Pitchvision Academy


From Twenty20 to video analysis. From strike rotation to feedback drills. This newsletter is packed with cutting-edge cricket ideas, presented simply for you to enjoy.

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Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

You Can Bat With Hard Hands (If You Do It Right)

You go hard at the perfect away swinging delivery and edge it to second slip.

You get forward to the spinner and push his length ball into the off side, calling quickly you take off for a single, making it easily.

Both of these moments are examples of playing with “hard hands”: Playing a defensive shot but pushing into the ball.


One will see you criticised for terrible wafting outside off, the other will see you praised for strike rotation awesomeness.

So how bad is playing with hard hands, really?

Are the coaches right when they say you should play defensively with soft hands?

The answer to these questions is - as always - based on the situation.

When to play with soft hands

Soft hands is often seen as the only way to play defensively. It’s easy to defend the ball because you are simply putting the bat in the way. Your only aim is to stop the ball in it’s tracks, not get a run.

If you edge it, or play too early, you are less likely to get caught because the ball will not carry.

It’s a superb way to play when you are in more classic cricket situations. Things like opening the batting against a swing bowler with many slips, or spinners on bouncy wickets with a lot of men round the bat.

If you decide you are not going to score from the ball and you wish to defend, use soft hands, let the ball hit the bat and wait for the bad one to put away. It’s the safer option.

When to play with hard hands

The trouble with soft hands is it’s much harder to rotate the strike. This is where playing with hard hands becomes an option.

Technically, hard hands means pushing at the ball a bit more than a dead bat defence, but not playing a full power shot. You are trying to hit a single rather than a boundary. It’s usually played to a good length ball.

If you are in a situation where you need to manufacture runs more quickly, such as in a one day chase, you can take a bigger risk and start trying to push good balls into gaps.

It’s lower risk to try hard hands when the field is spread, the ball is moving less or the pitches are faster.

That said, it’s useful any time, you just have to be aware of the increased risk of a mis-hit carrying to a fielder. Like al batting, you are assessing the risk vs. the reward.

One way of reducing the risk is to play with hard hands with balls tight into your body. Pushing into the leg side is less risky. Pushing at balls outside off stump with the bat away from your body is harder to get right.

Practice both ways

As you can see, there are times when you will play softly, and times you where you play more firmly. So, practice both ways.

In nets, decide on the scenario you are batting in then play that way for the whole session. Even if you decide you never need one way or the other, it’s good to know you can do both, just in case.

Then, when you walk out to bat you can quickly decide your best option and play that way, knowing you have practised hard and are able to get it right.

Let’s stop making “hard hands” a bad thing. Sometimes it is, but often it’s the right way to play and gives you freedom to score. Play to the situation and not to the copybook technique.

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Take More Wickets with This Proven Bowling Drill

Science has proven a way to take your cricket to the next level using a "feedback loop" at training. Bowling with this loop will allow you to quickly improve your cricket, take more wickets, bowl faster and improve your accuracy. All while at nets.

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

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 12: G'Day PitchVision

David Hinchliffe is joined by Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery. The chat this episode starts with a discussion around the idea of a "par" score and Garas gives the perfect answer to the common question of "what is a good score on this wicket?"

In the listener's questions, there is a g'day from Tommy, asking about off season training in Australia. Plus a worried Ntando has trials coming up and he wants to get his bowling right.

Listen in for the details.


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:

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How to Listen to the Show

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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.


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Why You Are Using Video Analysis Wrong

If you have ever watched yourself play cricket on video you know how powerful it is. Usually you feel intense horror at your errors or smug satisfaction at your skills.

These are natural, but are also dangerous. You can end up stressing out about your flaws.

Coaching Lessons from the World Twenty20

The 2016 World Twenty20 had brilliant skills on show.


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: 406
Date: 2016-04-08