Pitchvision Academy


This edition seems to be all about strange cricket terms. We cover everything from modern power hitting and bowling "dry" through to old fashioned "naughty boy" nets. Read on to find out more.

There are also two brilliant new drills from Sam Lavery to help improve posture in your fielding and wicketkeeping.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Bowling Tactics: How to "Bowl Dry"

Frustration: An underrated way to get wickets, and enormously effective at any level. In recent years, this has been called “squeezing” or “bowling dry”.

How do you bowl dry this way?

 The key is simplicity. You bowl outside off stump and set a strong off side field. This prevents batsmen from scoring, increases frustration and forces an error.

But as with all simple plans, it’s difficult to put into action. Here’s how to avoid the problems and make the plan a success.

When to use dry bowling

In all forms of cricket, one of the best tactics is to bowl at the top of off stump and hope for some lateral movement off the pitch or in the air. It’s time tested. It works.

Bowling dry is a flexible alternative.

It might be that you are up against strong batting who are playing your “top of off” plan well. You want to change it up.

A few years back, England used it in Test cricket in Australia more actively. They knew the ball would do little after the initial shine went off. The plan was to change line as soon as the ball stopped swinging, regardless of what the score looked like.

This approach is similarly useful in the middle overs of limited over games. The batsman are more aggressive than Test cricket but are forced to only use half the outfield to score.

In fact, it can also be used to slow down the start of a limited over innings or at the death, to manage where the ball is going.

How to bowl dry

There are two aspects to the tactic: areas to hit, and field placings.

The line and length has to be good because straying is costly. Straight balls have little defence and can be hit into large gaps. So, for seamers, aim the ball:

  • pitching 5–7m from the stumps (good length for most)
  • passing the stumps outside the line off off stump (between OO1 and OO3)

Your margin of error is bigger on length, as you can over or under pitch and get away with the ball struck hard into a well defended off side. However, if you stray your line onto the stumps you open up the undefended on side. Despite this, it’s no more difficult to bowl dry than to hit the top of off; it requires precision either way.

The field is all about packing the off side.

Most balls will be hit into the off side, so you need to defend it strongly. Clearly the game situation will define exact placings, but the general rule is six or seven on the “posh side”.

Here’s a sample field for a seamer in the middle overs of a 50 over game:

In this case, three boundary runners back up a ring field in the covers. Three leg side fielders offer some protection for errors. Equally, if you are attacking you can have three slips and a gully with no one on the rope. The options are varied but the first principle is to defend the off side.

Some argue seven is better on the off side. I think this encourages bowling too wide and leave almost no margin for error. It changes the tactic from a squeeze to pure negativity. So, be cautious. If you have a bowler capable of it and you are searching for a way to change tactics it may work, but only as a last resort.

How will you know it’s worth pursuing?

The ultimate test of the tactic is wickets. If they are falling you are winning. That said, if the ball being struck well into the off side for little value, you can also see the batsman get frustrated. That’s a more subtle sign you should keep at it.

Eventually you see the batman trying to work the ball into the leg side. They may even succeed with some unusual shots. However, you are forcing this and eventually a mistake will come. Stay patient and stick with it as long as it’s feeling right.


  • Bowling dry is a viable tactic at club and school level.
  • It requires similar skill levels to other tactics.
  • It works by patience and perseverance, bowling to a packed off side field and drying up run scoring.

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Power Hitting for Cricket: The "King" Drill

At Millfield this winter most players have increased their bat speed by about 15mph in a month.

 Why is this important? Bat speed is one of the most significant factors on ball distance. So, we have invested significantly as a group of coaches in the development of power hitting knowledge.

I have bought some basic kit and a couple of apps that we use to monitor and record each batters swing. The numbers and images that the app provides us with are brilliant.

Effectively, we arm each player with a little bit of knowledge and let them hit and explore using the numbers and imagery to guide them. It’s basically a poor hitting version of PitchVision.

The results have been amazing.

Power hitting “King” drill

There are lots of power hitting drills that I will write about in the coming weeks but here is one that 13 year old Hugo King developed, completely on his own.

As with most drills the more simple and effective they are the better. The “King” is a brilliant starting point to technical development.

The drill starts with the player holding their bat (or in this case a metal baseball bat) in one hand and the tennis ball in their other.

The tennis ball is dropped in front of the batter and then hit on the 1st bounce.

Hit into a net, pick the ball up and repeat.


Technical hitting basics

Notice how Hugo takes a step back (known as a negative movement) which is similar to how many batters move ahead of unwinding their bodies into the ball. Shane Watson is is particularly good at this against spinners.

This loads Hugo’s back leg before he steps forward and secures his front foot into the ground. Hugo’s hands swing back, creating a fantastic range for the bat to move once the body has finished doing its business.

The front foot moves to jam into the ground and create the base. Hugo’s front leg straightens, the back leg bends (notice the similarity to fast bowling and throwing with the shape of the legs) and the speed in the body moves from the large leg muscles into the hips.

Hugo’s hips rotate, slow and stabilise and the momentum that the body has created moves up into the torso. Notice how the shape of the legs stays consistent in the last 4 slides of Hugo’s wonderful swing through the ball.

Once the back hip has finished its rotation, it’s time for Hugo’s delayed arms to start their own journey. The bat goes from top of backswing to point of contact in roughly 0.200 to 0.250 of a second.

This is irrespective of how far the hands have gone back in the backswing. Hugo has created a huge “lag” or delay as a result of his high backswing (a huge range of motion).

We know that Hugo is capable of getting from top of backswing to ball contact in exactly 0.206 of a second. He is capable to achieving this due to his wonderful transfer of momentum that comes from such great mechanics.

Quality technique (Leg shape/hip rotation/torso rotation in sequence) + Range of Motion (backswing/delayed downswing) = incredible bat speed.

In Hugo’s case (13 year old with a light baseball bat) we are talking 88mph on the featured shot.


You too can achieve such speeds with practice. The most independent and simple drill involves a baseball bat, a tennis ball and some hard work.

Thanks Hugo!

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Two Essential Wicketkeeping Drills for Powerful Posture

“Stay down!”

It’s the age old call of the coach; often used as a go-to phrase when something has gone wrong and they’re not entirely sure what.

Maintaining a body position that keeps the keepers head close to the height and line of the ball is important, so how can we help?

Cricket Show S7 Episode 8: Naughty Boy Nets

Mark Garaway Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe talk about "naughty boy nets". Are they worthwhile and how can you do them without causing a revolt in your team?

Plus there are discussion on the importance and controversies around external coaches coming in to consult in an established coaching setup, and some ideas on core training for a nine year old cricketer.


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: 401
Date: 2016-03-04