Pitchvision Academy


If you are out LBW a lot, this is the newsletter for you, with a simple way to get back on track to less hits on the pad and more hits to the boundary.

Plus, we have a couple of video drills for bowling and fielding skills that you can take to your next session. And Mark Garaway helps out the keepers who feel like they bye count is a little high for their liking.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Why You're Getting Out LBW

LBW always seems a bit unfair. You are sure it was sliding down the leg side, but when you look up the umpire's finger is slowly raising.


Your team mates console you by telling you it was a shocker and you can't get the umpires these days. Deep in your heart you wonder why it keeps happening to you more than anyone else. You know its not likely that a whole series of umpires have bad eyesight or are looking to get off the pitch early because it's getting late.

Maybe it's you.


Maybe you are the classic "big candidate". (As my team calls the players who look like they are going to get out LBW.)

Yeah, so why am I getting out LBW?

First, we need to establish if there is a problem at all.

If you have got out three times in a row to LBW then the red warning light is flashing, but we are not at full troubleshooting mode yet. It may be no fault of your own. You might get a bad decision, followed by a brilliant fast inswinging yorker and then a lazy shot: Three different reasons and only one in your control.

So, let's make sure there is a pattern first.

Ask yourself: Are you getting out in the same way repeatedly? For example, early on when the ball is swinging but the pace is gentle are you still getting trapped? That's a trend that needs further examination.

I'm sure it's more than bad luck, what's happening?

The first thing I look for in the LBW candidate is "falling over".

What does that mean?

Simply, you are strong on the off side, especially on the cover drive, so you always have half an eye on playing that shot. It's sensible, it's a strong area.

However, if you misjudge the ball and it's not a wide half volley you are in a bad position:

  • Your front foot is pointing to extra cover.
  • Your backlift goes behind your body (you can sometimes even see this in the stance).
  • Your head is leaning to the off side, sending your weight, and feet, towards extra cover.

One or more of these leads to you stepping in front of your stumps - sometimes called "planting" - and having to move your bat around your front leg. When you are too slow, the ball hits you dead in front.

The bottom line is that your balance is wrong.

OK. How do I get my balance right again?

Don't panic.

Some people can get away with balance that is a little off. Graeme Smith scored buckets of runs and always looked like he was about to be out LBW, even on two hundred!

However, assuming you are not doing as well as Smith, you can do a simple drill to correct your balance.

Face left arm bowling (for a right handed bat).

Open your stance a little to make sure both eyes are looking at the bowler then get on with it. You'll adapt as time goes on as you will be forced to play straighter and not through the covers.

There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Bowling machine set up for left arm bowling, ball swinging in.
  • Right arm around bowling, throwdowns or sidearm.
  • Left arm over bowling, throwdowns or sidearm.

This drill will allow you to work out your way of playing and adjust because it exaggerates your flaw so much you have to change to survive.

Give it a go over a few sessions and watch the difference it makes.

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Video: How to Practice Bowling Under Pressure

There is a world of difference between bowling in practice, and bowling under match pressure. If you are going ot be a good bowler, you need to be able to handle the latter. So, here's a simple drill you can do to add pressure to your net sessions.

Here's the video so you can see it in action:

If you can't view it above, click here.


The drill alone is a great tool, but don't forget to really get the most of it, you also need to review how you deal with it.

Here's the setup.

In any normal session, have a net or area where bowlers can bowl without a batsman. Set up a target area in the usual method of target bowling.

I like to use PitchVision because it means you can track your accuracy and pace results without errors of hand notation. It also means you can define an area to hit without marking it on the pitch, which makes it more realistic for the bowlers.

Now, here is the pressure twist.

A coach or team mate stands level with the batsman's position with a bat. As the bowler bowls, the coach hits another ball back for a return catch.

The rules are simple; if the bowler hit's the stumps, there is no catch, otherwise a catch is coming.

As a bowler, you have to think about both the ball, and what is going to happen next. That adds it's own pressure that goes beyond trying to hit your line. This works well if you are the kind of player who likes to bowl to a batsman to feel realistic.

Here are the outcomes on PitchVision from the short drill we did to demonstrate the drill:

As you can see, adding that bit of pressure does change accuracy. We only hit the spot 28% of the time. So, you know you have something to work on if you see your "Targets Hit" score drop below your usual percentage.

