Pitchvision Academy


One of the big developments in one day cricket is the growth of T20 aggression in longer form games. Generally this has not moved as well into the club and school game, so this week we have given you a guide to going for it from the first ball to the last.

Plus, Mark Garaway has keeping advice, we talk about ignoring weaknesses and developing strengths, and there is a video guide to using the drawing tools in the PitchVision app. If you have not got it yet, what's stopping you?

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Batting Tactics: How to Attack in Club and School Cricket

In one day cricket, the tactic used to be to play yourself in early, knock the ball around in the middle overs and smash it at the end. Nowadays, the really powerful teams are able to attack throughout the innings.


Is this go-for-broke method realistic in limited over club and school cricket too?

You don't see it very often, so any side that can make it work will drastically improve their chances of winning your cricket matches. Years of professional teams have proven the power of going for it, the odds are in your favour.

Let's look at how you approach an attacking innings.

Confidence is most important

The absolute number one reason why teams prefer to play safer is because the batsmen in the side are not confident in their ability to play attacking cricket consistently.

Which is fair enough. It's hard.

So an attacking approach starts with batsmen who know how to score quickly. Every batsman will have a slightly different way of doing this, so everyone needs to know their own games and be comfortable that they can fill a role of scoring at a faster rate.

The team culture must be clear that it's OK to push up against your ability to score quickly. If mistakes are made, no one will blame your approach. That said, the culture must also not allow total recklessness. Attacking cricket is not mindless slogging. If you do need to develop your tactics, your team mates will be there to help you.

This all takes some work, so don't make the mistake of deciding on the first game of the season that you can suddenly blaze away for fifty overs. Put in some practice and have some honest conversations with the key batsmen to make sure they are happy with the approach.

Assess the conditions

If you feel confident that most batsmen have a method for faster scoring (not always about hitting boundaries by the way) then you are ready to assess how hard to go on the day of the game.

Firstly, consider the conditions. Good batting pitches and a weak bowling attack means you can go a lot harder than if you are coming up against a green pitch with an opposition who have four accurate seam bowlers. There are still ways to get on with it even in the latter case and you should have both discussed and practised these. Everyone will feel confident you can still be aggressive without taking huge risks.

  • Stealing singles from leg byes, diving stops and mis-hit shots.
  • Placing the ball into gaps
  • Running every run hard and looking for fielding errors
  • Having a safe boundary option

If you are batting second, you have a better idea of what can be done. If you are batting first, you will have to take a more educated guess. Either way, when you start your innings you should have a target in mind for the first ten overs. You might also have an overall idea of how many runs you want at the end.

Assess the situation

As the game progresses, you will constantly assess your target. It's rare that everything goes fully to plan because no plan survives contact with the enemy. So, keep looking at,

  • Bowling quality
  • Run rate
  • Wickets fallen
  • How "in" the current partnership is

It's here there is often another big mistake.

In 50 over cricket, most club and school teams feel pretty good when the score is 50-1 from 10. What about when the score is 60-3 from 10? Or, worse, 38-4 from 10?

The standard advice is to hunker down, rebuild the innings, play safe and hope to get through the overs.

But we are not that team any more.

We are a team of confident run makers. What do we do?

A really confident batsman pulls out the "escape shot" and sends the first ball of the best bowler's next over for a boundary, then picks up a couple of singles. I'll take six in the over and 44-4 from 11. Do it again and you are 50-4 from 12 and there is a fielder on the boundary. The noose is a little looser just 12 balls later.

Even a slightly less skilled batsman can run it around, take cheeky singles and look to score orthodox boundaries. If the pair have confidence in their ability to recover.

I recall a game I played once where I was batting at 10. I came in with the score on 58-8 chasing 272. Me and the number six batsmen knew it was an impossible task, but we determined we were going to take them as deep as possible and keep up with the run rate. They had brought on part time bowlers and we started running it around. I hit a couple over extra cover. The opening bowler was brought back and I started running the ball down to third man. We were scoring at more than five an over with virtually no risk. We stayed around long enough that it rained and the match was abandoned. The moral? Never lose confidence!

The point is this: Keep assessing and keep going. It's a valid tactic to shoot for 250 and get bundled out for 180. More often you will sail past your goal.

Turn good into great

So far I have mostly talked about what to do if your plan starts to go wrong (stay strong). What about the good days where it goes better than intended?

If you are 92-0 from 15 overs you still need to keep assessing. What's your aim for the next ten? Are all the opposition bowlers cannon fodder today or is there a mystery spinner hiding at fourth change? Is rain coming to liven up the pitch? What if we play three silly shots in a row and it all falls apart?

