Pitchvision Academy


This newsletter edition has a couple of tips for improving your bowling. There is also a plea to stop coaching cricket from Sam Lavery, and a fresh look at leg spin from Mark Garaway.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Advanced Target Practice for Bowlers: PV/ONE Drill

Target bowling for cricket is a good practice that has several problems. All can be overcome with the drill in this video.

Click below to view:

If you can't see the video, click here.

Using PitchVision, bowlers can bowl in nets at a target with a batsmen to put them off and no visual cues. This is far more realistic.

Get more details on the PitchVision system in both permanent and portable versions here.

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Coaching Different Kinds of Leg Spinners

Do you have to have the gift to be a good leg spinner? Or can little bits of spin both ways work?

Terry Jenner, Shane Warne’s bowling mentor, used to call the ability to bowl a big spinning leg break "The Gift". He was absolutely right. However, very few can do it well. That's why we can name all the really Gifted Test leg spinners in about 10 seconds:

Subhash Gupte, Richie Benaud, Bill O'Reilly, BS Chandrasekhar, Abdul Qadir, Stuart MacGill and Shane Warne.

I have deliberately missed out the great Indian spinner Anil Kumble and my mate "Mushy" Ahmed from this list because their "gift" was a different one to that Jenner explained to me in 1998. These two bowl with little bits of spin both ways, always with over spin that creates dip, drift and extra bounce even from the most benign of surfaces. To me they were different types of bowlers to the guys that I listed above.

As you will note, my beloved England, does not feature at all in the Gift List. And we invested significantly to try to identify, then develop one in the early 2000's. It was a fruitless pursuit.

Whilst we have all been looking for the next Shane Warne, I wonder how many Kumble's and Mushtaq's we have missed.

Have our minds and coaching eyes been side-tracked by the search for the elusive Gift?


On Sunday, I worked with a young lad called Uzair. Uzair bowls at a rapid pace (around 55 mph) with huge levels of over spin and has the ability to spin the ball a little bit in either direction.

He has unnerving accuracy and has taken his wickets at 20 apiece in the Home Counties Premier League. That's great for a 17 year old spinner. Many observers have told me that he doesn't spin it enough, but is that is because their barometers are taken from Warne and not Kumble.

I'm sure England wouldn't mind 500 test wickets from a leg spinner, whatever his angle of deviation.

Uzair is a hard worker and he is doing his hand to hand drills daily. He is working on engaging his hips more to facilitate momentum flying up the kinetic chain and into his wrist. He is also experimenting with different grip pressure to try and find his key to more spin. In time, his leggy will spin more.

Yet even then he is unlikely to bowl a Warne-like delivery too often.

So, can he still be great?

Simulating plans

One area that we worked on during our session on Sunday was simulating overs to a combination of left and right handed batters. What we noticed from the video that Uzair bowled the ball from the same position on the crease (from over the wicket) irrespective of bowling to and right or left hander.

We tracked the ball through the air frame by frame to see where the ball pitched from this release position to the left hander. Uzair noticed that in order to consistently hit the stumps, the ball often pitched outside the line of leg stump in order to hit the stumps on the angle. This would significantly reduce Uzair’s chance of getting a left hander out LBW. So we had to make a change.

Uzair adjusted his stock bowling angle to a left hander so that he released from nearer to the stumps. Then he could pitch both his googly and his legspinner in line with the stumps to then turn and hit the stumps.

Naturally, this bought LBW into the frame and meant that the left hander had to play each ball knowing that if he missed, Uzair would hit either the pad or the stumps. What a difference this made.

Uzair also worked out quickly that his previous angle could then be used specifically to bowl the ball across the line of the left hander to bring his keeper and 1st slip into play from the outside edge. It’s an angle that he can now use with a specific intention in mind.

If you have are blessed with a “Gift” bowler then work hard to develop them as the next Shane Warne.

But if you have someone like Uzair then please develop him as a Kumble and Mushtaq rather than beat his head against the “Warne Wall”.

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Stop Coaching Cricket!

Sam Lavery is Cricket Professional at Portsmouth Grammar School*

As a cricket coach you develop transferable skills. So why not take a leap out of your comfort zone? Try things away from the world of cricket coaching.

Where do I go?

There are many other sports out there to throw yourself into that would be great test for any cricket coach. Every year I'm lucky enough to work with a rugby team at the school that I'm based, and it's an education as well as a challenge. It allows me to observe each session as if looking at a completely new, blank canvas. It also lets me look at that canvas from a completely different angle and perspective.

What does that mean?

In a cricketing environment I'll regularly find myself in some form of leadership role. Whether that be as a director of a club, a head coach, a manager of a group of coaches, or a consultant to an individual or team. Either way I have a certain perspective, or view of the situation and the environment around me. Usually, allowing time to think, consider and respond, while others around me are dealing with the chaos that can so often be a training session.

A rugby environment allows me to experience a different perspective. Sometimes with little influence, following orders rather than making decisions. And more importantly, never being able to settle with the assurance that a hunch, or some prior experience may create a solution to a problem. Instead, every situation is new, every scenario a different one, and every day a school day, literally.

That's one example. Everyone's circumstances are different, and people's willingness to take an every increasing leap of faith will also be varied. Coaching another sport is one option, albeit an obvious one. but sometimes the obvious choices can be the best.

What about coaching outside of sport?

What about seeking an opportunity to develop teams, or leaderships skills in businesses or other institutions?

This distance you travel away from cricket really doesn't matter. Just think about the skills that you've developed, and take some time to consider the potential overlaps into different working environments. After all, when you're done, cricket will always be here to take you back.

Sam Lavery is Cricket Professional at Portsmouth Grammar School*

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Improve Your Bowling Accuracy With the Right Focus

Target bowling is one of the most used drills by bowlers to improve accuracy: Lay cones on a length, try to hit them, track you progress.

However, an often overlooked aspect of target practice is where you focus.

There are many options, but when the coach tells you to "look where you want the ball to pitch" he or she is not giving you the whole story.

Cricket Show S6 Episode 35: Cricket or Boxing?

Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe talk about playing and coaching cricket from beginners to world-class levels, with everything between.

In this special shorter show, there is a listener's question that gets a detailed discussion and analysis. This time there is a dilemma from a player who might have fallen out of love with the game, but doesn't know how to break it to his cricket-loving father.


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: 376
Date: 2015-09-11