Responding to pressure

If you want to get the most from this drill, you can also take the time to think about how you respond to the added pressure. People have different responses, and ways of dealing with the feeling. So, between each ball and after the drill is finished, take a moment to decide how you responded and how you can better deal with it.

Then, when you are in the middle under the pump, you can drop back to your best response to stress and give yourself a better chance of putting the ball where you want it.

Drill changes

To finish, here are a couple of adaptation to the drill:

  • Do some press ups and squats just before you bowl to simulate a higher heart rate under pressure
  • Have fielders in short so the coach can hit them up to the fielder instead, adding more skill and randomness to the session.
  • Have a coach stand in the batsman's position to hit a ball back. Just be careful as the feeder; judge what speed of bowling you can do it do safely, and wear appropriate protection.

Add this to your drill set and let me know how it goes.

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Fewer Byes: Wicketkeeping Problems Solved

If you have ever kept wicket then you will know that most of the balls that disappear past you for byes end up going under the line of your gloves, and most balls that you drop hit the end of your fingers rather than smacking securely into the palm of your hand.

"Stay Down! I’ve told you before, stay down!"

How many times have I heard this coaching input?

The answer is too many. The statement doesn't help at all. So what should we do as a keeper or advise as a coach?

The keeper needs some options that leads to her to stay down longer and ultimately, to help her to come up with the bounce of the ball.

We can take a technical approach, an intention based approach or a combination of the two to get the desired effect.


Ruin your keeping gloves

When I played, I went through a stage of dragging my hands along the floor when standing up to the stumps in particular. This helped me to stay down in a good posture for longer and delayed my gloves coming up from the floor and getting above the bounce of the ball.

I started to present a bigger catching area to the incoming ball. My fingers were pointing down and thumbs spread outwards. This made the ball look small in my expectant catching area.

I had to replace the leather on the back of my fingers quite a lot, but the technique worked for me.

However, many keepers - such as Matt Prior - have their hands slightly above the ground in their "Z position" in anticipation of the ball. This method would not work with these guys.

Raise that butt

The motion of raising the backside as the ball is released and on its initial part of the journey is something that many keepers do to help their hands to stay low ahead of ball bounce.

Ex-England Keeper, Paul Nixon did this brilliantly. Nico would have a great posture ahead of ball release. He would then pick up the early visual cues that told him that the ball was likely to be full and his backside would raise.

This method is rather like a seesaw. The backside raises and the other side (the gloves) lowers. The gloves can then rise with the bounce of the ball. It worked brilliantly for Nico, why not give it a go?

Coach the intention: Bounce, catch

Tim Gallwey is a brilliant coach, fantastic coach-educator and multi award winning author. His book Inner Game of Tennis is a must read for anyone interested in raising their coaching game to the next level.

"Bounce, Hit" was Tim's way of helping people move and strike the ball more naturally and more effectively when playing Tennis. Tim would ask his charges to let the ball bounces and say "bounce" aloud to themselves. And whenever they or their opponent hits the ball, say "hit" aloud as well.

I often ask keepers to say "Bounce" when the ball hits the ground and then initiate movement out of their posture at that point. The hands stay low and the gloves are perfectly positioned to take the incoming ball, irrespective of length. As a result, many keepers report that they have a simple mental swing thought of "Bounce" when keeping up to the stumps in games.

The body self-organises around these simple verbal and mental instructions and the take becomes more natural rather than forced through technical intervention.

Here is a video of a U14 keeper playing "bounce, catch" in a session yesterday at school:

So hopefully, you are now armed with some strategies for dealing with a common keeping problem.

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 19: Director vs. Coach

What's the difference between a Coach, a Director of Cricket and a Director of Coaching? In the show, David Hinchliffe, Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery discuss the topic from school to international level.

Plus, there are a couple of listener's questions answered - and a prize won - by the team. The first asks about the best way to lift up your bat, and the second is a query about bowling around the wicket. As always, it's Gara's that takes it to the next level with some more #garasgold

Listen to the show now to get all the banter and coaching advice.

Fielding Drill: Captain America Catching

Here's a simple, fun drill you can use to help improve your reaction catching in areas like the slips, short leg, gully or even in the ring behind square.

You can view the drill here:

It's named after the comic book superhero, Captain America because someone uses a Katchet as a "shield" to deflect the ball in random positions from one side to another.


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: 359
Date: 2015-05-14