Pitchvision Academy


With a change in seasons comes a change in conditions. Perhaps you are on different pitches or even lucky enough to play in a totally different country.

(Hello to all the overseas imports heading to the UK for example.)

Whatever the difference, you need to take time to prepare. So, below is a guide to getting ready for different conditions.

Plus, there are articles on pressure practice and targeting weaker bowlers to increase your run rate.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

The Total Guide to Preparing for Different Pitch Conditions

Do you worry that batting indoors will ruin your outdoor form? Have you got a game coming up on a different type of wicket from your home pitch?

This is the guide for you.

With a little careful preparation over a couple of sessions (and a warm up), you can get your feet, hands and bat ready for excellent timing from the off.

Here’s what you do.

Practice drills

In an ideal world, you will practice in the exact conditions you are going to face in your big game. This is not an ideal world.

Even if the wicket and weather are identical, you won’t face the same bowlers. You won’t have the same level of energy and you won’t feel the same amount of pressure. So what can you do?

Make it up as much as possible with some drills.

For example, preseason for my club is mostly constrained to indoor practice on fast, bouncy concrete. Yet, matches are played on soft, low wickets where the ball swings and seams laterally. It’s far from ideal and upsets timing.

We use the the following drills to balance things out:

Then, in normal nets we encourage bowlers to bowl fuller with outdoor lengths (tracked on PitchVision) and batsmen to try and get forward to everything.

This is helped by placing two mats in one indoor lane to slow the bounce.

However, it’s still easy for bowlers to bang it in short, so we use the instant feedback from PitchVision to show when this happens. This naturally pushing bowlers forward, knowing they will probably get driven but happy they are hitting the right length for outdoors.

And you know what that means?

More realistic practice for the batters!

If you do this kind of practice for a few weeks before the start of the season, you find you are better prepared for the change.

Game plans

So you have done some practice. Maybe it’s not perfect but it’s something. Match day has arrived.

What next?

Before the game, make sure you do a few simple throwdown drills to get yourself in the right positions. For slow, low, wet pitches you can use the no feet and one leg drills above. But whatever the pitch, pick the drills that work for you to get yourself moving.

Then decide your tactical approach.

I usually advise a confident and watchful approach for a few balls. It will take you a while to feel well set, even if your preparation has been perfect. So, take your time. Look to play the lowest risk options at first.

In our example of moving from indoors to outdoors, you will be surprised how many bad balls you get. Bowlers also have early season cobwebs. They tend to bowl too short after a long winter indoors and you can take advantage:

  • Back foot driving slow, low back of a length
  • Front foot driving half volley length
  • Pulling long hops.

With confidence and a touch of luck you can easily score at a decent lick by playing the way coaches have advised for decades.

The main difference is these days, coaches ask top order batters to thrive under these conditions rather than simply survive. You might ask if there is a difference. If you know how important mindset is to your game plan, then you know the difference is huge.

But let’s imagine your mindset is good. Nevertheless you find you are bogged down and not getting the ball away. It might be good bowling or that you are still not timing it well.

Stay calm.

You can go up a gear with simple tricks like this. You are still playing safe, just looking to take control a little more. So, you slightly increase the risk in order to get your engine revving.


  • It’s very difficult to prepare perfectly for different conditions.
  • Start with simple drills to get your technique in line with conditions.
  • Make sure you have a few practice sessions in conditions as close as possible.
  • Adjust your game plan to give you the best chance of success.
  • Go into the game with a confidence and positive mindset, born of good practice and a good game plan.

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Video: Challenge Your Batting Technique with This One Change to Nets

If you want to mix up your cricket nets and challenge your technique, try this simple tweak to indoor practice.

As you can see from the video, it makes things much tougher to bat, but if you come out having done well, it will boost your confidence for the middle.

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

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 13: Video Analysis

Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe chat about coaching and playing cricket. The show starts with a discussion in the best ways to use video, from holding up your phone to using a full PitchVision system. Whatever gear you have, you can use video if you do it right.

There are also questions sent in. This show has a question about hiding the seam of the ball as you run in to bowl, and a young player who is having trouble hitting the ball hard off the front foot.

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:

  • +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.


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The Art of the Target: How to Target Bowlers to Improve Your Scoring Rate

Can club and school cricketers use the fashionable tactic of targeting certain bowlers?

It’s possible.

How Andrew Strauss and The "Young Guns" Proved Practice Under Pressure Works

I have just returned from a fantastic cricket training week over in Saint Lucia at the newly named Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium. Andrew Strauss and I coached 22 children using the wonderful facilities whilst basking in the sunshine.


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: 407
Date: 2016-04-15