Pitchvision Academy


This week we turn our case study to a spinner who doubled his turn while adding pace and accuracy in 10 weeks. Find out how he did it in the feature article below.

Plus there are a couple of batting drills and Sam Lavery gives tips on specialising as a coach.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Case Study: More Turn, Pace and Accuracy for Spin Bowling

More turn is the ultimate improvement for spinners. The clue is in the name. So, here is a case study from a young spinner who doubled his turn in 10 weeks training.

Even better, he had never bowled spin seriously before last year.

Here's what happened, and how you can emulate his achievement.


Developing a new skill

"D" is primarily a club 1st XI batsman who occasionally bowled seam and spin. His batting far outweighed his bowling and was never used as a bowler in 1st XI cricket. However, at 18 he decided to add serious spin bowling to his skill set.

When the 2015 season ended, he decided to dedicate himself to improving his spin in 10 weeks before he left for a winter overseas.

The fist job was to assess his bowling.

His action was sound, and his height means he generates plenty of bounce when it's on offer. While a a few technical points were spotted, we wanted to see how well he bowled with his current technique:

(click image to enlarge)

As you can see from the PitchVision data, results were varied.

Deviation was 2.8°, which is acceptable for a club spinner as this is enough to turn the ball to take an edge. Pace was similarly acceptable at 37.24mph (60kph): Not first-class level but in the expected middle 30s for a club spinner.

The main concern was 9.1% accuracy on a relatively large target area.

However, he decided to use his time to focus on increasing turn and pace. Both have big benefits at club level where batsmen are not used to spinners who can rip it and bounce it at more than 45mph. The accuracy will come over time naturally and he can use preseason to focus more on that.

It was a place he had never explored before and as a perennial "experimenter" personality, he was excited by the challenge of finding out how he could do.

The power of just bowling

His main drill was "just bowling".

As he loves to experiment with methods, "D" needed to bowl a lot to try out things. As a result he bowled 832 balls in 10 weeks on PitchVision. Add to this all the sessions he did alone, just going to nets and bowling at a cone and you could estimate 3000 balls bowled over the winter.

During this time he tried the following technical changes, all self analysed and tried with little coach input:

He also experimented with tent peg drills and strengthening his shoulders and core.

It's important to note, he wasn't trying all these at once. He was trying things out. Some things worked well and he integrated them, other things were less successful and he made a decision on each one whether to persevere or put it to one side.

This was reflective of his character; always looking for an exciting new change that he can use. It worked well for him as you can see in the results below.

But before we look at the results of this "bowl a lot and try a lot" method, it's worth mentioning the risks: If you constantly flit between methods you won't improve in the long run. At some point you need to stop trying new things and focus in on mastering your game with your existing technique.

Results of 10 weeks training

That said, you can't argue with these results (taken from the last session of the training):

  • Turn more than doubled to 4.8
  • Pace improved by 4mph to 41.36
  • Accuracy went up to 34.8%

While this is from one session only, his overall average also improved in pace and accuracy (although average turn had not gone up).

My conclusion to these results is simple: if you are a natural "experimenter" then taking time to indulge yourself in lots of new methods is great, as long as you use review to find out what works then stick with it over the long run.

Now he has a method, the challenge for "D" is to spend preseason on the "boring" job of honing things so he can rip the ball with high accuracy as well as pace and turn. We know, thanks to PitchVision, he has the ability, now he needs to show the determination.

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Video Drill: More Realistic Cricket Nets with Two Point Batting Game

Cricket nets can easily become "just a hit" without any focus or improvement. Using this game from PitchVision, you can make them fun, competitive and useful when you play in a match.

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

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 2: George Bailey's Stance

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe get round the table to talk cricket for another amazing half hour. If you ever wondered about shoulders while batting, this is the show for you!


There is more discussion about George Bailey as the team look at his unusual stance from a new perspective and discuss this article.

Then your questions are answered about the rules of becoming a spinner in India and how important the bottom hand is in "top hand" shots. The answer will surprise you and might just change the way you drive!

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: - email - twitter - Facebook - Google+

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.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

Should You Become a Specialist Cricket Coach?

Sam Lavery, Cricket Professional at Portsmouth Grammar School, has been wondering about specialising as a coach.

In a world where cricket is dominated by big money T20 tournaments and the draw of international cricket, many coaches see specialising at the best way to the top.

Use This "Lifeline" Batting Drill to Develop Skill Playing Fast Bowling

Adam Gilchrist called his cut shot his "lifeline" in Test Cricket. He claimed that without a good cut shot, it was very difficult to exert pressure on the worlds best fast bowlers.

I had these words echoing in my head when watching the 3rd South Africa vs England Test match.


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: 395
Date: 2016-01-22