing a point.
  • One point if the batter hits two consecutive half volleys with excellent contacts and within the rules of the game. Those half volleys could be 4 balls apart if the in between balls are not drivable.

Negative points

  • Lose two points when a player is dismissed (caught, LBW, bowled or stumped).
  • Lose one point: when the ball fails to hit the ground before the ball passes the bowler or the bowling machine. You will note on the session board from below that I added a "player specific" rule. I added this in after three sets of 10 balls.

The session on the board was for a County Academy 2nd XI player facing an 84mph left arm over bowling machine capable of swinging the ball back into the stumps and running one across towards the slips; a decent challenge. The format was four day cricket and the simulated score at outset was 120-4. You will note on the session board from below that I added a "player specific" rule. I added this in after 3 sets of 10 balls: Lose one point: If the player leaves a drive ball.

The results:

  • The player was not dismissed in a very testing session.
  • The player finished on 10 points.
  • He reached one point once in the session. Then built a commanding total.
  • He lost 3 points in total over the course of the 45 minute session and gained 11 points.
  • The 3 lost points were all for balls hitting the side net no more than 2 inches from the floor.

The player had a technical emphasis to play the ball as late as possible throughout and to play as late and as straight as possible against the swinging ball.. The player had earnt the right to pick up points in sets 4 onwards because he played himself in, limiting his scoring areas initially and expanded his options as he adjust to bowler and the pace of the pitch. The player identified that he was rushing in between balls in the early sets. He then took his time, only faced the ball when he was ready to do so and ultimately, made better decisions as a consequence.

This session can be a pairs, group or as in this case, a 1:1 session. It's brilliant. Give it a go. Does it help your batters focus on outdoor skills even when indoors?

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 9: Changing Cricket Culture

"Culture" is a modern term but the idea has a long history. With team cultures high in the mind of the podcasters, Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery tell David Hinchliffe all about the importance of a good culture, and how to build and maintain winning ways with a good environment. This applies all the way from the pros to the kids.

There are also readers questions, as always. The topics on the line are bowling spin in the middle overs of limited over cricket and the role of pace compared to fast bowling guile through swing bowling. What's more important?

Listen in to find out.


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 300.

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6 Proven Bowling Practices That Are Better than Having Nets

Nets are used poorly by bowlers.

Can Stefan Bellof Improve Your Cricket In Wet Conditions?

Who is Stefan Bellof?

He's not a expert groundsman who specialises in dealing with Asian conditions.

He's not a new age coach who as formulated a statistical analysis of shot success rates in varied environments.

Stefan Bellof was the master of the wet weather track in F1. At least he was for one Monaco Grand Prix back in 1984!


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: 349
Date: 2015-03-06