Pitchvision Academy


This week there are drills on playing fast bowling and improving your fielding in the ring. There is also a guide to being a better team player, without losing your important individual contributions.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Drills to Improve Playing Fast Bowling

England's disarray against fast bowling at Lord's was not a surprise to those who have watched them closely over the years.

Despite Lords being a very good batting track, England seemed clueless against the fast bowling onslaught in the 4th innings.

Australia shifted their length of attack to push the batters back and then pitched the ball fuller to bring the stumps in or get the edge. The classic combination of short, short, full. The same combination that undid them in Australia 18 months ago.

So what can be done in this situation?

Here are some drills.


Boxing pad drills

These are part of The ECB Lead Batting Coach, Graham Thorpe's 'playing fast bowing' toolkit.

The coach or partner puts the boxing pads on their hands. The batter gets into their batting stance, ready for action.

The coach presents a low offside pad and the batter moves forward to strike the pad with their top hand batting glove (in a drive motion). Phase 2 makes the batter adjust and move to strike a high pad on the coaches opposite hand (in a pull motion). Phase 3 is to avoid the first pad that now comes in like a bouncer. The batter chooses to duck or sway.

The drill can start slow and then be increased in speed until it resembles a boxers speed in the gym.

4 rounds in each set. 3 sets per session.

Then the coach or partner can start to randomise the shot routine; pull, drive, duck.

Do this 3 times a week before you bat in nets or in a game and you will soon see the following things happen:

  • Speed of movement from your stance into ball contact will increase.
  • Ability to pick up cues (the pads in the drill, the ball in reality) and respond with appropriate movement patterns.
  • Transfer weight forward and back with greater efficiency.

Sussex CCC decision making drill

Sussex batter, Chris Nash taught me this one.

A coach or partner walks into a length between short and length and delivers the ball in an underarm fashion with the release hand getting as close to the ground as possible.

The aim is to deliver a fast delivery into one of 3 heights:

  • 3/4 stump height
  • Hip height
  • Chin height

For each appropriate decision in movement pattern (back or forward) the batter gets a point. For every poor decision the thrower gets a point. The first to 5 points wins the game.

This drill sharpens the ability of the batter to quickly adjust to different heights of delivery. Something that England failed to do on Day 4 of the Lords Test Match.

Loose-head bowling machine drill

This one is only to be facilitated by an experienced bowling machine coach. As we know, in the wrong hands, a bowling machine can be very dangerous so it's vital that only a senior coach does this.

A coach will use the handle on the back of the bowling machine to tilt the machine head slightly so that the ball shifts in length between all lengths from bouncer and half volley. The handle allows the coach to change length without giving the batter an early cue. I operate this drill anywhere from 60 mph for the younger or less experienced players to 82 mph against our top players.

The softer/lighter bowling machine balls are great for this as they sting rather than bruise and often swing around naturally to increase the challenge to the batter.

These 3 drills alongside nets and throws will sharpen up any batters technique and method ahead of facing a "Mitchell-like" onslaught!

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Cricket Fielding Drill: Round the Ring

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

Purpose: To practice realistic ring ground fielding, run outs and backing up.

Description: Set up with fielders at point, extra cover, midwicket and square leg. One extra fielder waits behind point. The coach is fed an underarm feed and hit the ball to point (position 1). The fielder pick up and throws down the non-striker stumps. She then moves across to extra cover.

The opposite fielder (at midwicket) backs up and quickly returns the ball to the coach at run out intensity.

The coach continues the drill by going around the fielding positions. Once the fielder has had a shy at the stumps, she moves round (the back up and return fielder does not move).


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Coach of the Year: Ikgomotseng Mothoa

Ikgomotseng Mothoa was the Cricket South Africa PitchVision RPC and HUBS Coach of the Year.


Name: Ikgomotseng Mothoa

Age: 29

Role: Head Coach, Hammanskraal Cricket Club

Ikgomotseng Mothoa was a Premier club cricketer who moved into grass-roots coaching through his passion for bringing cricket to youngsters in South African townships.


Recently he has focused on girls cricket, going into schools with the aim of changing mindsets of teachers and girls that cricket is a relevant sport. Through his hard work he has show girls that there is a career to be had in cricket. The results have seen a dramatic growth in girl player numbers and standards at Hammanskraal Cricket Club

Last season the girls team won their Under 19s league. Ikgomotseng said the secret to their success was bowling and the mental strength to defend lower scores. He described this ability as coming from within the players, and the coaches role is to help by showing the route to success through creating an environment of self-sufficiency).

But this success was not built overnight. It starts with introducing cricket to 10 year old girls, focusing on having fun and playing games that engage the enthusiasm of girls. Through this, stereotypes of cricket "for boys" are broken down and girls develop much more quickly than boys up to the age of 14 or 15.

It's this success at breaking down barriers and developing talented girls in cricket that won Ikgomotseng Mothoa is clearly the Cricket South Africa PitchVision RPC and HUBS Coach of the Year for 2015.

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Cricket Show S6 Episode 29: Working with Outliers

Not everyone fits the mould, so on the show the team discuss players who are outliers; those who need special attention in cricket coaching.

plus Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe also talk about "the fear", when it seems like everything is going wrong and you don't know what to do. For one listener, it was so bad he was praying the ball would never come to him!

And there is a dicussion on changing bowling action from front on to side on; when would you need to do it, why would you need to do it and, importantly, how to do it safely and effectively.

Listen in for birthday banter, #garasgold and much more!

Three Simple Ways to Make Your Cricket Team Better

Being in a good team requires you to be a good team member. It's easy to think the best way to do that is by strong individual performances, but you can easily do so much more and contribute to other's games at the same time.

Cricket is a team sport played by solo players. Teamwork is a more subtle area that is easy to overlook. So let's no over-complicate things and get right to the heart of what makes a good team player (who doesn't compromise her own game in the process).

Start by looking left and right.


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: 369
Date: 2015-07-24