Pitchvision Academy


Have you ever wanted to be calmer and more confident in your games? If so, this newsletter is for you, with some advice on using the "just in time" trick to boost your mental game.

Plus there are articles on "good areas", spicing up warm up time before games and lessons from Ashes plans.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Use the "Just in Time" Trick to be a Focused, Confident and Disciplined Cricketer

Have you ever wondered how you can turn a slump in form into feeling on top of the world in one ball?


You know the feeling. You are batting terribly and feel like you will never middle another one. They you get a soft half volley and you nail it right out of the screws. It screams to the boundary and you are transformed. As the commentators often say, sometimes it just takes one good shot to feel good again.

Yet, nothing has changed. You are exactly the same person you were one ball before, with exactly the same skills.

What has happened is all in your mind. Yes, it feels totally real because you have just done something awesome. You haven't changed. You have imagined ahead to future balls and realised you can continue to be awesome. This is a kind of visualisation we don't often think about, yet as you have seen, it's one of the most effective mental skills you have.

"Just in time" visualisation

When you normally think of visualising, you probably imagine the opening batsman in the middle of the pitch before play starts. He is thinking through his innings. This works well.

And then there is the other kind of visualising. The kind that you do during a game in the gaps between balls. The kind that can destroy your confidence, or send it soaring.

When you know that these moments between balls are little pockets of "just in time" thinking, you can free yourself of the tyranny of bad form. You realise instead that the previous ball is no more or less important than any other. No mater what happens you can use "just in time" visualisation to stay focused and level.

How do you do it?

It's not that different from the visualisation you have been doing already (click here for a primer if you are not sure). You simply take the moment between balls to think about doing something insanely well.

Have you just played and missed?

It's time to put that negative thought about your weakness outside off stump aside and instead think back for a moment to a game where you were hitting it through the covers at will. It even works if you have never creamed it through the covers at will!

Of course, the main difference is that you only have a few seconds. Time is of the essence. So when the balls goes dead, and with haste not speed, do the following:

  1. Consciously look to put the last ball out of your mind.
  2. Imagine the last ball again, this time with a successful outcome.
  3. Decide if this outcome is the right tactical approach.
  4. Tell yourself something generally positive like "Today, I am ready to be at the top of my game".
  5. Clear your mind ready to play the next ball.

This takes discipline as the monkey in your mind will be saying "forget the mumbo-jumbo, you just played a bad shot, you must be about to get out". Perhaps the monkey is right, but it's more likely to be wrong. It's basing it's evidence on the factually incorrect peak end rule. In reality you know you are able to recover from a poor shot as long as you are still at the crease. Tell your monkey that all will be well by showing it how good you really are.

And what about when you just play a good shot?

You can use the same method to make sure you don't get carried away and start trying to hit everything. Tell yourself that one good shot does not make you Chris Gayle. Remember the last ball fondly then put it aside, telling yourself that you are ready to play the ball on it's merits and the tactical situation.

One good example of this is hitting a spinner over the top for a boundary. If you do it well the fielder goes back and the spinner will probably fire one in because she fears a repeat. So, calmly take the run she gives you. Hit the ball out to the boundary runner to complete five runs in two balls.

Using this trick, you can stay focused on the bigger picture, even when in the heat of battle. This will keep you calmer, more focused and more confident in the middle.

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How to Spice Up Cricket Warm Ups

Chris Watling has some advice for keeping the pre-game warm ups fun and functional.

How many times have you turned up to play, found your position in the changing room, and then dreaded the thought of another dull warm up?

Perhaps you are not like that, but you can be sure someone in your team is thinking along those lines. And they might well have a point. It is important to keep practice and warm ups varied. Variety is the spice of life. Varied warm ups add spice to your weekend cricket!

Here are some of my thoughts.

I think it's important in a warm up to include the whole team in a competitive match, whether it be fielding hockey, rugby, football, or a combination of all three. It could be young vs. old, or hats vs. no hats. As long as it gets the whole side together, it brings a sense of competitive edge to the day ahead. As well as getting the blood pumping.

Just be careful of the sliding tackles in football. It happens!

After that, the usual protocol for a team warm up is to do a bit of fielding, and then the batters and bowlers split off to do their relative skill work.

Something which I have found works quite well, is for the batters and bowlers to split up prior to the fielding drills instead. You can have a batting buddy, who give throwdowns each week. You can begin to know each other’s game and give some useful tips.

If seamers and spinners bowl in separate groups, this helps form a unit. You can find out which end suits individual bowlers best. You can also set up some sort of competition in the warm up. Something like how many times can you land it in target area.

The final part of the warm up is the various fielding drills. I find having a few stations available for groups to rotate around is beneficial. One could be ground fielding, another could be high catching, and one could be catching close to the bat. This will all include handling and throwing skills.

Once you have rotated around the stations, you could then complete a fielding drill as an entire group. But rather than just throwing at a stump and into the keeper, why not add a bit of spice to the drill?

For example if you are shying at a stump, with someone backing up, why not place a Katchet behind the stump. This will encourage the player to throw at the base of the stump, and if you just miss and hit the Katchet, then it gives the person backing up an opportunity for a catch.

The whole idea is to try and vary practice and warm ups as best as you can in order to keep players interested and to challenge their imagination!

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 26: Stop, Start, Stutter

Sam Lavery, David Hinchliffe and Mark Garaway talk coaching and playing cricket. The half hour show starts with a chat about how to make the most of a short-term camp or academy.

The team then move into reader's questions to find out the best way to set plans as a leg spinner, and how ot change your run up to stop bowling short. It's packed with tips, tricks and plain-speaking advice as always. Only a fool would miss it!

Listen in for the details.

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 show notes.

Or, the show comes out every Friday and you can listen to it on your 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 318.

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Taking Out Cogs: How England Can Win the Ashes

If you can identify the most important cog and mess up the way it moves and operates, you will force the other team to adapt their plans and their performance.

One example of this is the Australians. The men from down-under always target the opposition captain on the other team. They single him out, and disrupt his influence on the team. As the 2015 Ashes approach, the obvious next question is this,

Should England be targeting Michael Clarke?

Of course!

The aim will be to get the ball into Clarke's armpit early on with a short leg and leg slip or leg gully. If he feels threatened upstairs his foot movement to fuller balls is compromised. He is vulnerable to an edge to slip or to a ball coming back through the gate.

It's a great example of a specific tactic. Clarke is a big cog in the Aussie machine. He's also not the most important cog. There is another name on the 2015 team sheet that needs closer attention.

Nathan Lyon.

What are Good Areas?

Sam Lavery has been thinking about a good line and length, and he's not happy with the term. Read on for his solution.

"Just hit good areas".

That's a phrase I hear almost every day as coach. Whether it's bowlers, batsmen or coaches, "good areas" is a term used widely used but often blindly.


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: 366
Date: 2015-07-03