Pitchvision Academy


Music is not only the food of love, it's the food of better cricket. Find out how from Mark Garaway in this week's main article.

Plus, there are guides on making the game into a game and setting funky fields. And if that wasn't enough we also throw in a brilliant new fielding drill for your collection.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Name That Tune: Can Music Fast Track Performance?

In last week's spin orientated article, I mentioned a comment that Glenn McGrath made about singing a song inside his head as he was running up to bowl. It was inspiring and reassuring to hear a great of the game talk about this as we use music a lot when working with players at Millfield School.

So, is there any science or research to suggest that training and match performance can be enhanced through using music?


Music has the capacity to narrow a performer's attention and as a consequence, divert attention away from sensations such as fatigue, pressure from scoreboard or playing and missing.

This is exactly what Glenn was talking about. The music in his head allows him to move into auto-pilot rather than being very consciously aware of his action or the match situation. He had done it a thousand times before yet wanted to distract his mind to allow his body to do what it does best.

Music also alters arousal levels and can be used as a form of stimulant prior to competition, or as a sedative to calm over-anxious athletes.

Many athletes have tracks on their iPhone that motivate them, mean something to them or connect them to an experience that they then draw motivation or focus from. Sir Ian Botham once spoke to me about how he played music internally ahead of matches and innings to help him to prepare for competition. He said the songs varied hugely but all meant something to him. Sometimes he used a song that calmed him down; other times he used songs that motivated him.

Music boosts skills

One of our International players at school uses music to help him to learn new skills either behind the stumps or with the bat. He finds that music prevents him from judging himself too harshly when trying out a new shot or take. He "goes with the flow" more and lets his experience and kinaesthetic awareness influence his learning rather than over thinking.

Tom has a set of bluetooth headphones linked to his iPhone that is placed outside the net. He often puts the bowling machine on automatic feed as he grooves and masters the new movement pattern. When Tom is power hitting, he has an upbeat playlist, yet when he keeps he has more a chilled out track list. He matched the music to the session intention.

But it's not just personal. Music create a better learning environment for everyone. This is something that we use every 3rd session in our specific net practices.

Players take it in turns to build a playlist for the 60 minute session. Each player is given the theme for the session and then comes up with a playlist to match the occasion. We have noticed that the players talk less and are less distracted in-between deliveries. The bowlers in particular have a real focus when they are walking back to their mark. They split that focus between the music (singing, moving in rhythm) and their plan for the next delivery.

Batters appear to use their pre-ball routines more productively as they actually do take time out in between each ball (savouring the music around them). We note as a group of coaches that the decision making capacity of batters is much improved as a consequence.

The players report back that they feel relaxed yet focused. Another piece of feedback is that they don’t create their own negative distractions which often impede performance. A couple of our "overthinkers" have now built musical strategies into their pre-delivery routines during match play.

The learning environment is definitely enhanced.

At the end of each session, the other players would rate the playlisT: always good for a bit of banter!

Can these musical ideas fast track your training performance?

Is Music the key to coping with in-match pressure?

Give them a go.

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Cricket Fielding Drill: Keep on Moving

This drill is part of the PitchVision Academy fielding drills series, for more in this series click here.


Purpose: Fast moving, high pressure inner ring catch, throw and backing up. There is a lot of movement so is also good for fitness and focus.

Description: The ball is thrown out to the fielder who catches or fields the ball, and throws at the stump. After the throw the feeder moves to the back of the catching queue and the fielder moves to the back of the backup queue.

Meanwhile the backup fielder stops the ball, and returns the throw to the keeper on the stump. She then runs to the feeder position to deliver the next feed.

Variations: Feeds can come from a bowling machine or from a katchet ramp. The ball can be hit on the half volley from a bat. To encourage competitiveness, speed and accuracy you can keep score: For example giving a point for a clean pickup, a point for an accurate throw and so on.





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Cricket Show S6 Episode 28: Build Your Super Strengths

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe tackle cricket coaching issues. The show this week discusses the differences between removing weaknesses and building up strengths. Sometimes you can do both.

Plus there are listeners questions to examine. One player is wondering if his open stance is causing his issues outside off stump. Meanwhile someone else reminds Garas of his days at Cricket Ireland and asks about slow pitches and faster scoring.

half an hour filled with tips, tricks and banter!


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 320.

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Tactics You Should Be Using: Funky Field Settings

In the first Ashes Test of 2015, England brought in another weird fielding position: the silly slip.

Joe Root, helmet-clad, took a position at third slip that was far too close for comfort. It was reasonable considering the slow pitch and the low chance of an edge carrying to orthodox third slip. Successful or not, it is another in the long line of "funky" fielding positions that span back to the 1970s (at least).

Yet, club and school cricket remains staunchly formulaic. Is there something we can learn from the pros here?

Improve Your Cricket Game with Gamification

Everyone blames video games for rotting your brain and turning you into a couch potato. But the fact is, the power of game design can be harnessed to improve cricket in the real world.

Yes, you really can turn a game into a game.


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: 368
Date: 2015-07-17