A big mistake here is to settle for a target too early.

Instead, push against your limits. How many are you capable of? Considering the conditions and situation, you can start to bring out some of your riskier shots. That blazing drive away from your body that only works on a flat pitch is out of the locker and ready for action.

Just as you need to gear up quickly when it's going your way, you also need to make sure that any change is assessed fast. A bowler finds his rhythm and starts to out-think you. You need to reign in the wilder shots but still look to rotate safely. A big stand is thrown away by a silly shot and the next batter in is so stiff and bored and full of excitement to actually get to the middle they miss a straight one. Does that really mean the surviving partner should change anything?

It's a balance: Never leave runs on the table but also never let the red mist take full control. Unless you need six off the last ball to win.


  • Modern batsman are more confident to attack and understand how to do it.
  • Team culture must allow an attacking mindset without blame.
  • Assess the conditions and situation and look to score as fast as you can in this context.
  • Constantly reassess as the game changes.
  • Win!

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Video: PitchVision App Gives You Drawing and Editing Tools at Your Nets

Here's how to use the PitchVision app to draw lines and coach live at your next session. You can also edit video as soon as you have taken it to really highlight your point.


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

Ready to train like a cricketer? Improve your game with the help of your phone and the PitchVision app.

Analyse your game like never before.

Get it from the Google Play and Apple App Store for FREE today!

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Super Strengths: Why It's OK to Ignore Your Cricket Weaknesses to Become a Cricketer

When you go to nets you work on bringing up your weaknesses. But what if your time is better spent on your strengths?

This is what modern cricketers and coaches call "super strengths".


We already know how important it is to know your game. It makes logical sense to spend the most training time on trying to perfect your strengths rather than toil over a weak area that you will never make more than average.

The tricky part is to assess and explore your game and work out what is a strength, what is a weakness and what is an are that you might be able to improve.

Look at your weaknesses

Want an example?

I am currently working with an experienced club batsman. He has a superb eye. He is excellent driving and flicking the ball, especially on the front foot. He is comfortable playing the ball into gaps and has a rare confidence in his game. He knows how to accelerate his scoring.

Sounds like a strong player, right?

Except he cannot play a pull shot.

Whenever he gets a long hop he either misses it totally, gets a touch on it to guide it down to fine leg, or gives up totally and back foot drives when it doesn't bounce.

At a recent session we decided to explore this weakness.

I fed him around 200 short balls and he tried a few different techniques: Lara pulls, Ponting pulls, backloading and even a flat out front foot pull.

Nothing was sticking.

He couldn't find something that was both consistent and comfortable. So, after an hour we abandoned the experiment.

What had we learned?

In his words, "I know if I work at it I could make something that's OK but I don't need the shot. When I'm batting well I can score quickly and comfortably without it."

He decided to leave that weakness behind and ignore it.

Yes. Ignore it.

Working on strengths

Instead he is going to work on increasing his ability to score in the way he knows well. My job as coach is to "stress test" his ability under tougher circumstances: better bowling, more trying conditions and higher pressure. His job is to strive for perfection in his own game.

One without a pull shot.

And that's OK.

If we find areas where his method falls down, we can work together to find a solution Based on his existing strengths. If we can't find anything, he will walk out to bat in games knowing that for every possible situation he has a reply.

That's a super strength.

A word of warning though.

A super strength is not the same as going through the motions. The difference is mindfulness.

If you are aware you are working towards a technical or tactical goal, and reviewing how you did you are being mindful. If you set up the bowling machine to bowl you off stump half volleys you can smash for no reason (other than to feel good) you are going through the motions. If you turn up to nets to "hit some balls" you are going through the motions. It's a fine line, and it's an important line.


  • It's better to turn strengths into world-class than to turn weaknesses into average.
  • Assess if you can improve a weakness before discarding it.
  • Decide how you can turbo-boost a strength, then work at it mindfully.

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Is Tradition Holding Your Wicketkeepers Back?

When I first started to take wicketkeeping seriously, I started to study and copy all the greats of the game. The likes of Alan Knott, Bob Taylor, Jeff Dujon, Rod Marsh and more contemporary at the time, Jack Russell.

Cricket Show S7 Episode 6: DIY Coaching Kit

Sam Lavery, David Hinchliffe and Mark Garaway talk coaching and playing cricket. In this show, the boys get into a deep discussion about creative uses of coaching equipment to get more bang for your buck. Get strapped in for hacks for the Katchet, Sidearm, bowling machine and more...

After that, listeners send in questions. The first is about a method for catching high balls. The second is about a chinaman bowler who has a curved run up.

Listen in for the details.


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: 399
Date: 2016-02-19